Cheer us on: we have hit 35 states, and have only 15 more states to go!
Des Moines was the main city we visited in Iowa. From Omaha, we made the 2 hour drive through the western part of Iowa, which was covered with corn fields, some cow farms, and many windmills throughout open fields alongside main highways.
On Monday, October 20th. We checked into our hotel, Holiday Inn Express Des Moines at Drake University at 2:30pm on Monday, October 20th, which is west of the city center. Tennis courts across the street caught our eye, as we planned a time for us to get a much-needed fun workout before leaving.
Our first stop was to visit the Capitol Building, which houses the Iowa Senate, Iowa House of Representatives, the Office of the Governor, Attorney General, Auditor, Treasurer, and Secretary of State. We were really intrigued to visit this building mainly due to it being the number one attraction on TripAdvisor in Des Moines. It was around 3:30pm when we arrived there. We parked in Visitor Parking right in front of the building. It was a beautiful fall afternoon, and the sun was shining brightly on the gorgeous 23-carat Golden Dome roof. We also noticed a small scenic park with a few lone joggers. Our first goal was to find a nearby cache, and we walked down the paved pathway into the park. After searching for about a half hour, we unfortunately we came up empty-handed.
It was already almost 4:15pm so we decided to head up to the building before it closed. We went through one of the public entrances on the side of the building. Upon entering, we walked through a metal detector and a security guard greeted us. They stopped their tours for the day, but we we were able to explore the building on our own, so we got a map from the info desk towards the front and made our way up to the second floor.
Our first stop was the library, which was really neat to see. There were some nice spiral staircases along the walls leading up the room with high ceilings. There were all really cool historical pieces in glass cases. We were able to then head to one of the open rooms, which is where the House of Representatives gather. Everything in the building was beautifully decorated with paintings, beautiful architecture and wonderful lighting throughout.
We saw a couple of exhibits that screamed Iowa, such as one of their ships, bell, donated gifts from countries, the governor’s memorabilia, and more! The structure itself was quite European in style, as dramatic artwork hung from the walls and painted ceilings brightened up the structure.
After exploring the interior of the building, we made our way towards the back of the building where there was a cache. We were in luck as I spotted the cache immediately!
Michael suggested we check out the Pappajohn Sculpture Park. We parked our car along the road which surrounded the park, and it was a coin-operated machine, which was very reasonably priced. It was $0.25 for 34 minutes, not too shabby! We just took a nice stroll and took some pictures of the sculptures while the sun was shining very brightly. There was a couple sitting on top of a hill who was having a photo shoot with two photographers working hard to capture some special moments, while we casually saw kids, parents, and loners sitting and relaxing in the natural beauty of this park.
Dinner was next on the agenda. As we drove back to our hotel we noticed the Drake Diner, which was right next to our hotel. Being it was a Monday, we were happy to see many cars parked at this particular restaurant. This really means that it is a hot spot. Indeed, the decor and ambiance did create that 50’s style diner. Tootsie Roll Pops were also right at the front, so I selected a few different flavors for after-dinner. The food was very good so we knew the dessert would be great too!
The next morning we had planned to wake up at 6am to get some tennis time in before our drive through Missouri. However we were still adjusting to the two-hour time difference from Pacific Time to Central Time so we ended up sleeping in until about 8am. We did manage to make it to breakfast😄 before our drive that day.
Our next states are Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas by the weekend! It’s a busy week for us, but we are really looking forward to visiting Michael’s sister Kayleigh and her boyfriend Anthony in Texas.
Also a quick side note: Game 2 of the World Series is on (Giants vs. Royals)….everyone is going crazy about the Royals around where we are now and it’s really had an impact on us actually watching some baseball at night. Woo!!!