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Saturday, May 21, 2016

Iowa Road Trippin'

So back this Iowa trip. A couple years ago we came through on I-80 and stopped at the Amana Colonies, it was fun, then I learned about another Amish community that was just down the road and wished we would have gone there, too. Not to mention wanting to see the covered bridges. However, we were working with a little bit of a limited time frame on that trip so we skipped on in to Nebraska. This little trek was in part to take in the bridges and Kalona, IA.
We have had a good time trekking through Iowa the last few days. Iowa is really not a state I think of as a tourist mecca but let me tell you it's been great just traveling the back roads and toodling (that's a word in my world) around. It's so green right now. Everywhere you look is lush with every shade of green you can imagine interspersed with the yellows, too. Then there are the splashes of color from the many wild flowers. It's been incredibly pretty.

Imes Bridge and Clark Tower

We started off in Winterset, IA where the Bridges of Madison County book put this place on the map. Let me just tell you that getting to these bridges included gravel/dirt roads. While I loved seeing the bridges I DID NOT appreciate traveling dirt roads to do it. After our self guided dirt roads bridge tour we headed back to town for ice cream and the city park. We needed something to perk us up after the much needed car wash and before hiking to the Clark Tower. The city park was really nicely maintained and there was a relocated covered bridge in the park as well. Since we are always up for a little walk we hiked the 1.5 or so up to see Clark Tower which also afforded a view of Madison County. After that we checked out the city campground which was full so we headed on eastward. We explored a few overnight parking options before settling on Hickory Hills County Park. Nice overnight spot that was FREE. While it is off the beaten path, scenic and FREE, it was a Friday night and I think had a bit more traffic than might have been on a week night. Nonetheless, we got some rest and took out the next morning for Kalona via Pella.
 There were sooooo many treats to choose from...but that apple bread was the winner.

Watching the klokkenspiel

Pella was the jackpot on this trip. Lovely, lovely little town with a neat town square to wander complete with working windmill, klokkenspiel and an awesome Dutch bakery. Goodness that Dutch apple cinnamon bread loaf did not last long, it was so light, fluffy and good. I know why my pants are so tight...anyway, Pella is also home to Pella windows. Pretty neat, great friendly little town that has much to offer. I was sad we had just missed the tulip festival. On our way into Pella we stopped at the Cordova Observation Tower. It's the tallest tower in a public park. There are 170 steps to climb to make it to the top which affords you a spectacular view. You will need 50 cents to climb the tower, as in 2 quarters, no change machines available to my knowledge and no attendant on duty. We just raided our laundry quarters and started climbing!

Kalona was our next stop. How shall I put it? Little disappointed. Not really sure what I was expecting but I was expecting what we got. We did drive out (on a dirt road mind you) to the local Amish bakery and secured rolls for our late lunch. Oh, my, they were tasty, they were wheat yeast rolls and made great ham rolls! We also indulged with a cinnamon roll...each. Yeah, about those tight pants...ugh! Since I am also hunting neat little wooden toys for Trigger we trekked on over to the country store (MORE dirt roads). While they had some neat items, and about 22 styles of black women's shoes they did not have any quality handmade wooden toys so we left empty handed. However, it you even need a BIG bag of lime jello powder this is your store! They had the BIGGEST bag of lime jello mix I have even seen! LOL

We found another county park for the night which was overpriced but quiet. Seriously, we paid $20 for an electrical hookup with water at the site and no shower house only vault toilets. I was miffed but MiRV was tired and we had already tried another park with no joy so we sucked it up. The other park was cheaper with a very dirty shower house on the river but it just wasn't for us so we motored on to Pollmiller and found ourselves just shelling out the bucks to be done and tuck in for the night!

Tomorrow will take us back into MO. It's been a fun trip, Iowa is much more than I imagined! In fact I think we may need to return...there are some other areas that sound like they would be fun to explore!

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