Our Iowa Trip

According to Google Maps, we traveled 584 miles, and drove for 12 hours and 8 minutes during our week in Iowa while avoiding highways.

Each state we visit, we will choose at least one point of interest from each of the following categories: Famous Person, Famous Food, Road Side Attraction, State Capitol & State Museum, National Park, Historic Location, Can't Miss Attraction, and Made in the USA Factory tour. Some of the categories may have more than one selection, and sometimes a category will be vacant due to the lack of a candidate. Please click on the links below for the corresponding blog related our experiences in Michigan over the past week.

Famous person: John Wayne

Famous food: Corn on the Cob

Roadside attraction: Birthplace of Captain Kirk

State Capitol/Museum: Des Moines, IA

National Park: Effigy Mounds National Monument

Historic Location: Buddy Holly Crash Site

Can't miss attraction: Field of Dreams

Made in the USA Factory tour: Winnebago

Please view our previous blog posts for the past week for further explanations of our experiences in Wisconsin.

A breakdown of our expenses of the past week are as follows:

Gas $163.00


$ 2.13 gal. in Dubuque, IA was the lowest price paid.

$ 2.37 gal. in Harpers Ferry, IA was highest price paid.

Groceries: $ 19.00

Walmart $ 19.00


We did not spend a lot on groceries because ate out way too much this week.

Dining out $ 119.00

Pizza Ranch $23.00 (unbudgeted)

Pizza Ranch $24.00 (unbudgeted)

Chinese Food $23.00 (unbudgeted)

Moe’s $14.00 (unbudgeted buy yummy burrito x2 )

DQ $ 4.00 (unbudgeted but yummy)

Whole Foods $ 31.00 (budgeted and yummy)


We ate out more than usual this week exceeding our dining out budget.

Entertainment: $ 6.00

Felton Place Elevator $ 6.00 (Budgeted 2 round trip tickets)


We did great in this category again!

Lodging: $0.00

Walmart $ 0.00 (slept in parking lot x7 nights)


We continue to do great in this category

Miscellaneous $0.00


We did great in this category

Iowa Expenses Grand Total: $ 307.00

(Our expense list does not include re-occurring expenses such as insurance and cellphone etc. )

Is Iowa Our New Home State?

Here are the rules:

Below are the 5 categories that are important to us in choosing our new home state. Each category is rated from 1 to 10 based on our personal experience in no particular order. 1 is the lowest and 10 is the highest for each category. Each category will receive 2 scores; 1 from Lori and 1 from Nate. The average of these two scores will determine the final score for each category. To determine a state’s final score, we will average the total score of each category. If a state’s final score is less than 8, then that state is eliminated from consideration. At the end of our year long cross country trip, the states that scored 8 or higher will be subject to further consideration. In addition, Lori and I each have 1 wild card option, which allows a state that otherwise would have been eliminated, to be considered as our new home state.


Nate: 4

“Agriculture, manufacturing and retail form the basis of Iowa's economy”

Lori: 6

“Jobs opportunities for those with higher education within the state are limited”

Economy score: 5

Cost of Living:

Nate: 3

“With a sales tax 6% and an 8.98% income tax, it would be cheaper to live in Connecticut”

Lori: 4

“Gas and food prices were comparable with surrounding Midwestern states”

Cost of living score: 3.5

Quality of life:

Nate: 2

“A drought would devastate the corn and hog industries, and the possibility of tornadoes are very scary!”

Lori: 2

“The water was so polluted, and the air quality was so poor, I could barely breathe”

Quality of life score: 2


Nate: 4

“Unless your idea of fun is a game of corn hole, there is not much to do in Iowa”

Lori: 2

“While it is usually a challenge to eat out as a vegetarian, in Iowa it was almost impossible”

Culture Score: 3


Nate: 3

“While the roads were very well maintained, everything was extremely rural and far apart”

Lori: 3

“Despite the large numbers of farms and farmer markets in the state, there was very little organic produce available”

Environment Score: 3

The verdict is in:

The final score for Iowa was 3.3, and it will NOT be our new home state. Neither Lori nor I opted to use our Wild Card Option on this state.

Below are the current standings:

Michigan 8.3

Ohio 7.6

Indiana 7.4

Virginia 6.6

Pennsylvania 6.5

West Virginia 6.0

Kentucky 4.9

Wisconsin 4.5

Missouri 3.5

Iowa 3.3

Illinois 1.9