Five Days out and about in Iowa

Sharing is caring!

Hello again friends! Another week has passed and my what a week it has been. I’m sure you are well aware a lot is going on in the country at the moment and in the coming days. We are trying to use this time to listen and learn more. To better ourselves and check our privilege. While I don’t really jump at the opportunity to have difficult conversations this is important. I hope you take the time to reflect on your beliefs and why you believe them. Educate yourself, especially if you don’t truly know much about a topic or affected population. If this makes you uncomfortable reflect on that and consider any biases you may hold. I know I certainly have.

Most importantly of all consider; What can I do to be a part of the solution? How can I be the hands and feet of Jesus and show the love of Christ? Consider the verses, “If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, Love your neighbor as yourself,Lev. 19:18 you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.” James 2:8-9. “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” Proverbs 31:8-9. Whether you feel called to protest, post, donate, or educate yourself. Do. the. work. There are many ways to serve and do what is right. “A revolution has many lanes”.

This week we headed to Iowa visiting Des Moines, Woodward, and Pella.

Surrounded by soy beans

During our stay in Iowa we were able to park Gurdy at a lovely farm not too far outside of Des Moines. This farm stay was brought to us by our wonderful, Boondockers Welcome subscription of course! I really can’t recommend Boondockers Welcome enough. It’s been awhile since I mentioned it so to quickly recap, Boondockers Welcome is a yearly subscription (for $50, what you’d easily pay for about 2 nights of campgrounds) that allows you to stay with RV’ers all over the country.

You can usually stay anywhere from one to five nights, some hosts have full hook-ups while others have dry camping spots. You’ll know what you’re getting before you arrive. It’s a big money saver as a full-timer and you get to meet cool people on the road! Our host in Woodward, IA offered a 30 amp hookup and free water to fill our tanks. They gave us a whole pamphlet of things to see in the area that they’d created themselves and gave us lots of helpful tips for seeing the area!

Soybean fields for days! Our view from Gurdy

Pappajohn Sculpture Park

Our first day of adventuring brought us to the lovely city of Des Moines. We visited the Pappajohn sculpture park to take in the views and learn a little about the artwork here. The park offers a free audio tours with QR codes to scan on your phone. The weather was lovely and the walk perfect for working up an appetite.

Pappajohn sculpture park
Pappajohn sculpture park
Pappajohn sculpture park
Pappajohn sculpture park
Luke’s personal favorite!
Pappajohn sculpture park
My personal favorite! The Panoramic awareness pavilion

Fong’s Pizza

After exploring the park we were ready for some grub. Fong’s pizza did not disappoint. Open for carry-out only we picked up our pizza and walked to a nearby park to chow down. What’s so special about Fong’s pizza you may ask? Well. Let me tell you, its crab rangoon pizza that’s what! Fong’s is a fusion of Asian cuisine and pizza gifting us with the wonderful crab rangoon pizza. Luke was a very happy husband as Chinese food is one of his favorites.

Luke gazing up the beauty of the crab rangoon pizza.

Iowa State Capitol

We made a quick stop at the Iowa State Capitol. We were lucky enough to catch professional ballet dancers filming their performance with a drone. It was a busy place as protesters prepared for the evening gathering.

View from the capitol is pretty sweet.
I just thought these flowers were too pretty to not photograph.
Des Moines Mural
You know I can’t pass up a good mural either.

James H. Andrew Railroad Museum

The railroad museum is a find we’ll have to credit to our kind Boondockers Welcome hosts. I’d not seen it mentioned as I searched for fun things online but they suggested it in their guide to Iowa. The velocipede hand car (pictured below) should definitely make a comeback, I mean how fun does that look? The museum had a well-curated collection of item from the first railroad in Iowa (circa 1855!) to present. Though the railroad has obviously seen a ton of changes over the course of time Boone & Scenic Valley railroad still run a passenger train every day of the week (for tourism purposes of course). You can just take a ride or do a full blown fancy dinner/lunch train ride. Sounds like a good date night activity to me.

James H. Andrew Railroad Museum
James H. Andrew Railroad Museum
James H. Andrew Railroad Museum
A variety of conductor and brakeman hats from over the years.
James H. Andrew Railroad Museum
Colorful streetcar ads from the 1900’s
James H. Andrew Railroad Museum

High Trestle Trail Bridge

We saved the High Trestle Trail Bridge for an evening walk so we could fully enjoy the lights. Know what’s crazy? The sun doesn’t set until almost 9:00 in Iowa! Which is nice because the day seems to last forever, but also it made waiting for the lights to turn on seem that much longer. But def worth the wait! Also if you go see this, don’t be disappointed if you don’t see the lights as you begin your walk on the bridge, you have to get a ways down before you’ll see them.

Entrance to the Bridge
Sunset from the Bridge

El Bait Shop

Our decision to go to El Bait Shop was not easily made, if you haven’t noticed we really enjoy good food and eating. We had several recommendations for Zombie Burger, which I’m going to recommend even though we didn’t get to try it out. We’d planned to go but they were only offering carry out and we really wanted to get out of the hot sun this day. So, that brought us to El Bait Shop! An equally popular eatery in Des Moines. It’s actually connected to the High Life Lounge which serves up tasty grub so you get to try two foodie places. El Bait Shop offers 262 beers on tap, which is pretty impressive to just look at while The High Life Lounge offers fun eats like Velvet Elvis Dip, Spam egg and cheese sandwiches, and pizza puffs!

We decided to go for the philly sandwich with chili cheese fries
Luke got a unique IPA while I tried their pear cider
Very 70’s.

Historic Valley Junction (Des Moines,IA)

After lunch we hopped over to the Historic Valley Junction, host to a variety of antique shops, unique clothing stores, and prints shops.

Our best find was, “Atomic Garage” which has AMAZING costume rentals. Flapper girl dresses, 1980’s prom dresses, gogo boots, authentic hippie wear. Seriously if we lived in Des Moines we could have some bomb costume parties.

Just look at the shoe rentals!
In the back of Atomic Garage I found and old friend. A Mcdonald’s tree! These sat on the playground at my elementary school. Anybody else remember em’?

Pella, Iowa

Our last excursion brought us to Pella, IA. Recommended by one of my mom’s best friends (Thanks Gloria!). It’s a super dutch, super adorable small town with several windmills and The Klokkenspel (pictured below)! The Klokkenspel performs several times each day with a host of characters popping from behind the doors and making appearances. It is a bit dated but I still really enjoyed the show and the kids that came to watch made it all the more precious. Pro-tip, the show happens on both sides of the clock, begin on the street side then walk back to the interior to see the second half.

Pella, IA
The Town Square has some really beautiful architechture

Pella is well known for it’s Tulip festival, which unfortunately didn’t happen this year but hey, there’s always next year!

Vermeer Mill

Stop for a quick snapshot of the Vermeer Mill then right behind it you’ll find the Pella Historical Village. There’s lots to explore and they offer a discount on admission since a couple building are currently being renovated (Kelsey does a budget friendly jig) . Luke got to take advantage of the student discount since he’s officially admitted to Southern Arkansas University now! Woo hoo!

We learned all about wooden clogs but I’ll spare you too much info on that (haha). I will tell you they’re still made in several factories around the world, considered safety shoes in some professions, and were more comfortable that you might imagine. Wooden clogs were made big enough to fill with straw or fur for warmth and the bottom could be filled with sand to make the shoe fit the shape of your foot. The more you know!

How precious is the Dutch high chair? It even has a little cabinet below for storage.
A cookie press from a Dutch bakery!

Home Cooking

I don’t give Luke nearly enough credit for all the help he is with cooking. I rarely make a meal alone and we eat at home majority of the time. Gaze upon this beautiful pork Luke grilled for us.

Final Thoughts

Luke’s cousin and one of my best friends, Myranda has become my accountability partner in this learning process. I have to say it helps a ton to have someone checking in on the work your doing in yourself and to process things with, so get yourself a partner! But don’t take mine ;).

Last week’s post here

You may also like...


  1. Yvonne Bond says:

    Wow, what a wonderful week! All those places look so neat! Travel safely! New adventures are around every bend in the road! Hugs!

    1. lillardkelsey says:

      It was a fun week indeed! ☺️hugs to you!

  2. Mark Gilley says:

    Enjoyed all of the pics and it looks like a lot of adventure. Good times.

    1. lillardkelsey says:

      Thanks Mark! Makin memories for sure!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *