Sun In Your Face

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“Turn your face to the sun…and the shadows will fall behind you.”

Traveling with little, to no, destination in mind is a wonderful way to discover new unexplored areas.  Lessons I have learned while traveling are invaluable.  Until you walk, dine, interact, immerse yourself in a region you cannot fully understand the travel presence in a community.

Iowa is home to miles and miles of year round outdoor activity opportunities.  Even the urbanized areas put a high value on their green spaces.  You would be hard pressed to find a city, town, or community that does not boast at least one city park.  The open areas are shaded by towering shade trees, and the hiking trails lead you on remarkable winding adventures.  It is a nice respite to hike instead of drive for awhile, even if I no destination in mind.

As I wandered aimlessly down a twisting path, through the overgrown brush, the words above crossed my mind.  If your face is to the sun, all your shadows are literally behind you.  It is not just a fanciful way of expressing one’s belief that things will get better, it is a fact.  Let the sun sine down on you occasionally.  Put the worries that darken your life behind you.

Travel well my friends!

Winter Toes, Summer Water

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There is magic in water.  It is life-giving and taking.  It washes us clean both physically and spiritually.  We consume, immerse, bend, play, collect, rearrange, covet, and transport our water.  We have a very special connection with this liquid.  It is part of us, literally.

I love the water, open oceans, sprays from a sprinkler, warm showers, rain from the heavens, but most of all, the cooling waters of a swimming pool.  I have maintained a swimming pool of some sort for the last fifteen summers.  I have loving established a small wading pool for my toddler to cool off in during our muggy, hot August days together.  I have graduated all the way up to a 5,000 gallon above ground back yard pool, where you must keep PH, alkalinity, and chlorine levels at a precise amount.  Dutifully changing filters, skimming leaves, refilling water after a wild splashing party.  I find my focus on the perfection of the crystal H2O distracts me from my general dislike of summer. 

My favorite treat in the winter is a dip in an indoor pool.  Letting the chlorinated vapors saturate my sense of smell, the warmth of the pool consuming my body in a truly warming embrace.  I use the stairs to ritually step on to the first of the concrete slabs to my ultimate relaxation.  The water gently caressing my toes, my ankles, my knees, and waist, until I dive under to feel the weightlessness of my watery delight.

Water is also a focal point for my meditations.  I love the varied colors of water in nature, muddy brown with green tinges to light aquamarine, reflecting to the sky above.  I imagine the rapids of a cold river, quiet tropical coves of salt water, expanses of natural and man-made lakes, water trickling down a fountain, cascades of water falling to pools below splashing noisily.  My mind seems to focus and relax, calm transcends my spirit.  Find your focal point and put your winter toes in summer water.

Sun In Your Face

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“Turn your face to the sun…and the shadows will fall behind you.”

Traveling with little, to no, destination in mind is a wonderful way to discover new unexplored areas.  Lessons I have learned while traveling are invaluable.  Until you walk, dine, interact, immerse yourself in a region you cannot fully understand the travel presence in a community.

Iowa is home to miles and miles of year round outdoor activity opportunities.  Even the urbanized areas put a high value on their green spaces.  You would be hard pressed to find a city, town, or community that does not boast at least one city park.  The open areas are shaded by towering shade trees, and the hiking trails lead you on remarkable winding adventures.  It is a nice respite to hike instead of drive for awhile, even if I no destination in mind.   

As I wandered aimlessly down a twisting path, through the overgrown brush, the words above crossed my mind.  If your face is to the sun, all your shadows are literally behind you.  It is not just a fanciful way of expressing one’s belief that things will get better, it is a fact.  Let the sun sine down on you occasionally.  Put the worries that darken your life behind you.  

Travel well my friends! 

White Pole Road

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The original straighter, smoother road from Des Moines to Council Bluffs ran along the Rock Island and Pacific Railroad line.  At times in the very early 1900’s Iowa was impassable.  Winter snow and muddy run off from the overdeveloped hills made travel through this central state nearly impossible.  Towns along this passage knew automobile travel was the wave of the future.  Reliable roads to connect townships was just good business.  The promotion of the road became known in auto club circles, traveling the “Great White Way” was a travelers dream!

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Eventually the road was extended east from Des Moines to Davenport.  The property of the actual road was not engineered or funded by state or federal governments but privately.  Farmers worked together to construct the highway at the encouragement of local businesses.  It was a win-win situation.  Sections were maintained by residents by “dragging” the dirt track smooth.  The state and then the federal departments of roads were tasked with upgrading and maintaining the road.  With the construction of Interstate 80 the glory days of Hwy 6 waned almost to extinction.

Now with the rebirth of ‘roadtripping’ traveling the White Pole Road is a destination all to itself!  History has steeped this section of hard blacktop with intrigue, and innovation.  The infamous couple, Bonnie and Clyde rode through the area culminating one of their shoot outs in Dexter Iowa.  The first train robbery of the West happened just south of this byway.  Adiar has a historic rounded viaduct, Stuart is home to Good Eggs, and Drew’s Chocolates is a must sample treat.  If shopping for antiques is more your speed, you won’t want to miss Casey’s brick lined main street shops.

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If you want to leave the rush of the interstate behind, even for a few hours, I recommend taking a step back in time and traveling this historic road.  Getting off the beaten path refreshes your soul.  Slowing down to discover little treasures can energize you.  Take the time to enjoy this beautiful area.

Travel well my friends!

Iowa The Beautiful

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Iowa has more to offer than most people know about.  The epicenter of Iowa lies as close to the geographically middle of the state, as you can get.  Des Moines is the hub of interstates, situated on the convergence of two major rivers in the area.  Shopping, industry, arts, festivals, education…the list of attractions goes on and on.  I invite you to step outside this metropolitan hub.  The small communities within 60 miles of Des Moines city limits are plentiful and diverse.

wpid-20140729_181656.jpgMy travels led me to English inspired gardens, hidden towers overlooking valleys, famous birthplaces, violent historical sites, and so much more.  Pride abounds in these small communities.  Heritage of the original settlers is evident in the architecture, attractions, and festivals.  Walking the paths of famous Americans, you get a sense of connection.  Outdoor activities abound 365 days a year.  Wildflowers are blooming on the snowmobile paths in July and ice skating rinks are fishing holes today.  In the spring, Holland is the focal point of celebration.  Descendants from Germany reminisce during October with plenty to do and see. 

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Choose your favorite season and wind your way through the Loess Hills.  Emerging green leaves cast a hue upon the winter grey trees in the spring.  Summer is alive with various shades of green splashed with thousands of tiny wildflowers.  The most spectacular season in this beautiful area must be the explosion of the autumnal foliage.  If travel plans are in your future, my recommendation is plotting a course through the Loess Hills in the fall.  The trees are pristine, the attractions are in full swing and the weather has lost the muggy summer heat. 

Soul Experiences is dedicated to hunting the most treasured gems of travel.  Inspiring history, calming nature, bustling cities, seasonal favorites, and more than you may have imagined, we are designing travel just for you. Soul Experiences loves to hear from you!  Email or call us and share with us your travel adventures.  We will compile your best recommendations in our travel journal and pass travel savings on to you when you travel with us! 

Travel well my friends! 

Layers

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“Ogres are like onions…onions have layers, ogres have layers…we both have layers!” -Shrek

The hills rose up to touch the heavy clouds that rested on the earth.  As I looked over the panorama, from the crest of another hill, I thought of layers.  My mind slowly playing through layer references.  Ogres.  That is all my brain focused on.  Maybe it was the company of my fourteen year olds, that inspired my thoughts.  Memories of watching the big, green ogre, with my small boys who grew up in the Shrek era.

The scene was a welcome sight for me during these hot summer months.  Leaving Council Bluffs, Iowa, we drove in beautiful layers of fog that left me feeling ensconced with the world.  The air looked more like a scene from the Halloween season than a mid-summer haze.  The hills spectacularly separated by white and grey collections of vapor.  I-80 east of Des Moines is a beautiful drive.  I love the feeling of rolling up and down the hills.  The speed of driving on an interstate is pure joy to me, especially when a destination is waiting for me to explore. 

Soul Experiences will be traveling over these same hills in October on our way to Chicago for Chicagoween!  With stops in Des Moines and Davenport Iowa, exploring historic landmarks while we immerse ourselves in this autumn’s splendor.  We have an exceptional journey planned full of fun, food, history and of course spooktacular haunts!  It is our Fall Extravaganza with plenty for everyone one to enjoy!  Come check out all our professionally designed tours on http://www.soul-experiences.com for a new perspective on group travels.  If you have not traveled with us before now is a perfect time to journey with us to destinations that are “off the beaten path”!  If you have traveled with us, it is a great season to experience all the new tours we have designed in celebration of beautiful beginnings!

Shrek had it right, he has many layers.  An insight all of us can embrace, complex humans that we are.  We all have “layers” helping shape who we are.  We are not just our outward appearances.  We are amazingly layered souls.  Be sure to feed your soul!

Travel well my friends.

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No I-80

When people speak of traveling through Nebraska and Iowa the most common thought is ‘boring’. I can see how that can be the conclusion as your car rockets across the flat plains of Nebraska at 75 miles per hour along I-80. Traveling East towards Iowa on I-80 your first sign of a metropolitan area is more of a dehydration desert mirage. You believe you are approaching a major urban area and then the interstate curves and skirts the edge of Lincoln and in 7 quick exits you are back to rural Nebraska. At least the rolling hills are a change from the endless open prairie. Rounding another curve you are blasted into sprawling communities consumed by the Omaha Metro area. Two design elements were necessary when this area was settled, water mobility and future rail access, Omaha has both. This river town planted itself righteously on the banks of the Missouri River and grew West. Requiring all travel along the interstate to carve straight through the city.
As you cross the Missouri River into Iowa the city continues only now it is Council Bluffs. The community is aptly named for it is positioned on and in the bluffs of a millennia ago ice age. Ice bergs the size of Texas carved through this area creating for us spectacular bluffs along the rambling river that seem so out of place on the prairie. As you climb into the western hills of Iowa the terrain seems to roll instead of lay flat, but after the first twenty rises and falls you realize you might be trapped in a Groundhog Day type of repeating cycle. When you finally reach civilization again it passes by quickly and the other side of Des Moines feels a lot like the first three Easterly hours of I-80.
My recommendation, to really enjoy and get to know these beautifully historic states is to leave the interstate system. Travel along the hills of Nebraska. Journey into the seldom explored gems of Iowa. Most of the true joy of any area is not found along the road most traveled. Soul Experiences Tour and Travel

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Waves

The waves rolled ever on and on.  I would crest one just to tumble down to the next.  Up and down.  Wave after wave.  At the pinnacle of each wave, for a moment, you could see forever.  The vista was more waves, stunning but immense.  Beautiful, yet overwhelming in my own insignificance.  I would be seasick if not for the reality of being on dry land.

My mind’s eye shifts back to the here and now, not my imagination.  The waves turn golden from their crystal blue.  My boat, reengineers itself back to my vehicle.  The smell of sea water vanishes replaced by a clean dusty fragrance.  The waves become soil and yet, roll ever on and on. 

As I drive this highway in the northeast corner of Nebraska, I can see for miles.  The hills rise up inviting you to travel on to see what is over the next rise.  It is like being a child again on a treasure hunt.  At the top of these gentle hills, I am sure I can see South Dakota and Iowa at the same time.  The enormity of this sparsely inhabited land reminds me that I still have so much to explore. 

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