10 Iowa Shoutouts From the Road

7 Apr

Going on six years in Iowa finds me very familiar with a certain stretch of interstate 80.  Having family in Minnesota who are insistent on frequent visits also makes me familiar with I35.  So to pass the time, I have found a few key places to always look forward to during those midday Iowa drives.  This afternoon saw me yet again returning through Southern Minnesota and Northern Iowa, and I thought I would give my personal “thumbs-up” to the great state I now live in (AGAIN)!

10) Northern Iowa: For all the wind farms.  I remember the first time I drove down with my mom to look at the University of Iowa.  It was after a particularly awkward hang-out session with my then oblivious to me crush, now partner of 8 years.  The sun set on a very flat Northern Iowa farm scape.  Since then, every time we drive up, there are more and more turbines.  It makes me proud to be an Iowan to drive by trucks hauling ever more turbine blades and parts.

9) Northwood, Iowa & Diamond Jo Casino: No, I don’t gamble every time I shuttle back and forth, but I do like to stop here to eat often– It’s like a little slice of Vegas but I don’t have to leave the corn. Also, I’m changing my name to Diamond Jo Carlson in honor of you.

8 ) Clear Lake, Iowa: Before Diamond Jo became my guilty little pleasure, this was always a pit-stop.  There isn’t much right off the interstate, but it usually appears right when I’m starving and in need of a pee break.

7) Ames, Iowa: Wind farms are awesome, but after an hour in Southern Minnesota and another hour in Northern Iowa, no sight is better than bison, elk and deer at Iowa’s best ag. school, unless it’s baby bison.  I know, officially as a graduate of UIowa, I’m supposed to hate you, but I’m totally over it.

6) Iowa “Burbs”: Here’s where I get to say The traffic is getting thicker. But can still drive like a total idiot because the trucks are too big to care about a little car like mine.

5) Exit 137A, I35 and I80 interchange: To the truck I’m ALWAYS stuck behind here, going 20 MPH.

4) Iowa City, Iowa:  Not really on my route, but since I spent so much time there, it deserves a HOLLA!  Also, it’s about now in my drive when I realize with relief that I’m 30 minutes from home and I usually have a chuckle at the sigh that says: Iowa City, 97.  Love you, but glad that’s not me anymore.

3) Mile Marker 151: To the happiest, best herd of cows between Des Moines and Grinnell.

2) “Chuck E”: You were the happiest driver on the road.  Thanks for the big smile you gave me while passing me using perfect highway etiquette, turn signals and all.   Keep living the dream, buddy.

1) Grinnell, Iowa: Always feels like home, especially in the embrace of the love of my life.


4 Responses to “10 Iowa Shoutouts From the Road”

  1. Maia April 7, 2011 at 8:16 pm #

    You forgot the Spam Museum!!!

    • fdcarlso April 7, 2011 at 8:34 pm #

      That’s in Minnesota, silly!

  2. aurora April 8, 2011 at 1:12 pm #

    I like the hand-lettered sign (but you only see it on the way BACK to Minnesota) “Remember, Hogs Don’t Vote!” I have no idea what it’s supposed to mean however….

    • Eric April 8, 2011 at 7:02 pm #

      I think it was “Politicians Take Note, Hogs Don’t Vote” but yeah, that one always baffled me too.

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