The first accents I noticed on my journey were in Southern Iowa. Highway 2 is never more than 15 miles from the northern Missouri border.

Iowa has thus far had the cleanest roadsides. They have bottle and can deposits and it shows. I must admit they are cleaner than Oregon's.

Not all water tastes the same. I have noticed big differences as I pass across the country - some good and some not.

A policeman in Leon came over a hill and thought I was a policeman due to my flashing night lights.

I have noticed that poor people seem to have bigger satellite dishes and more guard dogs.

I no longer have to carry a lot of extra water as I did in the West. Two gallons are fine and this lightens the load.

Southern Iowa seemed to have a touch of provincialism. This was my impression after walking through it.

I overheard a young lady ask a coworker in a restaurant,"Do you want the large gallons or the small ones?"

Harvest is in full swing. It is the time of year to fill the larders. From all of the construction going on and the new machinery I've seen - I'd say the large farmers are doing well this year.

I was wrong on the coyotes - they are all over Iowa. I'm not sure about Illinois.

While waiting for traffic in Fort Madison, an elderly woman car tooted her car horn and we talked a little about my project. When she found out that I was a teacher from Eugene, Oregon she asked if I might know her son - also a teacher there. It turns out that I do - Greg Newton - a teacher at my district's high school and our children played sports together. A small world indeed!

Iowa seemed to have more vehicles needing to replace a headlight, tail light, or muffler than any of the states I have walked through - seriously.

Based on the number of raccoons killed on the roadway - I'd say there sure must be a lot of them.

In early morning you can see a town's water tower silhouetted against the eastern sky from miles away.

Iowa, like other states, have made special educational exceptions for Amish children by requiring that they go only to the 8th grade. We tend to see this as quaint, but do we not take away a child's future choices and condemn them to an Amish lifestyle by this policy? What if the child yearns for more? How can a 13 or 14 year old child make a decision to go against his parent's will?

Now when I camp, my tent and belongings always get a few leaves fallen from the trees overnight.

I have still experienced only one frost, Sept. 6, near Lusk, Wyoming. Frost number two could be any night soon.

Road kill, cattle feed lots, and my feet are starting to smell the same though road kill is still the king.

Wyoming drivers wave the least but Iowans have surprisingly been the rudest drivers to me. They're quite happy to slow down for a piece of farm machinery but for me? "Get the heck out of the way!" I was twice tried to be run off the road.

My nails are a bit thinner - I can tell from having to open my Swiss army knife. I'm probably something missing in my diet - or maybe I just need to clean and oil the knife.

First and last impressions are the greatest. I came into Iowa and received a rousing welcome at the Welcome Center and I was given a police escort across the Mississippi River on the way out. Who can beat that? Now, if they would just do something about the lack of paved shoulders.


  1. Ray,
    I enjoyed the slide show from the previous post...great pictures.

    Regarding the Mormon information, have you ever read "HANDCARTS TO ZION"?...a great book of various journal entries written by Mormons who pushed 600-700 pound handcarts west when they couldn't afford covered wagons for the westward migration. Inspirational and heart-breaking accounts of hardships, courage, and heroism.

    As to your thinning nails...you might be lacking in calcium. If you decide to get calcium pills to compensate for your uncommon diet, make sure it is a combination calcium/magnesium tablet that aids in the absorption of calcium to the body.

    Great to have you on this side of the Mississippi! Good luck!

  2. Sheila, Bert's sisterOctober 23, 2010 at 11:05 AM

    Ray, I loved the pictures in the previous post. Also, all of your interesting comments on this post. I, too, had thought about that Mormon book about the 'Handcarts to Zion'. Fall is here, in Oregon, glad you are seeing some of the color change,too.