red barn with flagpole in iowa

day two: iowa, the forgotten state

We started off this morning leaving Dubuque, Iowa, right off the Mississippi River, where three of the four shots above were taken. It was a great day for driving – clear skies, no stormy weather, and an overall beautiful outlook. We stopped at several rest areas throughout Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota and it was amazing (and reassuring) to feel how clean the air was, and how pure parts of the earth still are.
We stopped in Mitchell, South Dakota for dinner at a place called Chef Louie’s, where I’m pretty convinced the calimari we ordered was something closer to fried clams (or maybe some really chewy chicken strips…). After we ordered it we realized we are in a landlocked state that is nowhere near the ocean, so the probability of it actually being seafood was slim to none. But it was fried and somewhat salty, and dipped in marinara you couldn’t really tell the difference. We left dinner and plugged on ahead to get as far into South Dakota as we possibly could before we zonked for the night. We made it as far as a little dot on the map called Murdo where there was exactly one Best Western and two gas stations (ok, that might be an exaggeration, but still, we were in the middle of nowhere). I will say this was the cleanest Best Western I’ve ever seen, with rock hard but surprisingly comfortable beds and no cell reception or internet access (boo). Today was mostly driving still, through the plains and the ever-so-flat farmland. I’m looking forward to the next few days, when I’ll get to lay eyes for the first time on parts of this gorgeous and diverse country that I’ve never before had the privilege of experiencing.



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