Considering heading west to the one and only Farm Progress Show? I highly recommend it for business, for education and just plain family fun!
These are the directions we use to find our way to look at cattle, Iowa State University and it just so happens to lead you directly to Boone, Iowa, the site of the 2014 Farm Progress Show.
How we find our way to the middle of Iowa:
Jump on Interstate 74 West and put the hammer down. Once you see the first billboard for The Beef House you get a craving for a good steak. Now you know you are close to the Illinois-Indiana state line. The fields start to open up, and you better have your radio tuned to 99.1 FM WIXY classic country. This combination lets you know you are on the right track.
Once you hit the Illinois state line you take a deep sigh. At this point, things start out positive with comments like, "isn't it pretty?" or "can you imagine working in fields this big?" and "look how tall and green the corn is!"
This remark - and being about half way across the state of Illinois - will turn to the realization, "the grass (or corn in this case) is always greener on the other side of the fence (or state line in this case)."
If you hear the ever-popular remark, "If my ancestors' wagon wheels would have just lasted a week longer we might be farming here instead of in Indiana," that signifies that you are almost three-quarters of the way across Illinois.
You know you are really on the right track when every mile or so someone in the truck points out a new piece of John Deere equipment being hauled the opposite direction. As long you are catching glimpses of large John Deere dealerships, Pioneer and Dekalb seed plants, you're good to go!
We take note of the Illinois-Iowa border but our true landmark is the world's largest truck stop. It doesn't matter who you are – it piques your interest. Admit it!
Keep your truck pointed west and when you see the stack of grain carts and the folding planter you will know you have reached the next landmark – Kinze Manufacturing. Watching the planter fold fascinates kids and farmers of all ages!
Just east of Des Moines be sure to look off to your right for the combine graveyard, now on my bucket list to visit! When you hit Des Moines, you are only miles from the farmers "Disney World." Acres of farm equipment is just within reach.
And if you're looking for restaurant recommendations while at the show, might I suggest Hickory Park in Ames, a landmark, a tradition and just downright awesome food!