Sunday, April 3, 2011

Final Leg Of The Journey

When we arrived in Des Moines, Iowa on Wednesday we headed for the home of our friends, Vas and Julia. We got there around lunch time and Vas took us out to eat while we waited for Julia to get off work for the day.

After lunch we met up with Julia and headed downtown to explore. Our first stop was the Pappajohn Sculpture Park, a nice park with many interesting and weird sculptures throughout. Next we headed down to the state capitol building.

We were able to go inside and see the state legislators in session, the state library, and explore parts of the rest of the building. It was a very interesting and historic building.

Outside the capitol building there is a statue of Lewis and Clark looking West and right down one of the main roads into the heart of the city.

We decided to walk down that main road and do some exploring into the local shops and restaurants in the area and walked all the way down to the Des Moines River. At this point we were starting to get hungry so we headed to a great Mexican restaurant in town to meet up with another of their friends, Tatyana. Dinner was great - they had a guacamole station where they would come and make it right at the table.

After dinner we headed back to Vas and Julia's place to hang out over a bottle of wine. We stayed up late talking and had a great time visiting with them during the short time we were there. Thanks to Vas and Julia for being great hosts and tour guides!

Thursday we woke up and continued on our way. For the first time in the US on this journey we left the main highways and took the back, country roads for a more direct path southeast. As we were driving along there was a sign we passed for the American Gothic House in the small town of Eldon, IA. I ignored it and kept driving, but Rebekah thought it sounded interesting (without really knowing what it was) and insisted we turn around. When we got there we saw a parking lot, a visitors center, and an old, rickety white house.

However, once we walked in to the visitors center we recognized what this place was. The old, rickety house is the home from the painting American Gothic by Grant Wood. The visitors center had history and stories of the painting along with costumes you could put on. Then you could go stand in front of the house where the center staff will gladly take your picture. I thought this was a little strange, but of course Rebekah was excited...

I think we nailed it.

After taking off the costumes we continued on our way through the country of Iowa and Missouri and made it to St. Louis around dinner time. After stopping briefly to take a picture by the Gateway Arch (which took more time than we originally thought - it is not easy to park with a U-Haul in downtown St. Louis) we crossed the border into Illinois and found an Olive Garden for dinner.

After dinner we continued on our way, becoming more anxious to arrive the closer we got. Taking 64 to 57 to 24 we crossed into Kentucky and stopped at a Days Inn off the highway in Kuttawa, KY. We woke up early Friday morning and continued down 24 through Nashville and then hopping on 75 in Chattanooga. Since it was close to evening rush hour as we approached Atlanta, we took GA 20 to stay north of the city and arrived at Rebekah's parents house just before dinner.

In total the trip took 11 days and we traveled 5,555 miles traveling through 12 US states and 2 Canadian provinces. We saw much of the country, but unfortunately didn't get to see and do as much as we wanted due to the weather and our time constraints. However, it was definitely a trip we will not soon forget!


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