This weekend we went to visit friends in Western Iowa we hadn’t seen for a long time. Iowa is crossed by two major interstate highways – but they weren’t much use getting from our house to theirs. After a brief stretch whizzing by the landscape headed south on I-35, we turned west on two-lane roads for the remaining three plus hours of our travels. Externally enforced relaxation. Fifty-five miles an hour at best, and we’re in the middle of fall harvest, with extra-wide farm equipment possibly over the next hill or around the next turn in the road to slow us down even more.
And for that, I am grateful. Most people think of Iowa (if they think about it at all) as monotonously flat and populated by cornfields. Speeding through Iowa on I-80 to get to somewhere more important, it’s easy to get that impression. We were travelling towards the Missouri River and into one of the most unique geological formations on our continent – the Loess Hills. Barely an hour after leaving I-35 we entered a rolling, golden landscape with terraced fields of corn and soybeans, large combines gathering in the grain, a dusky haze of harvest dust hanging over all in the late afternoon sun. A restorative, relaxing drive through a stunning slice of America’s heartland.
I wish I’d taken pictures. I scoured the web this morning to find some that aren’t copyrighted, but I didn’t succeed, so I’ll tell you where to go for visuals and more insight into this beautiful part of our country:
Caldeira & Co.’s photostream on Flikr has the largest collection of Loess Hills harvest photos, many that look like they could have been taken anywhere across the last hour of our trek west:
The Nature Conservancy (to which we contribute) is gradually acquiring lands and working to preserve the unique Loess Hills heritage, described here:
We’ll bring you more of this landscape in some upcoming WIP’s we’ve chosen to set in Iowa’s prairie country (and you can bet we’ll spice them up with lots of tantalizing erotic moments). And oh, yes, we did have a lovely visit reconnecting with our friends. A sweet weekend, at a much slower speed than we typically live our lives. I highly recommend it!