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Apparently They Dislike The Natural Climate…

June 30, 2010

So after taking a little break, I’m going to share some more pics of our time in the state of Iowa.  After leaving the campsite and embarking on our own, Nikki and I spent a day in Des Moines en route to our next destination.  We had a few hours to kill, so we grabbed some lunch and then walked around downtown.

1. Do I Get My Own Lightsaber?

An interesting feature of downtown Des Moines has led to their moniker, The City of Skywalks.  They have constructed an intricate system of climate-controlled skywalks connecting the buildings that runs for 3.5 miles.  I’m curious as to what prompted this feature to be incorporated into their construction plans, whether it was encouraged by incredibly cold winters or just a loathing for the great outdoors, but regardless, it sounds like it would be pretty fun to walk around on.  I’ve always wanted to be a Skywalker . . .

2. Mr. Smith Goes To Des Moines just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

We also visited the State Capital Building and took a self-guided tour.  It was a beautifully constructed building, with some great murals and sculptures incorporated into the architecture.

We got to see the Halls of the State Senate & State House of Representatives.  I’ve never seen much appeal for politics in general, and certainly not on the national level, but I could imagine it being quite the learning experience to serve a term as a State Senator.  I’m not going to delve deeply into my views of the political system here, I will save that for another time and place.

Here’s looking up into the dome.

In the basement of the capital I found an old-fashioned phone booth and I couldn’t resist.

From Des Moines we proceeded to drive to Marshalltown, Iowa, to stay overnight with John & Judith McCarty.  The McCarty’s were the parents of one of my best friends in high school, Kevin.  (You can find his blog here.  Congrats on the job in San Angelo, buddy!)  I spent a lot of time at their house in Hutchinson and it was like a second home and family for me.  They’ve been up here in Iowa for a few years now.  They run the Salvation Army church & store in Marshalltown.  I introduced them to Nikki and we had dinner and caught up.  It was a great time.

The next morning, after breakfast with the McCarty’s, we headed off for Kalona, Iowa.  My dad grew up here and most of his side of the family still lives here (astute readers will remember my visit there on my blog last August).  We stayed a few nights with my Uncle Wendell & Aunt Muriel and caught up with everyone in town.  Nikki had not had a chance to meet most of my dad’s family, so they had been eager to get to know her.  We spent a lot of time with my grandparents (usually consisting of 6 am breakfasts, they get up early), visited some antique shops for Nikki to browse around, showed her the old farmhouse my dad grew up on, and had a big family dinner one night, consisting of my grandparents, 8 uncles & aunts, 10 cousins & spouses, and 9 1st cousins, once removed.  It was an awesome time, and I learned a lot about my family’s history that I had never heard before.  I would be very interested to look more into my genealogy.

On Friday we left Kalona for Dubuqe to speak at a church, but more on that next time.  Same Jordan blog, same Jordan time.

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