On the Road: Iowa and Minnesota

[message type="custom"]On the Road is a series of posts highlighting the "getting there" portion of my epic road trip through the western US - not focused on a specific destination but rather some [seemingly random] observations along the way, mostly to give the folks outside the US and idea of what the country looks like beyond NYC and Hollywood movies.[/message] I have spent the first couple of years after college working in Cedar Rapids, Iowa so I have quite a few friends still living there and I figured I would swing by to see them, even if it wasn't exactly on my road trip route, then continue north to Minneapolis.

A fairly quick 4.5 hours drive through Iowa and Minnesota

Unfortunately, getting my car ready for the trip delayed my departure so that instead of spending three days in CR, I was only there for half a day. So everyone was summoned for a Sunday morning breakfast and it was awesome to catch up with almost all of my non-imaginary friends all at once. As well as make some plans for future travels to Bulgaria.

Breakfast at Tiffany's Perkins with CR bunch

We also wanted to hit up the Lost Island watermark in the afternoon with some folks - an hour north of CR in Waterloo, it is still my favorite waterpark in the world! But the weather had it's own thoughts about that and different forecasts could not agree when and how long it will actually storm around there.

Weather not looking promising for the day

So the waterpark trip is now put away for the next time. And, as it usually works, the storms quickly passed and the afternoon weather was perfect for the drive up to Minneapolis.

 Leaving CR - People slaving away on a Sunday at 131. Not much changed.

Since I was driving through the cornfields after the sunset the day before and was unable to show off the famous Iowa cornfields in their whole glory, I had to take a few pictures along the way today:

Farms along the road

Farm facilities - grain elevators?

Baby corn field

[Un]fortunately, the corn is still in its "baby" stage and it actually looks pretty nice when you can see all the farm land from the freeway.
To give you an idea why many here are not fans of driving through the corn fields, here is a picture of full grown corn around here:

Grown-up corn

Now imagine driving for hours with the walls of that around you. This is one thing I do not miss.
Moving on.

A few clouds on the way but no sign of a storm

The northern Iowa not only grows corn, but also the wind turbines.

Growing some wind turbines

I remember flying over these on the way to Mason City and it just seemed as a never-ending field from the above.
Three hours or so after leaving CR, we are now rolling into the fifth state on this road trip (in two days!) - Minnesota.

Entering the state of 10,000 lakes

Minnesota proudly proclaims to be the land of 10,000 lakes but they hide most of them well as only a glimpse can be seen from the freeway.

One of very few lakes actually visible from the freeway

The terrain has changed - never-ending cornfields gave way to rolling hills and trees along the road.

More hills and trees, less corn

Driving past a random airport, it was surprising to see this Thunderbird memorial (for the US Air Force jet demonstration team):

A Thunderbird memorial

And soon after it was time to greet the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul:

Minneapolis skyline in the distance

So far the driving has been the familiar lands the last couple of days. The real adventure starts tomorrow - off to North Dakota!
Stay tuned.