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!

14 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.

  12. You just can’t really move anywhere and get away from Trumpers. Just put up a couple of signs around the fountain that says something like:

    “If you can read this, you are in range.”

    Or one of those that has a picture of gun that says something like:

    “We don’t call 9-1-1”.

    That way you will have the respect of your neighborhood Trumpers.

    Melanie is an immigrant that probably got into our country illegally and got her parents citizenship via chain migration. Which I don’t really have a strong opinion either way, but Trumpers allegedly think is the worst thing ever. I mean, besides not being white or or not speaking English.

    But people really sweep under the rug, the fact that she is also a racist-birther a-hole.

    How absolutely vacant does that whole group have to be, when the smartest person any of them know is Jared Kushner.

    The best description I ever heard of Ben Shapiro is that he is a stupid person’s smart person. The same description applies to Jared.

    I remember when a healthy segment of liberals deluded themselves into thinking that Ivanka was some kind of savior that would mellow Daddy Dearest. I’m not sure where they got this idea, other than the fact that Donnie has made it very clear, that he would like to pump a few into Ivanka. But while Donnie has these incestuous fantasies about his daughter, there was this false assumption that Ivanka was somehow really a liberal. Where this came from, I don’t know. Is it because she is slightly smarter than Traitor Tot and Dumb Trump? That at least for awhile, she didn’t say the stuff you aren’t supposed to say (the blatantly racist stuff) out loud, out loud?

    I do look forward to Laura Trump running for office in North Carolina and I do hope Ivanka primaries Marco. But the one thing that has been shown is that Trumpism doesn’t transfer. It is a uniquely Donald thing. None of the candidates that have snuggled up to him have really been helped by it. I don’t think it will transfer to his kids either.

    Whatever else you can say about Donald, he does have a fair amount of charisma. Even Traitor Tot, while not being charismatic, does a fair job of working the racists morons that follow his father around into a lather in his speeches. Have you ever seen Ivanka speak? She has nothing. Literally no charisma at all. Now it beats Traitor Tot’s geriatric girlfriend (see, there is a guy dating a way older woman… kudos!) speaking style. But I don’t know that it translates into the kind of dull moron allegiance she will need to pursue politics.

    Ivanka was smart enough to not speak at the insurrectionists rally. That speech that Traitor Tot gave, might just land him in prison. Oh well. Too bad. Thoughts and prayers.

    Since I’m old and out of the loop, I wonder who the current underage girl is that the wannabe pedos are ogling these days? Emma Watson was literally the most recent one I could think of and she is probably like 30 now. Looked it up. She is 30 now.

    It reminds me of a movie I saw not that long ago, but there was a throwaway line, where a couple male teachers were talking about how hot one of their students was. One teacher tells the other teacher that “he would lose his job”.

    The teacher fawning over his student says something like, “It would be worth it. It isn’t that good of a job.”

    I don’t think you could put that sequence in a movie today. Although it probably comes from a real place.

    I’ve been watching lots of 80s movies lately and it makes me want to create a database of things that occurred in a movie that just couldn’t happen any more. Like say 40% of REVENGE OF THE NERDS.

    And I did watch that movie recently. I can’t figure out what to make of their portrayal of Lamar, the homosexual character. Was it brave because it might be one of the first movies to portray a homosexual character as a hero. Yet, the character is also littered with homosexual stereotypes. The worst perhaps being the scene where they design the javelin for what they refer to as his “limp wristed” throwing style. Maybe 3 steps forward. 2 steps back.

  13. I had the weirdest dream (nightmare) about some of those very signs. In the dream, I think I maybe visited my grandparents’ farm in Pilot Mound, and those types of “Our guns R R kids” types of signs were everywhere. I’d read your response but not been at a computer to reply, so I’m not sure if it was an article I was reading or this. But it’s jarringly accurate.

    Yeah, everyone kept whispering, “No, Ivanka will calm him down!” Ivanka would eat her young if she thought it would help get her or that mealy-mouthed Jared Kushner get ahead. She’s ruthless and awful; she’s just sort of better at hiding it (most of the time) than the other two morons. I just don’t understand how they’re all so obviously racist – weren’t they allegedly Democrats in the 90s? Was it just Obama that caused them to switch sides? Man, that Guilfoyle broad is a whole hot mess. You can tell that she was a butt-ton of work when she was, like, 20 and thinks that she’s still got it.

    Man, that would be a really questioned line today in a movie, for sure – but I think the sentiment is still definitely there. Look at how many of the women who were Weinstein’s victims were just barely legal. It’s gross. Really, really gross. I have no idea who the young actresses who are actually underage are at this point – my kids don’t watch a ton of TV, so I don’t really know Nickelodeon or Disney girls at this point.

    Man, Revenge of the Nerds was so screwed up. The whole pretending he was the frat guy to have sex thing is flat-out messed up. But I remember seeing it when I was way too young to see it and cheering for him. I haven’t seen that movie since I was about 8, though (I think only once). I can’t speak on much of it with any authority, I honestly forgot they had a homosexual character. Of course they would call it “limp wristed.” That’s disappointing, but still groundbreaking for the time, I guess, you’re right.

  14. I think 95% of those signs are in Centerville. That is an old gravel road that dead ends in Centerville, along the Des Moines River where every house has at least 3 of those signs. I wonder if those annoying stickers that people put on their minivans to represent how many people they have in their family… what I’m trying to say if those type of stickers exist for gun nuts. I guess those people would completely cover the entire back window of their vehicle, so probably not.

    I don’t know if you have seen BOMBSHELL, it definitely isn’t a great movie, but their portrayal of Guilfoyle is amazing. Also a great portray of Judge Box of Wine. It is hard to believe that Guilfoyle was once married to the governor of California.

    I really don’t believe any of the Trumps have any beliefs. They are con artists and they found that conservatives were the easiest marks. End of story. Papa Trump has always been a world class racist though. Central Park 5. End of story.

    I’m sure the kids didn’t fall far from the lynching tree.

    There is a whole sequence where the nerds break into a sorority house and put in cameras so they can see them naked. Which maybe you could get away with now, maybe. But then on top of it, they print off naked pictures of the sorority girls and put them on the pie tin of the pies that they sell as a fundraiser.

    Then of course, the one nerd pretends to be a frat guy to have sex with the sorority chick that he’s in love with. Which is rape.

    But rather than being upset about it, she falls in love with him because he is so good, because “Nerds only think about sex.”

    Which was kind of a common thing in cinema in the 70s and 80s. Where a guy would rape a woman and then she would fall in love with him.

    But whatever else, you can’t take away the greatness that is the song that the nerds perform to win control of the Greek Council! Top 10 banger of all-time!

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