We were getting tired of seeing the same stuff (stories) in the same places (where the candidates, their staffs and supporters or would be supporters would be) about the same thing (the Iowa Presidential primary).

We most enjoyed the backdrop, the natural sets for these outdoor studio media reports. We liked to see and hear of the local color – the imagery. For example, the small town coffee shop on a Main Street with angle parking where “the real people” were.

It seems we were not the only ones yearning for more from the trek across Iowa.

Robert Draper of The New York Times was in the state covering the Presidential campaign. But in an article titled “Iowa’s Heartland Beyond the Campaign Trail”, he wonderfully describes what is virtually bi-passed and ignored by the throngs who descend on the state from elsewhere to cover the Presiential horse race.

“…Iowa is not just a reminder that America is more than the sum total of its skyscrapers and safe spaces. It also reaffirms that our nation, beginning with Iowa, is full of unsung surprises….”

“The Bridges of Madison County”as well as the John Wayne Birthplace and Musuem in Winterset, the Herbert Hoover Presidential Museum in “sleepy” West Branch, downing cheeseburger chowder at Smokey Row Coffee (Oskaloosa) and “pie shakes” at the Hamburg Inn #2 (Iowa City); Vedic City — “Maharishi Vedic City: Capital of the Global Country of World Peace”;  Coon Rapids, a town of 1,300 along the Middle Raccoon River, where he went searching for the farm that Khrushchev came to visit in 1959, and more are part of his entertaining piece.

Draper, at the end of his article, writes of his thoughts at journey’s end:

“…as I drove back to my hotel that night, I could not stop thinking of the many quirks I had encountered throughout my week in Iowa: a self-made cowboy, a remade statesman, a farmer who welcomed the world’s leading Communist into his home, Maharishi followers and bootleggers, pie shakes and cheeseburger chowder. This was the Iowa I had not known, the America I knew in my bones was there all along….”

BTW, make sure to check out the cool accompanying slideshow.