Home » 2015 Herb and Lolo's Migration West

Ohio to Iowa, IA

Sunday, November 8, 2015 - 12:45pm by Lolo
515 miles and 8 hours from our last stop - 1 night stay


Entrance to Iowa 80 Truck StopEntrance to Iowa 80 Truck StopAfter leaving my brother Jim’s house in Ohio, we still had over 2,400 miles to go to reach our new temporary home, our RV, which was stored in Petaluma, California. We had somewhat of a time constraint as well, since we had to beat the moving truck with our entire life’s possessions to our reserved storage unit in Santa Rosa, CA.

However, we needed some way to break up the trip and get some physical exercise along the way. Then it hit me – a tour of rock climbing gyms across the country. I quickly googled Iowa rock climbing gyms and looked for matches not too far from I80. Bingo! – Climb Iowa in Grimes, the largest climbing gym in Iowa, and less than a mile off of 80.

It was too far to get to today (about 670 miles), so we stopped at a Days Inn in Walcott, Iowa, right near Iowa 80, the largest truck stop in America. We would save that treat for tomorrow morning. In the meantime, it was time to get some dinner, so after asking the hotel clerk for a recommendation, we headed over to Gramma’s Kitchen for some Iowa homestyle cooking.

Herb belaying Kitty at Climb IowaHerb belaying Kitty at Climb IowaWhat we learned at Gramma’s is that Iowans very much love their gravy, so much so that you can barely find your entrée beneath it. My turkey dinner was covered with a gelatinous brown blob, so salty that I could barely finish it. Meanwhile, at the table next to us, a man was asking for extra gravy for his steak. Our goal now was to get out of Iowa before our arteries clogged.

We couldn’t be so close to the largest truck stop in America and visit, so we stopped in for some Caribou coffee before continuing on 80 West. As one would expect at the largest truck stop, there was a Trucking Museum dedicated to the restoration and preservation of antique trucks and trucking artifacts. Maybe next time, but today I had climbing on my mind.

We arrived at Climb Iowa about 5 minutes before it opened. As we sat in the car, we noticed an elderly gray-haired woman, perhaps in her 70s, anxiously waiting by the door for it to open. Was she going to climb? I’m used to being the old lady in a climbing gym.

Lolo and Kitty at Climb IowaLolo and Kitty at Climb IowaLet’s just say that Kitty – that was her name; it was even embroidered on her harness – was the real deal. She was awesome, and so was the gym. I take back all my narrow-minded preconceptions that Iowa was such a flat state that it couldn’t possibly produce climbers.

Since that day, I have friended Kitty on Facebook and followed her achievements. She recently ice climbed a silo. That’s right. The people of Iowa have figured out a way to ice the sides of silos so that they can climb them, and Kitty was right there with her ice ax and crampons to show how it’s done. I hope that I will be like Kitty when I am 71. In fact, I wish I was like Kitty now.


Iowa 80 Trucking MuseumIowa 80 Trucking MuseumDrive from New Albany, Ohio to Walcott, Iowa.

Ohio to Iowa location map in "high definition"

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