As a kid, I loved seeing new sites but despised road trips. I would’ve preferred to take an airplane to a single destination to enjoy five straight days in someplace like Orlando, Florida. Meanwhile, my parents preferred to “see the country” through the windshield of their Ford extended cab. I’m sure that I sighed loudly each time they ventured off the paved path. I may have even rolled my eyes when they weren’t looking. For sure, I cried when we were lost in the middle of Montana with our gas tank nearing “E.” (I can still hear my mom saying, “We’re not lost, Honey. We just don’t know where we are.”)
But as an adult, I can truly appreciate the lessons my parents taught during our annual family vacations. Some of the best memories happen when we take the road less traveled!
We’ve munched on fresh cherries while traveling through Napa Valley, California. We’ve sampled fresh crab from a shack in Maine. We’ve eaten around a cowboy campfire in Wyoming. We’ve enjoyed making s’mores and listening to crickets near the start of the Mississippi River in Itasca, Minnesota.
My family and I have also traveled to big cities… I nearly got engaged in The Rainbow Room before attending a Broadway production in New York City. I’ve shopped the Magnificent Mile and had tea at The Drake in Chicago. I’ve enjoyed barbecue & blues on Beale Street in Memphis, Tenn. Yes, I’ve even taken in the sights and sounds of Las Vegas including a $4.99 all-you-can-eat buffet with the most delicious Belgian waffles.
But none of the glitz and glamour found in the big cities feeds my soul like quiet times spent in the Midwest’s rural areas! That’s why one of the things I enjoy most about my job is traveling the countryside, visiting with Latham® dealers and farmer-customers. I’ve gained an appreciation for the differences in the landscape across six states. I enjoy the raw beauty of each area, whether I’m in the Loess Hills of Iowa or along the Mississippi River.
Here are just a few of the fun stops that I’ve made in the 10 months:
- New Ulm, Minnesota (celebrating my German heritage with bratwurst and potato salad)
- Historic Tyden Farm No. 6 in North Central Iowa
- J& J Hideaway in Northeast Iowa (for a tranquil getaway to fish and hunt – yummy morels!)
- The Farmer’s Kitchen in western Iowa (award-winning pies, chili and burgers)
- Hansen’s Farm Fresh Dairy near Waterloo, Iowa (the creamiest, homemade ice cream ever)
- Iowa State Fair (nothing else compares to pork chop on a stick or beef sundaes)
- Franklin County, Iowa (Yes, I was a tourist in my home county last fall!)
That’s why I’m inviting The Good Traveler, Aric S. Queen, to drive through “Latham Country” as he embarks on a Classic American Roadtrip for National Geographic. After all, Midwesterners are as classic as baseball, hot dogs and apple pie!