I continually search for alternatives to impatiently waiting out the annual run off on Colorado streams during the mid-May to end of June time frame. Our friends that live in Loveland, CO completed a cycling tour of Door County, WI last fall and returned with rave reviews. Jane and I combined these two strands of thinking and assembled plans for a nine day road trip to America’s dairy land.
We departed from our home in Denver early on Wednesday morning, June 7 with the Santa Fe loaded with bicycles, hiking gear, and fishing equipment. Our goal for the first day was to travel as far east as possible in order to enable some fun activities during Thursday afternoon. We accomplished our plan; however, we suffered through some anxiety in the process.
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The miles across eastern Colorado and Nebraska were uneventful, and we targeted Des Moines, IA as our stopping point for Wednesday night. This location positioned us for a relatively short four hour journey on Thursday morning in order to arrive at our reserved room at the Westby House Inn in Westby, WI. Unfortunately traveling in the Midwest is not that simple. While I drove toward Omaha, NE Jane began to check the availability of rooms in the Des Moines area, and she was perplexed to learn that all hotels were displaying no vacancy banners on their web sites. I remembered that the College World Series was scheduled to take place in Omaha starting on June 17, but that was over a week away. What could be generating this unexpected demand for lodging in Des Moines, IA during the middle of the week in June?
We decided to stop at the first Hampton Inn in West Des Moines to confirm that the internet information was accurate. The man behind the front desk confirmed that his hotel offered no open rooms, and he volunteered that it would be difficult to obtain accommodations in Des Moines due to the Pork Expo. Pork Expo? Jane and I resolved to remain current on agricultural events before embarking on future travel.
While at the Hampton Inn, we called ahead to a sister inn in Ames, IA, but it also offered no availability. What could we do? It was 8PM, and we faced another hour or more to escape the Pork Expo congestion. I quickly did some searches on my phone and found a Baymont Inn in Marshalltown, IA that displayed some vacancies. Marshalltown was an hour northeast of Des Moines. We stayed at a Baymont in Tucson, AZ on a previous road trip, and we recalled that it offered reasonable standards, so we called and booked a night. Jane and I both heaved loud sighs of relief upon receiving the confirmation number.
Later I searched for what Marshalltown is known for, and I discovered that it is the hometown of Cap Anson. Since I am a huge baseball fan, I recognized Anson as a member of the Hall of Fame and a famous player in the late 1800’s. We found a room and learned some history in the process.