For starters, a heavily trafficked Union Pacific railroad line parallels U.S. 30 for much of the way through the state and westward into Nebraska. As I drove, freight trains became a regular presence along the Lincoln Highway.
Iowa is not flat, at least not here. Its handsome farmland spills out over a gently rolling terrain. Any road heading due west cuts across the local topography, which follows the contours of the creeks and rivers that generally run from the northwest to southeast toward the Mississippi.
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There are no mountains here for sure, but Iowa nonetheless is defined by it dramatic low-slung landscape. In parts, the farmland is like a patchwork quilt of different shades of greens and yellows.
It’s far from boring, especially in the moments when you’re cruising along at the optimal top speed — the limit is 65 mph in many sections through eastern Iowa — and the road flies over a Union Pacific train and you’re suddenly at pace or slightly faster than the parallel freight train hauling coal and grain across the state.
Iowa is a place for cloudgazing, too. Continue reading