In another life, I will live on a beach and collect seashells. In fact, after receiving a foot an a half of snow last weekend (an early April Fools prank courtesy of Mother Nature), I question why I remain in Iowa at all. I told my husband that there are other places to live that, if not more exciting, are at least warmer. In turn he pulled out the “practical” card and pointed out that we both have Jobs. We have aging parents, a daughter in college and another in high school. He also reminded me that we own an acreage that we are in the process of remodeling (minus the Chipp & Joanna Gaines efficiency and friendly banter), two dogs and a handful of farm cats. I tend to selectively overlook the price of plane tickets and hotel rooms, and instead blame the barnyard menagerie for my inability to travel.

My husband, however, admits to being a computer geek, and looked at the situation more analytically. He pointed out that Iowa has its own beauty and charm, and that traveling the backroads of Iowa is more economical than booking a flight to the west coast. I wanted to prove him wrong, because let’s face it. Nothing is worse than a spouse’s “I told you so” hanging over your head. But I’ve lived in Iowa the majority of my forty-some years, and have come to appreciate that I really do live in a special place.

Unfortunately people outside of Iowa (and even some within) do not understand the treasures we have here. So I am setting out on a quest to embrace what Iowa offers. I want to share what makes Iowa special, from the quest for the best tenderloin to a roadside sweet corn stand to the vintage store on the corner. My goal is not to review restaurants or rate places, but rather to share my experiences as I travel those Iowa backroads. Jeff says it’s just an excuse for me to go on road trips. I told him I was offended that he did not recognize my sincere desire to promote the greatness of Iowa…while secretly seething that he saw through my unscrupulous tactics to justify visits to small town dives and little mom & pop shops. (Let’s face it…who doesn’t want a reason to eat and shop?)

But in a crazy effort to legitimize eating fried food and stopping at an Iowa winery (purely for research, or course), I told my husband I would blog about my adventures. Because maybe other people might be interested in drinking a “duck fart” in Troy Mills on the day of their annual turtle fry or searching for a vintage treasure at the Geneva Market or playing “egg roulette” on Easter Eve in Renwick. Blogging means I’m committed. I’m serious. I’m crazy.

So I invite you to join me on this road trip across Iowa. No need to buy a plane ticket or check your bags. All you need to pack is a positive attitude and adventuresome spirit…and maybe some elastic-waist pants.

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