The main reason we travel is to come back home and tell about it. Here is my virtual vacation slide show of a trip to Iowa. Photos by Phil Houseal
Color Me Iowan
by Phil Houseal
I had to go to Iowa this summer. Because when I last talked with my mom six months ago she was whining about how it had been four years since she had seen me. People get crotchety when they turn 88.
So I loaded up the minivan and headed north.
The directions are easy. Get on IH-35 in Texas. Drive a thousand miles. Get off IH-35 in Iowa. You don’t really need GPS, but I use it because hearing Homer Simpson give directions irritates my wife.
But getting there is hard. Because the first half of any trip out of Texas is spent entering Dallas, leaving Dallas, stuck in traffic in Dallas, driving around Dallas, or avoiding Dallas. I don’t know why they didn’t put Dallas someplace like Lubbock, where the only reason you’d go there is to get there.
The only thing worse is that after Dallas, there is nothing. Don’t believe me? Take the Kansas Turnpike. It goes through the Flint Hills, but, pssst... there is nothing there! As far as you can see on both sides of the road... nothing. No trees, no grass, no fences, no birds, no oxygen. For about 150 miles. And at the end of the road, the state of Kansas charges you $6.75!
But by and by, the fields green up, the trees get bigger, and the distinctive aroma of hogs let you know you have arrived at the center of the universe.
Here then is my vacation virtual slide show:
And hay. Hay has become so important of a cash crop, farmers are baling it from their ditches. At one business, the owner laid down narrow strips of gravel in his parking lot, so he could mow and bale the grass in between.
Back to Texas
Iowa is green. If Crayola made an entire 120-count box of crayons with nothing but shades of green, there still wouldn’t be enough to capture the colors of an Iowa cornfield.
You can color Texas using only the primary colors. Red for the sunsets; green for the jalapenos; and blue for the northers.
But I love and am forever bound to both places. My only wish?
That they weren’t so far apart.