The Windmills of Iowa

Windmills Outside Walnut, Iowa

I have been travelling through Iowa for over a decade, now — long enough to see the landscape change. Back in 1998, there was only one lonely windmill to be seen on the drive from Des Moines to Omaha, and I believe it powered some agrifuel factory. Today, there are literally hundreds, stretching off into the distance.

And, why not? The geographic and climactic conditions of Iowa make this a no-brailer. The land’s fairly flat, and the wind is constantly blowing. Better yet, the windmills don’t have to go far to hook into transmission lines taking power from the Dakota dams on the Missouri River down into Chicago and St. Louis.

They are eerie creatures, these windmills. They look so tall in their surroundings, and the blades move deceptively slowly. They even move in the face of an oncoming thunderstorm.

I took these photographs just outside Walnut, Iowa, where we paid yet another visit to the Villager restaurant. Their beef brisket remains one of the best sandwiches around.

We’re in Des Moines. We’re staying for the day and starting back tomorrow. We had thought about starting back today, but that would make for several days in a row that we’ve been on the road, and the kids would not like that. And unhappy kids in a car invariably means unhappy parents in a car.

So, Tuesday, we’ll head east towards Chicago, and we may stop in the western suburbs there. Wednesday, we’ll pay a visit to the Shedd Aquarium to give the kids some fun times, before heading east again and stopping somewhere between Kalamazoo and Lansing. Then, Thursday, we head for home.

The writing is going well. I’ve handed in the manuscript for Space Mysteries Revealed and am now working on Earth Mysteries Revealed. Due date: Friday. Wish me luck.

Windmills Outside Walnut, Iowa 2

Another view of windmills in the sunset.

Windmills Outside Walnut, Iowa 3

Looking west at a windmill before a storm cloud.

Windmills Outside Walnut, Iowa 4

Windmills in the distance, looking west.

Windmills Outside Walnut, Iowa 5

The storm clouds themselves. We followed some great lightning displays all the way into Des Moines.

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