It was up and away time last week for Mr. Bruce and me as we started my big birthday tour. Half the fun of a trip is the planning; I had been planning this for weeks. We went to Rochester, MN to visit with daughter Jonya and her family. Since we live in Springfield, MO this meant traveling north via I-35 through Iowa.
Our first stop was at the Iowa Welcome center. I always know there will be clean restrooms, friendly attendants, and loads of brochures there. Thanks Iowa Tourism. I have been to MN several times, but seldom get off I-35, but this time we did. Boy, am I glad. It gave us a better understanding of the farms and people of Iowa, besides we loved seeing green fields. (Many fields are burned up in SW Missouri because of the drought, including our own yard.)
Then we buzzed up to Indianola, Iowa. I wanted to see the National Balloon Museum. The annual National Balloon Classic started July 29, but the timing wasn't right for us to see a launch. It is a fantastic place to visit. There are exhibits of covering every aspect of ballooning, lots of history, and different interactive displays. The volunteers were super friendly, I'm sorry I didn't write down their names. One of the guys showed Mr. Bruce a shorter way to get around Des Moines. Also, there is an wheelchair available, a big help..no unloading our suitcases to get mine out.
We had lunch at the Crouse Cafe. If you want homemade food, that is the place in Indianola. I had the best apple pie, full of cinnamon and a tender crust. But the best part of our lunch break was the very nice people. We had gotten lost and couldn't find the museum, so I asked the cashier. She gave us directions, filled in a bit of history, and was enthused and happy to do so. Our waitress was also happy and helpful. I appreciate that. (Personal opinion only: we live near a tourist area, people are not friendly there.)
We stopped for the night in Ames. I will save that story for later; it's a funny Mr. Bruce tale.