Loess Hills

Back during the week of Labor Day, I took a week of vacation. I believe it was the only full week of vacation I took in 2020. One of the things I did while on vacation was take a road trip out to the Loess Hills. My ultimate destination was Preparation Canyon State Park. I think I may have entered from the wrong side, because I didn’t really find all that much there, but a few miles from the State Park, I found a beautiful Loess Hills observation deck. Here are some pictures:

Loess Hills

Loess Hills

Loess Hills

Loess Hills

Loess Hills

Loess Hills

Loess Hills

Loess Hills

Loess Hills

Loess Hills

Loess Hills

Loess Hills

Loess Hills

Loess Hills

Loess Hills

Loess Hills

Loess Hills

Loess Hills

Loess Hills

Loess Hills

Loess Hills

Loess Hills

If you don’t know about the Loess Hills, here is some information from the Wikipedia:

The dominant features of this landscape are “peak and saddle” topography, “razor ridges” (narrow ridges, often less than 10 feet (3 m) wide, which fall off at near ninety-degree angles on either side for 60 feet (18 m) or more), and “cat-step” terraces (caused by the constant slumping and vertical shearing of the loess soil). The soil has a characteristic yellow hue and is generally broken down into several units based on the period of deposition (Loveland, Pisgah, Peoria). Loess is known locally as “sugar clay” because it can be extremely hard when dry, but when wet, loses all cohesion. The Loess Hills of Iowa are remarkable for the depth of the drift layer, often more than 90 feet (27 m) deep. The only comparable deposits of loess to such an extent are located in Shaanxi, China.

It is a uniquely beautiful part of Iowa.


This is your reminder that this week’s THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme is FAMILY:


FAMILY! The first theme of the 8th (full) year of THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE.

What defines a FAMILY photo? First, you need to define what makes a FAMILY? Is it a group of people that share the same Deoxyribonucleic Acid? Or does the definition stretch a little bit farther than what can be placed in a test tube? Is a FAMILY a group of people that have a common set of beliefs? A common set of values? A common set of goals? A common set of experiences? Or perhaps the one thing that binds a group and makes them a FAMILY is LOVE? I’m sure there are more than a few that have come from a dysfunctional FAMILY would argue that love does not define a FAMILY. And others that would argue that just because you share that double helix with somebody, doesn’t make them FAMILY at all.

Personally, I like to think that FAMILY is more than what is in the blood in your body, but is more defined by the people (sentient beings) that you would spill blood for. Yours or others.

There is a scene in one of my favorite movies (Top 100 for sure) GARDEN STATE where the main character (Andrew Largeman) is discussing the idea of home with his romantic interest (Sam). They have the following interaction:

Andrew Largeman: You know that point in your life when you realize the house you grew up in isn’t really your home anymore? All of a sudden even though you have some place where you put your shit, that idea of home is gone.

Sam: I still feel at home in my house.

Andrew Largeman: You’ll see one day when you move out it just sort of happens one day and it’s gone. You feel like you can never get it back. It’s like you feel homesick for a place that doesn’t even exist. Maybe it’s like this rite of passage, you know. You won’t ever have this feeling again until you create a new idea of home for yourself, you know, for your kids, for the family you start, it’s like a cycle or something. I don’t know, but I miss the idea of it, you know. Maybe that’s all family really is. A group of people that miss the same imaginary place.

Happy photo harvesting!

11 thoughts on “Loess Hills”

  1. These are lovely. Will have to make a trip.

    I haven’t seen Garden State in years – I need to watch it again.

  2. I definitely recommend the Loess Hills for a trip. You have to drive through Trump country, which is terrible, but the western part of Iowa is almost as beautiful as northeast Iowa.

    I mean, except for Counciltucky and Sioux City, of course. Those parts are pretty dreadful.

    GARDEN STATE is or was on Starz recently. So I have recently re-watched it. I still loved it, even though it does feel quite a bit whinier than I remember. Still a great soundtrack though.

  3. That place bleeds Trump, but maybe we can just make sure to only gas up places where we don’t have to talk to or see anyone.

    I’ll have to find it. After listening to the “Scrubs” podcast, I don’t love Zach Braff’s personality, he’s super-condescending (although obviously talented). So I’m not surprised it’s a bit whiny in retrospect? It is a bummer to find him obnoxious, as I adore “Scrubs.”

  4. I have noticed that people have been taking down their Trump signs and flags. At least I’m seeing less and less of them.

    Unfortunately, will still probably being seeing them 20 years ago. Long after Trump is in his grave and I have pissed on it. Twice.

    I think Lowell was really into that podcast, but that could be a false memory. Weird that he is super condescending, cause, what has he really done in the last 20 years?

  5. I saw one up on the way by Ankeny recently when we went to see my grandpa, not sure if that is there. There is still one up across the street from my children’s elementary school. So that’s fun. Alice is about as liberal as a fifth grader gets, so she talks sometimes about cutting it up and making confetti out of it, and then stuffing it in their mailbox. There are many reasons she’s my favorite female on earth. I am all in on a “pissing trip” expressly for that purpose.

    He is really into it! I checked with him recently, and he also finds Braff insufferable. I honestly do not know – he’s made a few movies nobody watched since Garden State and Scrubs, and was on some “Alex Inc” show that got cancelled partway through the first season. But he’s also living with Florence Pugh from all of the things this year, somehow? The math there is bananas.

  6. In Boone, there are still plenty of them. A guy on my block has the Rambo Trump flag on the back of his garage. But I don’t see many in town any more. But the drive from Boone to Don Williams. Last time I did, Trumpistan. And that is even if you take out the guy that STILL has a prison cell on his front lawn with a Hillary Clinton mannequin in it. STILL!

    One of the bigger Trumpers in town, recently took down his flag and put up a flag advertising some podcast. Which I’m sure has to be worse than Zach Braff’s podcast. When I figure out what it is, I’ll let you know. There is also a big banner advertising it on the side of a building in the west Boone business district.

    Sounds like your daughter isn’t ready to move on. Why won’t she just let the terrorists get away with it. Not hold them accountable. Isn’t she interested in unity and healing.

    Dang it, I forgot that he enjoys getting urinated upon. Now, I don’t think I want to piss on his grave. But I’m not sure what to do. If he gets buried in Arlington, I will go puke on his grave. Because there is nobody in history that deserves that less than him.

    Is it the age difference that is bananas to you? Because a man can date a woman that is half a man’s age plus three. Or something like that.

  7. I was wondering if that jail cell was still up. I saw it probably three years ago or so when I took Alice to a Girl Scout camp, and was embarrassed to have to explain it to my 6/7 years ago. I still cannot fathom how people in economically depressed areas can feel like this guy (and the Republican party in general) represent them. It’s so mind-blowing to me. I would be fascinated to hear that podcast, if you figure it out. And then I can rank it against Zach Braff for you.

    That’s right, he’s into tinkle. I assume nobody is into puke, so that seems like a legit alternative. I assume he’ll request to be shot into space with his stupid Space Force BS.

    Yeah, I’ve heard that math before and find it more than a touch disturbing. I’ve also seen countdown until certain celebrities turn the age of consent, which is disturbing AF.

  8. It is sadly still up. Hillary will be long in her grave and I’m sure it will still be up. The funny thing is the person’s neighbor always has a bunch of Democrat signs up during the political season. They must have an interesting relationship as neighbors.

    I’ll probably figure out that podcast this weekend, so I’ll let you know. It is something about faith and hope, so maybe it is just something religious.

    Trump will probably be cremated and Eric and Don will consume his ashes because somebody on a YouTube Channel will tell them that is the way to gather his power.

    Space Force. One of Trump’s dumber, but least dangerous idea.

    Yeah, I totally get that countdown, because the only thing standing between you and nailing that girl with the big knocks on that Disney show your kid watches is the age of consent. Obviously.

  9. In the neighbor’s defense, I’d probably plaster every pro-Democrat sign I could up at every chance. Maybe craft a fountain with yellow food coloring in it and have it constantly peeing on Trump. I’m actually now spec-ing out how much it would take to build that, because I sort of love the idea, and I’d gift it to the neighbor if it were practical.

    I could see Don Jr snorting those ashes. And Eric licking them. Maybe they’d both vape them. Ugh, they are just the worst douches.

    It’s true – Space Force at least didn’t end in anyone’s murder, or incarceration. Just billions of dollars of national debt.

    I love that last paragraph so much that I just had to read it to Jon to explain why I was laughing, but gave no context. He enjoyed it, but did ask why on earth our conversation had reached this particular junction.

  10. The Trump pee fountain is brilliant! I think it would look great in your yard! I do feel like if you were the guys neighbor you would be obligated to get your own jail cell.

    In the last 4 years I have found myself wishing I owned land near a busy highway. Not a lot of land. Just enough to put a big political sign up. Perhaps a few big political signs.

    Traitor Tot and the “Dumb Trump” are absolutely vile, disgusting creatures. But I also hate how Ivanka and Melania seem to get a free pass. Even though they are just as vile and disgusting creatures. Although, I guess none of the stole money from children with cancer, so 1/2 a step above Eric.

    I mean, I guess fawning over an underage girl that you don’t know is slightly better than counting down the days to when an underage girl you know becomes “legal”. That is me looking for the good in people.

    If I were a writer for a comedy show, I’d be tempted to write a skit about a group of Libertarian friends expecting Hermione Granger to show up at their door the moment their countdown clock hit zero. But I suppose that reference is a bit dated.

  11. I know Jen would come over and throw coins in that pee fountain! We’ve got some pretty staunch Trumpers in our neighborhood, so I can only imagine how that would go over. Your jail cell/effigy thing would be far better than that crappily-put-together thing if you had it.

    OMG, I have heard “this is a true, classy First Lady” so many times in reference to the woman who has shown her jugs in Maxim, and mocks immigrant children (WHICH – SHE IS AN IMMIGRANT). And Ivanka is also just disgusting. And her little weasel-faced douchebag husband, they both make me ill. You just know she’s going to run for office – maybe not against Rubio this time, she may let it sit and hope that people forget about insurrection.

    That’s a good silver lining, in all honestly. I guess it’s better to ogle the unattainable? Maybe? That would be an awesome skit. I remember a former Ortho employee talking about how he could “just tell Hermione was going to be hot” when she started developing. You know, when she was about 13.

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