Every traveler could enjoy the Loess Hills Scenic Byway, not just a dirt guy like me. It has beautiful rolling topography, a smooth, winding, two-lane road, vistas of rich farmland, and occasional views of the Missouri River. But for someone interested in glacial geology, it has special significance. Loess is wind-blown silt deposited by the last continental glacier about 15,000 years ago. When the ice retreated, winds picked up the glacial flour and deposited it in dunes, some of which reach 200 feet. The silt-sized particles are stable when dry (vertical cut banks; see photo), but very erosive when wet. Western Iowa has the best example of this formation short of China. A smaller deposit is seen south of Vincennes, IN, along route 41.Loess Hills Composite CC4

OK, more than you wanted to know about loess, but next time you are in Iowa, take this scenic byway. For my ride, it offered great sweepers, no traffic, and beautiful views. And before you get to the Loess Hills, visit the Amish Amana Villages; for me, a great lunch stop along the way, and for shoppers, an endless variety of goodies.

No mosquitoes at Anita State Park; just a gentle breeze, lake view, great temperatures, and a quiet night.