I departed Nebraska on a lovely, cool morning. It always surprises me how much the temperature can vary in one day—55˚ in the morning and 95˚ but early afternoon.
After crossing the Iowa border, I pulled in to a Rest Area, as Jane had recommended. Her advice was good—they had an amazing array of documents, magazines, maps, and brochures about the state. What a splendid research for return visits.
The highway stretched across a gently undulating, green region of handsome farms. There is something about the sight of that gray, concrete ribbon stretched seemingly endlessly toward the horizon that always charms me.
After three hours, I pulled into a McDonald’s. I realize this stop possesses no snob appeal, but you really can’t beat a McDonald’s on a long road trip: right on the highway, bathrooms are always clean, and the coffee is good. I sometimes think people who rail against McDonald’s are simply folks who are bitter that they didn’t think of the idea first. One of my favorite “factoids” is that McDonald’s has created more millionaires than any other economic entity in history, most of them minorities. And they’re easy and reliable.
Continuing on, I passed a sign indicating that a few miles to my left was Winterset, birthplace of Marion Robert Morrison, better known as iconic movie hero John Wayne. I had too far to go and too many other stops already planned to make this detour, but I noted it for a possible future visit.
In Des Moines, my main goal was the Iowa State Historical Museum, but the state capitol was nearby, so I stopped to photograph the handsome, domed building.