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Seeing the sights on a Sunday drive


February 27, 2012
Billie Shelton , The Daily Freeman Journal

So we spent last Sunday afternoon on a little outing. It was a pretty, clear, sunny winter day - the perfect time to get out of the house and see what there is to see.

A little cabin fever can be put to good use, it turns out. Considering the price of gas now, such a drive is not to be undertaken lightly. In fact, the whole concept of a Sunday drive is fast becoming a thing of the past. In addition to the unreasonable price of a gallon of gasoline, I'm not sure we're geared any longer to relaxing enough to drive (or ride) without a destination.

But we did have a destination as we headed out to go see the Freedom Rock. It's a bit of a trek from here, down into southern Iowa, but well worth the drive. In case you don't know, the rock is actually a huge boulder sitting alongside a county road in Adair County that is completely covered with patriotic scenes painted by Ray "Bubba" Sorenson.

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The Freedom Rock is just as awesome as its reputation. It's painted with a new patriotic scene in time for each Memorial Day by Sorenson, who has an Iowa studio but spends the rest of the year touring and painting murals. He is a true Iowa treasure. We didn't meet him, but we got to see his work in a small, simple wide spot by the side of the road - complete with a small pond and an American flag--near an exit off Interstate 80.

Now, you might think there's not much to see on a drive to southern Iowa on a Sunday afternoon in the middle of winter. But I enjoyed the little towns we went through, comparing how they are holding up to our changing times. And I noticed how many windmills are still standing around the countryside in that part of the state, although many are missing blades or are listing to one side as their legs deteriorate. They're rusted. I'm sure most are not in use now, but as a kind of relic of simpler times long past, windmills are rather fascinating.

And then there are the wind turbines that dotted the horizon in southern Iowa in an interesting contrast to the traditional windmills. They, too, are intriguing, yet in a different way than the traditional windmills-mostly because of their size as they harness the power of the wind. You could make a pretty good case that windmills are monuments to days when times were simpler but work was harder. The wind turbines are a testament to technology and, perhaps, working smarter.

You just never know what you'll see on a Sunday drive.



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