I never thought I’d have the ability to "Take a nice drive to Chicago" but I find myself in that position now that I live in Des Moines. When I lived in Southern CA…a 6 hour drive seemed impossibly painful. Planning would ensue at weeks before and traffic was a constant concern no matter the direction or the day. Today, I hopped in the car at 11:30AM and was at my hotel about 10 minutes west of O’Hare airport in 5.5 hours. I experienced some slows downs once I reached the Chicago metro area…and yes, I grabbed the wheel and cursed a bit. Some things will be tough to abandon.
The interesting thing about living in a "central location" like Des Moines, means that I can be in a lot of different states and "big metros" in a few hours. Minneapolis, Kansas City, and a lot of others can be reached very quickly and with zero stress. I know these cities and this concept must seem a bit "hick-like" for the coasters…but that’s OK.
When the kids are a bit older, I think we’ll enjoy seeing what the great United States has to offer. As I was driving, I heard Paul Harvey say something like, "Why travel outside the U.S. when there’s so much to offer here." This is so very true. I think that for the next 5 years, we’ll focus on the heartland and all of those "little things" that make it so nice. I’d have NEVER known about Living History Farms, The Amana Colonies, and Pella if I’d not moved to Iowa. Imagine what I still have to see and learn.