Randye and Candace: Goin' West

Day 7

Candace and I decided to take an eastern route from Sioux City to cross Iowa. That route would take more time than using interstates to go south then east, but it would also give both of us a chance to see parts of the state we had not seen before. Plus, I'd found a couple of sites that seemed very interesting.

IA Map Day Seven

Hwy. 20 took us through lots of rural Iowa. We could see the impact of the flooding on farmlands that still had pools of standing water despite the recently dry weather. Most of the corn stalks we did see were only half the size they'd normally be by this time of year because of necessary late planting or replanting after the floods.

On the edge of the town of Ft. Dodge was the Fort Museum. The facilities began with the Trading Post (so you get tempted to buy stuff entering and leaving). From a transplanted log cabin to a livery stable, we took a self-guided tour of several 1850s-era buildings containing antiques from the period. Then we entered the fort itself, which had a variety of displays from the American Civil War through World War II. There were numerous displays of artifacts of pioneer and native life in Iowa.

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Candace and I made it back to Hwy. 20 after lunch and continued east. Finding the next destination was a bit challenging because the town of Gladbrook wasn't on my atlas. We had to call the museum to get directions to finally locate Matchstick Marvels. It was a collection of very detailed models constructed with, yes, matchsticks. The work in progress is a massive castle from the Lord of the Rings. The collection's hostess told us that the artist's models of Harry Potter's Hogwarts and Notre Dame of Paris had been sold to a European museum, and that Ripley's Believe it or Not had some of his work, too. The model of the U.S. Capitol building was not only highly detailed, but lit from the inside.

What really got my attention after that, though, was a model of the USS Nimitz. (Gerry, did the artist get it right? Don't forget to click on the image if you want a closer view.) Some of his earliest works included models of the Kitty Hawk, which opened the age of flight, and a clipper ship--perhaps the Cutty Sark. Candace stood by the model of the space shuttle so that the photo could capture a sense of the model's scale.

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Well, the it was now late afternoon, but I knew that we were only about an hour out from Grinnell. The route took us close to my parents' favorite Iowa destination (hint: cha-ching).

Pulling up to the house where I live, I looked down at my odometer. In the seven days of seeing Iowa, South Dakota and Wyoming, we had driven 1990 miles!!!

We were blessed with a safe journey and beautiful weather. And I certainly know a lot more about my adopted state than I did before.

Day 8

Simply put, Candace and I spent most of Tuesday passed out in our beds. But the trip was more than worth it, and I'm already thinking of where I'd like to go next year. Perhaps the Southwest. Hmmm....

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