Le Mars, Iowa

We left West Salem, Wisconsin this morning, and pretty much right away traveled across the Mississippi River into Minnesota. Today, we traveled in three states.

We traveled due west on Interstate 90. We saw lots more barns.

And a surprising amount if wind power being generated. It makes sense in these huge acreages of corn.

We traveled through lots of little towns that seem to be unfazed by the passage of time. This one happens to be Alton Lea. This is the home of Hormel, and they actually have a Spam Museum. We stopped here for groceries and diesel fuel, but somehow forgot to visit the Spam Museum. I know we will regret this for the rest of our lives.

While Mike was putting fuel in our truck, I read about the little towns we were going to come to as our truck moved across the map. Usually, I find out interesting little tidbits about when and by whom they were settled, and why. Usually, I learn that they were devastated by the Great Depression and somehow found a way to make a come back. But here...this town of Blue Earth...this was something special. Feast your eyes, paying particular attention to the part I have underlined.

Hole-ee, Mole-ee. You know we were stopping for that! To be in the actual Valley of the Jolly Green Giant? I've lived my entire life for this moment. He was everything I hoped he would be...giant! And so green! And he has an incredibly big...oh, never mind.

Here's the accompanying sign.

Of course, we couldn't leave here without the requisite selfie. Yes, it was quite windy. I'm thinking it was just the Jolly Green Giant breathing on us.

I'm telling you, it was the highlight of an otherwise corny day...yes, acres and acres, fields, and fields, miles, and miles of corn and barns. 

To avoid the following rant, please skip to the next paragraph now. Okay, Minnesota...I'm sorry to keep picking on you about your roads, but honestly. This is an Interstate freeway. Federal dollars go to the maintenance of this particular roadway. And I'm sorry, Minnesota, but this is atrocious. Look at the image below. Do you see the weeds growing out of the cracks on the shoulder there? Were it not for this being, ahem, an Interstate freeway, those weeds would be growing all across the roadway. The truck traffic is keeping the weeds at bay. For Pete's Sake! This is an INTERSTATE HIGHWAY!!! This is the best...the piece de resistance...of the roadways that America has to offer. Really? Weeds growing through the cracks? Bumpy, absolutely terribly rough rides? Really? Is this the best we can do?

Okay...getting down off my high horse now. But I'm saying, Minnesota and Wisconsin...really. Try a little harder, woudja? No disrpespect intended. Just fact.

Okay, so shortly thereafter, we crossed the border into Iowa, where the roads were infinitely better.

And you'll never guess what we saw. Oh, you're too smart for me. Yes, that's right, more farms and corn. Corn as far as the eye can see with the occasional corn-fed cow just to shake things up a little.

Iowa is where my mother's family hails from originally. Yes, part of the reason I wanted to go through Iowa and Nebraska is that this is where my mother's family is from. I have a bunch of cousins in Iowa, especially, that I have never met, nor will ever meet. They are members of the "Wise" family...perhaps you know them. They originate from Ames, Iowa, almost smack in the middle of the state. My mother's mother was the quilter in our family...she was the one who taught me to love quilts long before I ever considered learning to make them. 

I'll say more about my mother's people when we move through Nebraska, but for now, I'll stick with Ames. We are miles from there, but I imagine the rest of the state (outside of the big cities) looks much like the territory we traveled today. Corn, corn, corn, and more corn, interrupted by the occasional barn.

Today, I put Iowa and Lake Michigan on the map.

The sun was shining bright on the side of the trailer, and a warm wind blew. We are parked in a nice, but rustic, campground tonight. We'll head into Nebraska tomorrow. I know I still owe you a quilt shop, and I'll get to it soon.

11 comments from clever and witty friends:

Tami C said...

Glad the roads have gotten better. Hubby sister use to live in Grand Island, NE and we stayed at Hall County Park Camping for a week and visited all the antique shops in the area.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Hmm, we have a few of those inter-state rds too - makes you scratch your head where the funds went to - certainly not the roads. Sounds like you are cruising right along - still keeping everything crossed for luck. Of course you HAD to see jolly green!!

Brown Family said...

We have always found the roads in Oklahoma to be bad, too! I hope they get better every day for your journey!

Janarama said...

ROFLMAO ... Nose Barbara. The Jolly Green Giant has an incredibly large nose. LOL You're a riot.

Siouxzq64@gmail.com said...

Oh be glad you were not traveling on the East side of Michigan the highways are absolutely awful. Huge pot holes, some big enough to eat a small car, buckling. There are cracks between the lanes you could lose a small dog or cat in and never see them again. Love your pic of the green giant though.

Michele said...

Wow! That is one really huge green statue and I'm sure a fond memory that you will treasure forever.

Dana Gaffney said...

And he has an incredibly big...smile,lol. I wonder why the barns don't have quilts on them, I see so many pictures with that it looks odd to me not to see them. Will you ever want to eat corn again?

Diane Wild said...

Okay, not to be a nit picker BUT, the town where Spam comes from is Albert Lea. I'm sure that was just a typo. Next, I'm shocked that Blue Earth takes the credit for the Jolly Green Giant because I always thought it was LeSueur, MN. They also have the Big Guy and boast that LeSueur is his home. I'm crushed. The corn has been pulled over my eyes all these years. I'm guessing the bad roads are because of the salt and the snowplows. That portion of I-90 tends to get buried and tons of salt are most likely dumped to keep it open. Why am I defending the interstate? Glad you're progressing safely. Enjoy the corn fields.

Dar said...

This was an interesting and funny post today. You DO have a way with words. Are you coming as far as Missouri on this trip? If so, give us a heads up. We can make sure the highway is "weed free" when you arrive. I live close to several interstates, and it would be fun to meet in person.

quiltzyx said...

It's interesting to see the brick-faced buildings. I love the colors of brick, don't you?
Wow! The Giant has a 48-inch...SMILE & shoe size 78! I wondered who figured out his shoe size?
That surely doesn't look like an Interstate highway. But I guess that snow & ice do take their toll on the pavement. If they do use so much salt on the pavement like Diane said, I'm surprised that the weeds still grow so vigorously! Very salt-tolerant buggers, aren't they?

Kate said...

I've been to the University of Iowa to talk about corn and such. It's an amazingly flat, corn filled state.