Maybe you need to be a farm boy to love traveling through Iowa. Or maybe you simply need to pick the right roads. I must have picked them correctly, because it was a great trip. The Western Skies Byway was a great two-lane road through rolling farmland. Yes, of course, lots of corn and soybeans, but interspersed with trees, wetlands, creeks, farmsteads, and small towns.

An unlikely place, but the village of Anamosa has the National Motorcycle Museum. Now this one is all about the machines; over 400 of them, and me with only 40 minutes to spare. Western Skies Composite CC$

Further down the Western Skies Byway was the Danish village of Elk Horn, known for its bucolic surroundings and beautiful windmill. Sharon served up a great breakfast at Vittles Coffee Shop, next to the mill. It was early, I was the only one there, so she sat in the bench seat at my table and told me about the community. I commented about the Western Skies route with the pretty windmill signs all along the way. She had never seen them, or heard about the route. Just then 4 local women came in for breakfast. “Ida, did you know the road through town is part of the Western Skies Byway?” Ida, with a bit of a dismissive tone in her voice: “I’ve lived here 50 years and never heard of it; Western Skies—sounds like an airline to me.”

On the way out, I rode back to the edge of the village. Yep there was the sign. I rode through, and sure enough there was one on both sides of town, and a dozen more along the way. It occurred to me that I, too, was guilty of taking the beauty of my hometown for granted, not taking time to notice the obvious and reflecting on my good fortune.