Monday, May 18, 2015

To the Midwest we go

It's been a while longer than I thought it would be since my last post. We didn't do any special stops on our drive from Tucson to Denver and during our five weeks in Denver we had mostly cold, rainy weather so the hiking count was a stunning zero. That was a bummer. We did have quality family time in Denver and that's the most important thing.

On May 9 we hit the road for Michigan so we could attend our niece's wedding. Our first planned stop for sight seeing, in Nebraska, was cold/wind/rain/fogged out, not off to a good start. By the time we got to central Iowa we finally got a break in the rain and saw some sites. During two days of driving we stopped three times in rest areas to let storms pass.

Our second night out we stopped near Adel, IA. We got up the next morning and went to Winterset to see some "Bridges of Madison County" and the birthplace of John Wayne. Actually, Winterset itself was a neat little town to drive around in. We then drove into Des Moines to tour the state capitol. It's a good one so we are glad we took the time to do it. 
Iowa State Capitol
John Wayne birthplace

One of the Bridges of Madison County
After going back and hooking up we had a short drive to Amana, IA. We stayed two nights to take a break from driving and to spend a day checking out the Amana Colonies. There were good points (no crowd) and bad points (a number of historic buildings closed) to stopping in the off season. We had a good day driving and walking around the immaculately maintained villages. They have typical tourist shops but the neat thing is many sold mostly goods made in the colonies versus a bunch of junk made in China. Our favorite stop was the General Store in High Amana. It still has the original wood floors, tin ceiling and display cabinets. Truly a gem!
High Amana General Store

Street in Amana
The next morning we hit the road again but stopped after about an hour to visit the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site. It took us about an hour and a half to walk around the historic buildings and the museum. It was a worthwhile stop. He had an amazing life of which we had known nothing, but are glad we know now.
Herbert Hoover birthplace - how's that for humble beginnings

We then drove for two more days to get to our destination and Michigan. We have already attended the wedding and had a great afternoon with friends from college. We'll spend another week visiting friends and family before moving on.

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