This may seem like such a trivial issue to midwesterners, but I just had to document my astonishment at the building I photographed above. Most Californians try to stay away from rest stops and rest areas along the state highways. At best they are questionably clean, cement, camp-like structures that frequently lack hygiene supplies. At worst, they are sleazy, dirty, dubiously secure spots to be reckoned with only in the most dire of circumstances. When they are open, that is to say.
So I was absolutely amazed when I ventured into this one in Iowa today. (On the first leg of my return to California...) I was so impressed I took multiple photos while the locals looked at me as though I were some country hick who never got away from the farm. Only a fellow Californian from the Sacramento area understood what I was doing and why.
There were complimentary state maps on the walls for travelers to pick up if needed. They were vending machines with every type of snack and healthy or unhealthy drink a person could want. Including water with vitamins! There were public phones, and areas to use a laptop, if one were so inclined. The bathrooms were spotless, and there was even a separate and easily accessible handicap bathroom off the main hall. There were picnic areas, and viewing areas, and........sigh!
The lady from Sacramento told me she had visited several rest stops in Iowa, and in Ohio, as well. "They are all nice, " she told me, "but they get worse the further west you head."
I don't get it....