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Old 05-08-2013, 10:16 PM
 
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Thanks for all the feedback! I guess depending on the timing it will be best to stop for lunch either around the Mississippi, or Iowa City or Amana, and then it will probably be best to stay overnight in or near Des Moines. Then just drive through western Iowa the next day, and spend a few hours in Omaha before heading further west.

lurtsman, what's in Cozad, NE?
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Old 05-09-2013, 03:35 AM
 
Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa
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If you're passing through in July, "traffic" in downtown IC will not be an issue at all due to summer break. I've been working in downtown IC for the past 10 years, originally from southern California. I think the downtown/campus is very nice and well worth checking out.

Enjoy your visit through Iowa

PS ... the Bread Garden Market on the Ped Mall is an interesting organic food store, plus an optional indoor-outdoor eating area.... or grab a snack for the road (great selection of bakery goods).

http://www.breadgardenmarket.com/

Last edited by smpliving; 05-09-2013 at 05:02 AM..
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Old 05-09-2013, 08:36 AM
 
Location: Keosauqua, Iowa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sgrig View Post
lurtsman, what's in Cozad, NE?
That's what I'd like to know. I stopped there once to eat and get gas. The food wasn't that great and the gas was expensive (Nebraska had a pretty high gas tax at the time, still do for all I know). I didn't see anything else to grab my attention so I didn't waste time getting back on 80. The only reason that I even remember stopping there is that the guy who was riding with me thought the sign said "Gonad" when he first saw it.
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Old 05-09-2013, 10:01 AM
 
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Sgrig: Not very much. There is a decent little hotel there that takes room saver coupons though so you can save a fair bit by staying there. My wife and I usually stop late in the evening and start driving early in the morning--so the "attractions" weren't a large concern. It's just a decent place to get a room that gets you farther during the day We tended to try have as few nights in hotels on the way to/from locations as possible.

Re: Iagal's comment about july traffic. I forgot this was going to be a July trip, so the traffic in IC won't be bad. I still don't really like the area, but I was wrong about the traffic in the context of July.

Duster: I wouldn't really suggest planning any extended time in Cozad, I just found it to be a good distance from Iowa City (where I use to live) so it meant we were making good time and made the next part of the trip shorter. We stayed there while moving from Iowa City to Colorado (one of the best moves in the history of mankind, In my opinion)
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Old 05-09-2013, 04:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lurtsman View Post
Sgrig: Not very much. There is a decent little hotel there that takes room saver coupons though so you can save a fair bit by staying there. My wife and I usually stop late in the evening and start driving early in the morning--so the "attractions" weren't a large concern. It's just a decent place to get a room that gets you farther during the day We tended to try have as few nights in hotels on the way to/from locations as possible.

Re: Iagal's comment about july traffic. I forgot this was going to be a July trip, so the traffic in IC won't be bad. I still don't really like the area, but I was wrong about the traffic in the context of July.

Duster: I wouldn't really suggest planning any extended time in Cozad, I just found it to be a good distance from Iowa City (where I use to live) so it meant we were making good time and made the next part of the trip shorter. We stayed there while moving from Iowa City to Colorado (one of the best moves in the history of mankind, In my opinion)
Oh right, looking at the map I agree that its location is pretty good in terms of breaking up the trip.
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Old 05-12-2013, 07:43 PM
 
Location: Oroville, California
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I think the Amana Colonies are worth a very small detour off I-80. You might even find some nice furniture to ship back home.

Took my folks there when they came out of visit me the year I spent in Des Moines and they said it was the best part of their trip. They even bought a really nice oak pedestal table and chairs from the factory there (for a lot less than it would have cost in California).
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Old 05-13-2013, 07:05 AM
 
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Take a 1/2 day or whole day to see the Omaha Zoo. Also consider a few hours at Living History Farms in Des Moines' NW corner, right off the interstate with lots of hotel options nearby. It has the makings of a small town 100+ years ago, and also shows you what farming looked like at different points in history, if that sort of thing appeals to you.

Des Moines is a nice town, but not a great town for touristy stuff.
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Old 05-13-2013, 08:13 AM
 
Location: Keosauqua, Iowa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lurtsman View Post
Duster: I wouldn't really suggest planning any extended time in Cozad, I just found it to be a good distance from Iowa City (where I use to live) so it meant we were making good time and made the next part of the trip shorter. We stayed there while moving from Iowa City to Colorado (one of the best moves in the history of mankind, In my opinion)
That makes sense. I generally stopped in Kearney for the same reason, starting the trip from farther east.

Iowa is a nice state, and much more scenic than the sample you get from passing through on I-80. But other than maybe the Amanas I really don't think there's much worth pulling off for on a trip through if you don't have a lot of time to spend. Iowa City is a nice college town, but not unlike every other similarly-sized college town. Des Moines is a nice smaller metro area, but if you don't have time to spend at least a day exploring you're not going to see anything that you won't see in other similarly-sized metro areas.

Here's my recommendation as someone who lives in Iowa and has made the trip many times: If you want something that is fairly unique to Iowa, swing off at some little town and stop at a mom-and-pop cafe or bar and grill for a breaded pork tenderloin. I'm sure there are lots of places in and around the Amana Colonies where you can get one, so if you want to check out the Amanas you could kill two birds with one stone. Otherwise buzz through Iowa quickly and save your sightseeing for Nebraska. In my opinion, The Omaha Zoo (Omaha), Pioneer Village (Minden), Archway Monument (Kearney), Buffalo Bill's Ranch (North Platte), and Cabela's world headquarters and flagship store (Sidney) are more interesting than anything along the I-80 corridor in Iowa, at least given a limited viewing while passing through. Save Iowa for a trip where you have more time to get off the interstate so you can really get a feel for what makes it unique.
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Old 05-14-2013, 08:40 AM
 
Location: Des Moines, Iowa
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IMO, visiting and touring the Iowa State Capitol Building would be well worth your time (if you like that type of thing) . Often recognized as one of the most beautiful state capitol buildings in the country.
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Old 05-14-2013, 09:00 AM
 
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IMO, visiting and touring the Iowa State Capitol Building would be well worth your time (if you like that type of thing) . Often recognized as one of the most beautiful state capitol buildings in the country.

What do you expect in Utopia?
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