Writing Rest Area

I frequently drive across Iowa on trips between my current home state of South Dakota and the state of my birth, Illinois.  (In fact, most of the drive is Iowa, and it crosses the entire state.)

While the drive tends to be long and tedious, there are some good things about crossing Iowa.  Unlike many of the other long drives I’ve taken in my life, there are no “dead air” zones where the radio fails me.  There are lots of good places to stop, including a visit with friends in Des Moines.  The Iowa Department of Transportation has also made an effort to take care of drivers in the state.  There are lots of rest areas available, and fifteen of them have been renovated and themed.  There’s a Lewis and Clark rest area, an agriculture rest area, and a very cool wind energy rest area.  On this trip I discovered what they call the “Iowa” rest area, which is writing themed.

There’s a huge sculpture of a fountain pen nib in front of the building.  There are names of novelists, poets, and playwrights from Iowa displayed throughout the building, with a large wraparound LED screen near the ceiling with constantly scrolling quotes.  Even the picnic shelters are themed, with quotes cut into metal at the back of each.

For someone who writes, it’s an inspirational place to pause.  I took the time to walk around and read several of the shelter quotes.  It was a really neat find, and it will be a planned stop on future trips.  The next time I drive through without animals in my car, I might even take a few moments to write with inspiration all around me.

Want to know where to find it?  It’s on Interstate 80, eastbound, near Tiffin, Iowa.  🙂

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