Iowa made my list because I'd never been, and it seemed like a good time. The great thing about keeping a list of places you want to go is you end up going places you might have never gone, had you not decided you needed to go places you'd never go if you didn't say you needed to go. Diagram that sentence and get back to me in the morning.
The only thing I know about Iowa is they grow corn, have a team that has something to do with the word Huskers, and there are Bridges there. (I know there is lots more, that's just all I know for now). I knew I'd be visiting the bridges until I further my eduction. I've never even seen the movie....or read the book about Madison County's bridges, so as we drove towards my destination location I asked the car occupants for the details of the book, just in case I wanted to reenact some scenes or something....but then I found out it was about a traveling photographer who met a married lady and did things I didn't want to add to any list, and I decided I'd just pretend like the reason I knew about the bridges was b/c it has a lovely collection of covered bridges. I've never seen a series of covered bridges, but I've always wanted to, and so now I have.
The great thing about the Bridges of Madison County is they are on graveled roads, BUT they are well marked. The city provided a map in their visitor center in Winterset. Before I talk about the bridges (more), let me also add a little side note that John Wayne's birth place is in Winterset, here's his house.
There is a museum inside the home, but we were on a different mission this day, and tours of John Wayne's house are things I'm saving for married life someday. I'm also saving "Watch Star Wars for the first time." for married life. Nope I've never seen it. Come to think of it, I don't think I've seen a John Wayne movie either. I'm not even sure I'm human, or at the very least-American. I'm not opposed to the idea of seeing either set of movies, I just never have, and why start now? I was probably too busy practicing my Carebear Stare in my youth, and then I was too busy being busy in my adulthood doing things like refolding sweaters in the men's section at Macy's b/c I like to be helpful when I go shopping. I also like to straighten the candy bars at the grocery store b/c I like to be obnoxious.
OK...on to the bridges. We only saw 3 of a slew of marked bridges b/c they were convenient to our route. At this point my car had gone over 3,000 miles, my feet have walked a few marathons, and who knows how many stairs I've climbed, lake waves I've sliced through, or calories I've eaten. As we headed to the bridges, signs directed your car to each bridge. One more thing before I move on with the bridges....there are exactly 4,356 butterflies per square foot in Madison County. I did a quick scientific study, so I know this to be a fact. I was frightened they were going to carry me away, they were in mass abundance fluttering around as you walked, and drove....and I was glad I ate that extra half pound of fudge in case they got any ideas...I had a little more weight to anchor me down. So, just a little bonus if you like butterflies and also happen to want to see these bridges. Trust me, I do no exaggerate....much.
The bridges all date back to the 1800's. They are covered to protect the wood below from rotting, and they helped someone traveling by something cross rivers. I'm thinking about giving up teaching and becoming a tour guide b/c I've got enough information to keep people entertained for at least 4 seconds.....4 minutes if you include a bathroom break on the tour. I know there is more to it, but it was enough that they were beautiful. You should go to all 50 states, and when you hit Iowa, you should go to the Bridges of Madison County....otherwise known as-Where Butterflies Vacation in the Summer Months.
Inside Hogback Bridge...notice the graffiti....grrrr.
Imes Bridge (the oldest in the county).
The bridges are still held together with their original wooden pegs....with a little help from iron peg supports.
It really was peaceful drive through the graveled roads to see these bridges, and I'm so glad I did it this time around. Winterset also seemed like a cute little town that needs more attention from me...
I'm sure I'll come back down these roads again someday on some new weird adventure....like....visit all the cities in the country that have 2 E's and 1 I in their name. ;o) o