As much as I have traveled the State over the past 40+ years, you would think that there wouldn't be anything new - no surprises. Yet, that is what makes Iowa special. There are surprises in almost every community. I continue to be surprised and learn new things about Iowa almost daily.

Our problem, as a society, tends to be one that we live and focus on our neighborhood and our community with only passing reference to other places. Occasionally we make a trip or take a vacation, but even then we focus our attention on the destination and not necessarily the places along the journey. Even on "road trips" we tend not to vary off the main route. We don't take the time to explore the back roads or streets. We get into a habit and travel the same routes without variation.

We need to put the "spirit of adventure" into our excursions. We don't need to do it every trip we make, however, on occasion take the time to "explore" and see what new surprises you can find in Iowa. There are times when you may want to do something unique spontaneously. On the spur of the moment take the side road into a small town and see what you can find. Stop in the convenience store, coffee shop or bakery and visit with the local residents - see what you can find out that is special about their home town.

Iowa has many places that are special as I learned the other day from a visit to Wellman. The school has Chinese as a language requirement. Now, how many of you would have guessed that?

For the past 15 years I have been involved in setting up vintage vehicle tours called "MotorIoway Tours" that take dozens of Iowan's and others to out of the way places and communities that they may not otherwise visit. Our theme for these tours is taken from the "Music Man" - "You gotta know the territory."

Take the time to put excitement, anticipation and learning into your travels - get to know Iowa and its surprises. See what you and your family can find.

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