Central Iowa: 8 Cultural Observations Made on a Road Trip

Contrary to slanderous Eastern opinion, much of Iowa is not flat, but rolling hills country with a lot of timber, a handsome and imaginative landscape, crowded with constant small changes of scene and full of little creeks winding with pools where shiners, crappies and catfish hover.
Paul Engle
I had the chance to take a five-day road trip through Central Iowa after completing a Summer writing course at the University of Iowa. I am addicted to road trips. There is no hassle of people checking my bags, taking off my shoes, removing my lap top, or waiting for a delayed flight. I can stop where I want, take pictures, and enjoy the scenery.
The following cultural observations are my personal observations not scientifically investigated facts.
Iowa is not completely flat

The backroads of Iowa have plenty of hills that take you up and down like a roller coaster. Most of the time you can’t see over the next hill.

Corn in Iowa

Ninety-eight percent of the corn grown in Iowa is not edible for humans. It is used to make ethanol, cooking oil, and feed for animals. It is not sweet corn.

Drivers in Iowa are cautious

There is not much traffic on the back roads of Iowa. Cars don’t try to speed by you, drivers don’t honk or flip you off. They drive slowly.

 

No sign of diversity

Most of the people that I saw in Iowa were not of color. I didn’t see any migrant workers in the fields or hotels. I saw some students from China and the Mideast at the University of Iowa.

No out of town license plates

Not many people visit Iowa. I think that the Iowa State Fair draws from nearby states. I could not play the license plate game because there were only Iowan license plates.

Limited places to use the restroom and restaurants to eat at

If you are traveling the backroads of Iowa look for Casey. They saved my life twice when I was lost. Casey is equal to QT or QuickStop. They have gas, snacks, and coffee. It was the only place to get coffee. Many of the restaurants and shops in the small towns are closed on Mondays. No one could give me a reason for this.

Casey General Store

State Center, Iowa

Picturesque farm houses

The farm houses were usually white and their barns red. This fascinated me because it reminded me of pictures in story books about farms. The corn stalks were more than “knee high” and ready to be harvested. The soybeans spread like a thick green carpet up and down the hills. It was so different the desert where I live.

Farm with soybeans

These markings appear on barns that are more than 50 years old. The farmer chooses the quilt pattern and it is then painted on the barn. There are actually tours that will take you around and show you the different markings. I saw many of them. I was only able to take a picture of this one.

For more information, click here

Knee high corn

Lincoln Highway

Route 66 has the notoriety of being the first highway to cross the US.

It was the Lincoln Highway which first ran coast-to-coast from Times Square in New York City west to Lincoln Park in San Francisco, originally through 13 states: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and California. It was dedicated on October 31, 1913.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lincoln_Highway

Lincoln Highway Bridge, Tama, Iowa

___________________________-

I would like to thank all of the people who helped me when I was lost. Thanks to my cousin Anna and her husband Steve for letting me hang out at their house.

Get to know the USA. Tavel by car and enjoy what you don’t have at home.

 

 

 

 

 

Save

Save

Author: Carol Kubota

I have been an ESL, English as a Second Language, instructor for 40 years. I currently teach at Arizona State University. My passion is to travel and learn about other cultures and history. I would like to share this passion with others.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *