Iowa is a rural, corn-covered state, dotted with red barns and silos. We stopped at a couple of rest areas just to stretch our legs and then pressed on. We hoped to make up for the slower days of exploration and National Parks, but even on this day we had one quirky stop planned.
Driving down the interstate we were fascinated by all the modern windmills, sleek with huge white blades. Sometimes we passed clusters of windmills; sometimes there were only a few. We stopped for lunch in a tiny town, surrounded by fields of corn and more windmills. A man and woman at the table beside us discussed seeds and early ears. The news covered the farm report and the big news of the day, the early closing of the schools due to extreme heat. The high was expected to reach 95 F. As Southerners we chuckled at that.
Talking to our waitress we learned the town has over 300 windmills, but the company that owns them generates electricity for a different county.
We drove on. The next Iowa rest area was designed as a tribute to writers and the written word. Mom and I walked through the inside displays, but what we really liked were the picnic tables. Each table had a metal windbreak with author’s quotes cut out of the metal. We had to read every one. I later learned that Iowa is in the process of updating all their rest areas to reflect the theme of the area or county. We were close to the University of Iowa and to the Iowa Writers Workshop. This rest area made me happy!
We turned off the highway to search for the tiny town of Riverside Iowa, the future birthplace of James T Kirk, captain of the Starship Enterprise.
Driving along country roads we entered the town of Riverside. The road curved, we rounded a corner and there was the Starship Enterprise in a strip mall parking lot. It was late in the day and everything was closed, but we snapped a few pictures and continued on. In the downtown area, vacant of cars or people, we parked and walked by several closed stores. A sign pointed us to walk down a grassy path between a shop and a hair salon. We walked back to find a little garden with a monument to Kirk’s future birthplace. Riverside honors both the future birthplace and the place of conception, in the local bar. At least the town has a sense of humor.
We laughed, took a few pictures and continued on our drive, staying on country back roads. We passed fields and fields of corn. Suddenly we turned a corner, crossed an old metal bridge, and we were on the other side of the Mississippi. We were nearly done with this trip.