As Americans begin their summer vacations, many people will hit the road in the old family fun wagon (hopefully not with the obstacles the Griswold family encountered in “National Lampoon’s Vacation”). As we drive across state or country, the inevitable “I need to use the bathroom” chant will start.
Where to stop? The nearest truck stop is another 30 miles down the road. Oh wait, there’s a rest stop coming up. Well, in Iowa, rest stops across the state are not your grandpa’s rest stops. Today, you may visit a themed rest stop or even one with shops.
The coolest rest stop in America may call the Tiffin area home. Located near mile post 237 on eastbound Interstate 80, Iowa’s great writers are recognized. First off, you’ll notice the larger-than-life quill pen in front of the rest facility.
The rest stop’s grounds feature writing-related items, including posts resembling classic yellow pencils with eraser tops are located around the grounds. Blocks spelling out “IOWA” are located near the quill.
Writing on the wall
Picnic shelters feature famous quotes by writers on cutouts that resemble sheets of white paper, including Meredith Willson, who penned “The Music Man.” A museum in his hometown of Mason City honors the scribe.
Inside the rest stop, the walls and floor celebrate Iowa’s writing history. The University of Iowa, which is located about 10 miles west of Tiffin in Iowa City, is home to the nation’s oldest writer’s workshop. Several great writers have attended courses at the school.
In addition to the writers rest stop, Iowa has almost 20 rest stops that celebrate the state’s history or achievements along Interstates 29, 35 and 80. To learn more about Iowa’s themed rest stops, please check out the brochure available here.