Thursday, May 15, 2008

So, Why Happy to Be From Iowa??

You're probably wondering about the origins of my blog title since I live in Minnesota, in fact I'll bet it occupies your mind a fair amount of the day. Well your worries are over, I'm about to tell you.

As a kid, I was a bookworm. I loved the smell of the library, and the crackle of that weird not-quite-plastic stuff they put on the hardcovers. In almost every novel I read, the protagonist or narrator was bemoaning their small town life, their small town family, and their small town friends. But I just couldn't identify - I was happy to be from Iowa!

Perhaps it was because I grew up in an area that is physically gorgeous. Northeast Iowa was not glaciated as was the rest of the state. There you'll find the most dramatic hills, deep valleys, and rivers brought on by nearby glacial melt. The above photo is the Upper Iowa River that runs right through my hometown of Decorah, Iowa. I've spent many happy hours floating there on an innertube just lazing away a summer afternoon beneath the looming limestone bluffs.
Iowans are always coming up with fun ways to pass the time. Take RAGBRAI - that's an acronym for the Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa. Thousands of cyclists of every age and fitness level dip their rear bike tires in the Missouri River, then ride a brutal 7-day path across the state to dip their front tire in the Mississippi. This event takes place at the end of July - during some of the most extreme heat and humidity known to man. But the roads are lined with Iowans cooking up sweet corn, ice cream, pie, cake, and lots of dancing in the streets.
Iowa is full of some of the most beautiful natural resources. Yes, it's also full of pigs and corn but you gotta look further. The photo above is from Dunning Springs - right smack in Decorah. This stunningly cold spring water comes pouring out of a limestone cave to gush over the cliffside.

And this is Herky the Hawk - the mascot for my alma mater the University of Iowa. See how that Michigan State Spartan can't catch up? The attention surrounding Hawkeye sports is incredible. Basically because there are no professional teams to speak of in Iowa, all that fan energy is funneled into the Hawkeyes. Some will claim there is another large university in Iowa but let's just not go there. Hawkeye tailgating is like nothing you've ever seen - most of those attending the games didn't even attend the college! Iowans just like to be outside in the Fall, cooking up some brats, and hanging out with other football fans.

I have many other reasons, which I'll post at later intervals. Iowa was a place to grow.


janban said...

Here, Here! I agree 100%. It IS beautiful there. The sad thing is when I was growing up people would always say how gorgeous it is in that part of the state. I would just shrug my shoulders and think, "whatever". Now that I'm old and a bit wiser I recognize how fortunate I was to have been raised there and I always have a yearning for "home".

Christopher Tassava said...

Beautiful scenery. RAGBRAI's just nutty, though. Decorah sounds like a nice place for a family vacation!

michaelg said...

RAGBRAI is a keggar on two wheels. Scary really. That's why I choose the more sensible Bike Wisconsin trips. :o)
Decorah is a really incredible place to visit. I've lived in Minneapolis for 20 years come August, but still consider myself an Iowan and proud of it.

Bubs said...

You're right about northeastern Iowa. My bride has family in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Davenport and Dubuque.

When you mentioned the food for RAGBRAI you left out my favorite thing about Iowa food--pork tenderloin. Is there no pork tenderloin on RAGBRAI?

Mnmom said...

Oh I'm sure you can find pork tenderloin on RAGBRAI - as big as frisbees

Beth said...

I think a college friend of mine is from Decorah... I need to think about that for awhile...The RAGBRAI sounds like a blast!

Cate said...

Same here. Grew up in Iowa, attended Luther, now live in MN. Both my husband and I would love to live in Decorah. It is a beautiful place!