Here is some trivia for you... "Des Moines" in French means "The Monks", and apparently there is no reliable historical account of why this city was named for monks... But here we are, staying in another nicely restored old hotel, this time in downtown Des Moines -- that's the lobby of this hotel (the Renaissance Savery Hotel) in the photo...
and so far we like Des Moines, but our criteria for liking a place usually come down to whether a place has friendly people and some things to see, a diner that serves a good greasy-spoon breakfast... extra points if there is a gay bar or two... So all the cities that we stayed in this trip, La Crosse, Dubuque, Des Moines, met all those standards.
Today we head north, through backwoods north central Iowa -- we are avoiding all interstate highways on this road trip -- back into Minnesota. Did I say backwoods?.. Not many woods anywhere in this state... we'll drive through backfields Iowa.