Roadside attractions unique

Freedom Rock

Patriotism, the future and a big cow…

You can see a lot of unusual things along the highways and byways as you travel across America.

In our case, we sought out three unique roadside attractions along Interstate 80 in Iowa.

The first – Freedom Rock – is located near Greenfield. It is a short drive south of the interstate. It even has its own tourist attraction sign on the interstate.

Freedom Rock near Greenfield, IA

The rock is painted annual by Ray “Bubba” Sorenson II. The Iowa artist paints a new view on the 60-tin boulder annually. He was supposedly inspired by the movie “Saving Private Ryan,” which was loosely based on the Sullivan brothers of Iowa. The brothers died during World War II.

Sorenson is actually attempting to paint a version of Freedom Rock in each Iowa county over the next few years.

Albert the Bull

A few miles away, Albert the Bull welcomes people to Audubon.

Well, it may be more than a few miles. Audubon is actually 16 miles south of the interstate, so it is a short drive. But, well worth it when you pull in in see this giant bull looking out over the horizon.

Albert stands about 30 feet tall and is 33 feet long.

He is located in the park that is an immediate right turn after the small airport.

Star Trek

I was really psyched to learn that we were going to be near Riverside on our recent trip to Dubuque. For Trekkies, Riverside, Iowa, is the future birth site of Captain James Tiberius Kirk.

The town is about 16 miles south of the Iowa City-Cedar Rapids interchange. Again, the short drive is worth the detour.

Riverside is a small town. Other than a small main street and ball park, it looks like a nice quiet town.

Riverside, IA - Future birthplace to James T Kirk Drive about midway through downtown and you’ll see a banner pointing the Kirk birth place marker. It’s actually located behind a former barber shop.

You can also find the local version of the USS Enterprise. Rather than pay the royalties for using the Enterprise name, the town’s leaders named their starship the USS Riverside.

The local visitors center sells “Star Trek” memorabilia among other souvenirs. The town even hosts an annual Trek Fest.

Even though we all drive with an itinerary to get from Point A to Point B in the shortest amount of time; sometimes, it’s good to pull off the road and smell the roses, or at least to look at a giant bull, a patriotic rock or even the future birthplace of a hero.


Enjoy your travels.