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Country Roads: World traveler, Iowa style

Arvid Huisman huismaniowa@msn.com
Arvid Huisman huismaniowa@msn.com

Next Christmas when your rich relatives brag about their trips abroad, join in the discussion. Crow about your trips to exotic places and no one will have to know you never left Iowa.

Introducing the Tight Wad Iowan World Travel Service. Yes, folks, we will take you on a world tour on a very small budget. For your comfort we will travel in a luxurious 1973 school bus operated by our veteran driver, Happy Harry Lugnut. Our “European Excursion” will excite the most adventurous soul. Our first stop is Madrid in Boone County. The natives prefer that you use the local pronunciation – MAD-rid. You won’t find any bullfights here but a couple of cows have been known to tease the bull on their farm north of town.

From magnificent Madrid we travel to Holland in Grundy County. Though there are no canals or windmills in this Holland, we will park the bus along a drainage ditch west of town and enjoy a cup of coffee while Happy Harry sings “Tulips from Amsterdam.”

Next we zip to Paris, a wide spot in the road in northern Linn County. The bad news is there is no Eifel Tower here. The good news is you won’t have to learn how to ask, “Où sont les toilettes?” In this Paris you can ask for a restroom in English; if, in fact, there is a public toilet in Iowa’s Paris.

We then travel to Norway in southeastern Benton County. Our tour guides will be Ole and Lars, Norwegian bachelor farmers who moved here from Lake Wobegone, Minnesota, a few years ago. A highlight of our visit to Norway will be a performance by Ole and Lars’ high diving mule, “Yumpin’ Yimminy.”

After a roadside lutefisk luncheon we will motor to Moscow in northern Muscatine County. You won’t see Red Square in this Moscow but there is a nice red barn south of town.

The last stop on our European Excursion is Hamburg in Fremont County where we’ll enjoy a supper of what else? Tacos!

If you prefer domestic travel we’re proud to offer our “Great American Cities Tour.” Our tour begins in Little Rock in northwest Iowa’s Lyon County. This Little Rock is not the former home of Bill Clinton and a past chairman of the Lyon County Republicans will tell us why he doesn’t care. We’ll also treat you to a side trip to the neighboring town of George where we’ll visit a farm, by George.

In keeping with great Southern cities we’ll stop next in Birmingham across the state in Van Buren County. Birmingham is noted for being located on Iowa Highway 1.

Our next stop is in Cincinnati, just north of the Missouri state line in Appanoose County. Cincinnati is noted for not being located on Iowa Highway 1.

Keeping Ohio cities in mind, we’ll travel to Tama County’s Toledo near the Meskwaki Casino. For those who don’t wish to gamble we have arranged a tour of Toledo’s houses of worship. We call this excursion “Holy Toledo.”

The Twin Cities of Lee County is our next stop. Lovely St. Paul is just a stone’s throw (well maybe a bunch of throws) east of its sister city, Pilot Grove.

Next we’ll visit Brooklyn, a lovely town just off I-80 in Poweshiek County. In this Brooklyn you can leave your car unlocked overnight and expect to see it again in the morning.

Our Great American Cities tour ends in Washington in Washington County. Unlike its namesake, the only dope you’ll find on the streets of the city is Happy Harry’s brother, Larry. Finally, Tight Wad Iowan World Travel Service offers the ultimate tour – “Part Way Around the World in Two Days.” We start with a visit to the Orient – the Adair County Orient.

Our itinerary also includes Sidney, Melbourne, Persia, Tripoli, Macedonia, Jamaica, Plymouth and Toronto. All in Iowa.

Remember, with Tight Wad Iowan World Travel Service you won’t need airline tickets, visas, passports or vaccinations (unless you plan to share a coffee cup with Happy Harry.)

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