On the Road with Tom and Gloria travel blog

Iowa State Capitol




Free lunch!





Herbert Hoover Presidential Museum


Magnificent is the only word I can use to describe the Iowa State Capitol Building. With both the House and the Senate in session today ( along with a huge amount of lobbyists) it was a very busy place. Three bus loads of school children were touring the building so I bought a pamphlet for $1 and did a self guided tour.

The Tama County Iowa Pork Producers had a BBQ pork tenderloin sandwich and a drink waiting for everyone exiting the building. The sandwich was very tender, very tasty , and very welcomed - I could continue my trip without having to stop for lunch.

Newton is 30 minutes east from Des Moines and it is the home of Maytag Dairy Farms . What a peaceful and serene setting this is. I paused before entering the building to hear the birds chirping and appreciate the calm of the place. I was greeted by a most cheerful woman who ran a video for me before showing me the wrapping and packing area (no tours of the dairy itself).

I have seen the cheese making process many times before but the video was still interesting. Today I learned that Maytag Dairy was started by the son of the maker of Maytag Appliance Company. (The two companies have always been and still are separate companies.) At first it was a dairy with trucks delivering milk but in 1940 Maytag learned that Iowa State University came up with a new way to make blue cheese. Maytag Dairy still uses that method today. Sorry to say, no samples.

Right off Route 80, in West Branch Iowa, is the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site. The cottage where Hoover was born, his schoolhouse, and the Quaker meeting house along with the Presidential Library and Museum are on this 81 acre prairie. The museum is not a very big place - the information about this president was presented in a bit of a jumbled way - but all in all a good stop.

By the time I reached Walcott , very near the Illinois border, I needed gas and what better place to stop than at the Iowa 80 - the world's largest truck stop. No kidding - it is enormous. Inside is a food court with five fast food chains, across from that is a regular sit down restaurant and three different huge gift shops. It has 800 tractor trailer parking spaces, 200 car parking spaces, and 20 RV and bus parking spaces plus a truck museum. The stuff you get to see on a road trip!

I am settled for the night 100 miles from Chicago. Tomorrow I get to see Colin and Owen - the best possible way to end this segment of this summer's road trip.

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