Sunday, May 27, 2007

Some Notes on my trip to Iowa

Sticker Shock. The week before I left, I paid $3.16 a gallon for regular unleaded gas. The weekend of the 19th it jumped to $3.38 a gallon. On the Indiana toll road on Monday the price was $3.46 a gallon, in Osceola it was $3.26. On the way back, the farther east I got the higher the price, from $3.48 to $3.65 a gallon. Back home now, the price ranges from $3.46 to $3.56 per gallon. I'm hoping that the price jump is temporary and due to the holiday weekend but I'm afraid these prices will be around for a while. It's going to be expensive traveling this summer.

Love-Hate. I've always had a love-hate relationship with the Interstate Highway system. It's great for getting relatively quickly from point A to point B - but it can be very stressful and extremely boring and you sure don't get a feel for the land you're driving through. The traffic on I-80 from South Bend through the southern end of Chicago to Joliet is horrendous. The trucks and cars competing for a small piece of the highway all going 75 miles an hour. Yuk! I timed my departure to avoid the morning rush but it was still very busy. From Joliet to the Quad Cities is a nice drive as is the drive through Iowa.

The hills of Iowa. Once you get close to the Mississippi River the terrain changes from flat land to rolling hills. Now, I've been to Iowa before but I just didn't realize how hilly it was. Especially when you get off the Interstate. I took a couple drives around the Osceola area, south towards the Missouri line and east towards Ottumwa. Indiana has hills too, but not like those in Iowa. It's pretty too, especially this time of year.

My Boss. Ron is a good guy. I'm not just saying that either, he really is nice. He is so laid back, nothing seems to get to him very much. He has recently had to deal with his house burning. It was a kitchen fire but smoke and water damage made the house unlivable for a few months. The family is back into the house now. A couple weeks ago he contracted to have the roof replaced over his garage. The guy he hired worked on it for a couple days but didn't get it finished before the heavy rains a few weeks ago, the ones that caused all the flooding in Missouri. Lots of water damage but that's pretty much taken care of now. The only thing is, I think Ron is a bit crazy (but aren't we all in our own way?). He goes on the RAGBRAI 'bicycle ride across Iowa' trips, not every year, just those years when it's not in what he called the "flat" lands. He loves riding the hills, especially when it's hot and humid. I can't imagine having the stamina and strength to ride those hills.

John Wayne. If I had been so inclined I could have stayed another day and joined the celebration of John Wayne's 100th birthday in Winterset, Iowa. Looks like it might have been fun. Yesterday, Randy Seaver posted about his 8th cousin, Marion Robert Morrison, aka John Wayne, and has some information on him.

Winterset, birthplace of John Wayne, is in Madison County which was the setting for Robert James Waller's novel "The Bridges of Madison County" and the movie that followed. Looks like a nice place to spend some time, and it's only about 15 miles or so off of Interstate 35.

I just might have to go back to Iowa this summer... my 3rd great grandparents, Lysander and Lydia Robison Joslin, lived in Jefferson County, Iowa between 1867 and 1870. They returned to Whitley County just in time for the 1870 census. One of their daughters, Anna Eliza, had married William Klingaman on October 12, 1865 and shortly thereafter moved to Black Hawk township in Jefferson County, which is in the south east corner of the state.

I did stop at several Tourist Information Centers in Iowa and picked up some brochures. I didn't have a chance to take advantage of the free wireless internet access that Iowa has available at their rest stops along Interstate 80 but it is nice to know it is available. There were several large truck stops that also had wireless access advertised.

I had a good trip, but there's no place like home!


Jasia said...

Wow, wireless internet access at highway rest stops... how cool is that?!

Becky Wiseman said...

I thought it was very cool even though I wasn't able to use it on this trip. Thanks for stopping by.

Miriam Robbins said...

Ugh...I hear you on the high gas prices! Spokane typically has the highest gas prices in the nation at any given time, mostly due to state, county and local business taxes on gasoline. I just checked, and for once ours are a bit lower, ranging from $3.12 per gallon at Costco to $3.39 at Chevron.

Last fall when our genealogy society did a coffee-and-cookie donation fundraiser at a nearby interstate rest stop, I noticed that there were signs up indicating wireless service was in place (Eastern Washington). At that time, my laptop was not set up for wireless, so I didn't get a chance to check it out.

Sounds like you're having a nice trip. Thanks for sharing your experiences!