Last night we settled down at Iowa 80 right before the rain hit. We woke up this morning to the tail end of the storm. The wind is worse than the rain, but Neil is a champ - and so is Sherm for driving through the winds of the open plains of Mid West! As we drove west the storm passed over east, leaving us with a beautiful sunny day (although it was still windy!).
We we chugging along toward the Missouri River to bring us back up to I90. Suddenly Sherm asked, "Where is the Mall of America?" Turns out it's right outside Minneapolis. Convinently, we were coming up to I35 which shoots right into Minneapolis; so we changed course and headed north. About halfway to the Minnesota border we stopped for gas. Off the highway we saw a sign for a blacksmith and train museum.
Of course we followed the signs, which lead us to the Welcome Center of Dows, Iowa; which was a historic one room train station. There wasn't much around but some kind of GIANT crop processing facility right on the train tracks. We walked up the the front door and it was locked. "Isn't this how horror movies start?" has been our joke. Across the street was another historic building - large and brick, it had to be the blacksmith museum. We walked over and the front door was open and we could hear two ladies talking. It took a second for our eyes to adjust to the dark, but it revealed two floors of blacksmith and machine shop antiques.
The town's blacksmith had worked there is whole life. With technology changing much of the tools he had were out dated and he must not of had anyone else to carry on the tradition. One night after work in 1990, he locked up shop, walked down to town hall and handed them the keys, retiring at 94yrs old and donating the building as it sat that day. It looks like people continue to donate antiques because the place was packed. There were so many cool things in that one building I don't even know where to start, so I'll let the pictures do the talking.
The wind was so constant for so long on the highway we decided to take a side road north to Minnesota. I thought it might be a change of scenery - it wasn't - but I did get a closer look at some farms, processing facilities, and miles and miles and miles of empty train cars for transporting crops, at least that is what I imagine they are for. Why else would there be so many empty cars just waiting to be filled? And how else do you get all that corn to the hungry people of the world?
Iowa was super flat and pretty monotonous since every field right now is just dirt, but I'll tell you nothing make you appreciate your food more than seeing just how awesome the process is to get it to you. Being from the coast I know what fishermen go through, but I never really thought about just how much food comes out of the middle of the country.
All we saw were dirt fields. As the sun came out we saw more and farmers out tilling their fields. Soon this will all be crops.; and not too much longer it will be on someone's plate. There's some food for though for you!