Destination Iowa: the highs and Loess of a road trip across the state

Destination Iowa

ONAWA, Iowa — Any visitor from other parts of Iowa coming here will notice the Loess Hills. ( Pronounced Luss Hills). At Lewis and Clark State Park west of Onawa you can find several boats made to be replicas of the ones used by Lewis and Clark. The biggest ones are called “keeled boats,” according to John “Lizard” Wilcox the historian for the DNR collection of boats.

“The main thing the voyage was for was to try to find a water way which was the Northwest Passage,” said Wilcox. “Jefferson who was our president at that time, he wanted to try to find, they found out they didn’t have one.”

In Sioux City is another boat, a former Army Corps of Engineers Inspection boat. It is now up on blocks, and serves at the Sgt. Floyd Welcome Center. The boat is also a museum of river history.

Also at Trinity Heights in northern Sioux City is a life sized wood carving, of the Last Supper by artist Jerry Traufler.

“The last supper carving, took seven years to make weighs about 35 hundred pounds,” said Al Metz, who is a volunteer guide at Trinity Heights.

Sioux City is also home to the Palmer Candy Company. This firm is a fifth generation family operation with an Old Tyme Candy Shoppe open for business. The featured candy for the company is the Twin Bing.

We tried it this weekend, so we can and got a whole bunch for family and friends,” said Angela Catteruccia, in town from Wisconsin.

For some real high points, head to Hawkeye Point, Iowa’s highest spot at 1670 feet. This features the exact spot you can stand on, and has an observation deck on a nearby silo, and a corncrib museum, and some antique farm machines.

A nearby high spot, the Ocheyedan Mound was once considered Iowa’s highest point. Though it is not the top spot, it is an interesting geologic shape you can climb on.

And the last stop is to The Ice Cream Capitol of the World, Le Mars. The Wells Blue Bunny Visitor’s Center also doubles as an ice cream parlor.

“We realized more ice cream is produced here in LeMars, on an annual basis, than anywhere else in the world,” said Shanon Rodenburg, who oversees the Visitors Center and Ice Cream Shop. “So because of that, we became the ice cream capitol of the world, and we are recognized by the Iowa Legislature.”

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