I’m trying something new – writing these contemporaneously! Sometimes by the time I get around to writing these entries I’ve almost forgotten what I’ve done it’s such a whirlwind. I love each and every one of my trips but since I’ve been pushing myself to see everything before I move, it’s gotten a bit compressed.

This month has been another great one, for the most part. The weather has been getting me down a little, with this weird pressure cooker effect that makes my brain feel liquified. But otherwise! Life is great and each weekend trip brings me back stronger and happier.

Iowa City and the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library

Roadtrip through Iowa stop at the Old Capital building in Iowa iCity

An easy weekend with a quick daytrip. I needed to recover after last month’s fantastic trip to Chicago. I decided to head to the Herbert Hoover Library, seeing as I’ve never been to a presidential library before and I know next to nothing about the guy.

I actually found it tremendously informative in a way that wasn’t boring. I came away liking Hoover pretty well as a person, but not as a president (seems like most people agree with me!). Given that his original Iowa home is just a five minute walk away, along with an in-house blacksmith who is happy to answer your questions, this was great!

I stopped into Iowa City on my way back to finally visit the Old Capital museum – which for being free is really quite nice! Fantastic activity if you need some air conditioning.

Ledges, Big Creek, and Walnut Woods State Parks near Des Moines

Ledges State Park Iowa with river

My second car camping trip continues to improve upon my original idea. I love it! I invested in some exciting goods such as a camping stove and better lighting. There’s still changes to be made but I expect to be doing this constantly for the next two years so it’s worth perfecting.

Ledges State Park was the highlight of this trip, but it was nice to visit Walnut Woods (they have a lovely Purple Martin preserve!) and Big Creek (more like a big river…) as well. Ledges was gorgeous.

Dubuque and Galena

Amazing bluffs, or cliffs, from below on a dirt path surrounded by pine trees

I’ll be honest, I originally wasn’t super excited about going to Dubuque when I first added it to my list. So far, I’ve found the nature to be the most rewarding places to visit in Iowa. And….I was basically right lol!

The nature around Dubuque is actually stunning. Both Bellevue State Park and the Mines of Spain State Park are simply incredible, with some of the most incredible views I’ve seen in Iowa.

Dubuque itself seemed…conservative? And kind of unfriendly? I don’t know, I’m used to people from Iowa being overly nice and helpful and this all felt off.

All compared to Galena, just across the river, which seemed overwhelmingly cheerful and friendly. With massive pride flags across their river and a determination to put funds towards bettering their town and preserving their history.

Pikes Peak & Wayalusing State Parks

View of the Mississippi River from above

One park in Iowa, one park in Wisconsin, a river forded, and a night beneath the stars. This came at absolutely the best possible time to assist with my plummeting mental health following this hell month of horrific situations in the US and abroad.

I am…exhausted. Not physically, but emotionally. My determination to keep my positivity boom from April is seemingly unsustainable with the way my country is. At this point I really must question what supposed “freedom” I have – freedom from dying of a preventable illness? Nope. Freedom from being gunned down while shopping? Nope. Freedom to have a child without losing significant income or health? Nope. Freedom to choose whether to have a child or not? Nope. Freedom to not be oppressed by a religion that isn’t mine? Nope. Freedom to marry who I want or be with the person I want? Soon to be Nope.

And I’m lucky. I am privileged compared to so many others in this country.

Anyways. That’s what I’m dealing with while trying to work my job so that I can travel on the weekends and enjoy just about the only thing that brings me joy in life.

Iowa State Parks are still terribly marked, resulting in an unnecessary 2 hour hike. The view of the Mississippi River was absolutely gorgeous from both Iowa and Wisconsin (a new state for me!). And I loved camping without electricity thanks to my new rechargeable fan to keep me cool.

Where I’m Headed Next

I have a lot of plans for July. It’s essentially my last month of real travel around and from Iowa. Come August, I’ll be focusing on moving to Minneapolis – but more on that in next month’s update!

July is packed. Here are the current plans, in no particular order.


One of the “bigger” cities in the US that I have yet to visit, I’ll be honest I’m not totally sure what to do here. But I saved up my hotel points so I’ll be staying in a very fancy hotel while I figure things out!

Wildcat Den State Park

I had to pick and choose which of the remaining state parks in Iowa will make the cut in July. And Wildcat Den easily won out because caves. I’ll be camping here, without electricity again! (There’s going to be a lot of camping this month!)

A Return to Dubuque

I know, I said I didn’t like Dubuque that much just a few paragraphs above. But, like I said, I did love the nature and I especially loved the Crystal Lake Caves. They have an opportunity for me to really level up my caving skills with their Explorers cave tour.

I’ll need some equipment like knee pads and such, and I’m so excited to learn more about caving!

Elk Farm Visit

Turns out there is an Elk farm in Iowa, and they have endangered Trumpeter swans on their land! I simply love the sounds elk make so I’m excited to see them a little more in-person than when I was in Yellowstone

McIntosh State Park

I’m getting to stay in a yurt! My fascination with Mongolia has been long-standing and so I’m excited to be at least sampling a bit of their culture. I’ll be adding on to this trip with celebrating my birthday at a winery and visiting the famed Shrine of the Grotto of Redemption.

Nebraska, Missouri, and Kansas

Over a long weekend I plan to take a roadtrip down the west cost of Iowa, dipping into Nebraska, Missouri, and Kansas. I’ll be stopping in Omaha, and camping out in the Loess Hills. I’ll be visiting Indian Caves State Park in Nebraska, and hanging out in Kansas City for a night of Italian and jazz.

A Note on the Philippines

While I personally will not be going to the Philippines my best friend is! And I’ve been helping her with itinerary planning and have permission to use her photos – so expect to see posts on that soon!

Enjoyed reading about my experiences and plans? Check out my other posts!

View from a hotel of Songdo beach
All the Amazing FREE Things to Do in Busan
Ireland Cliffs of Moher in Galway this weekend
The BEST Ireland Itinerary for Two Weeks of Incredible Times

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