Don’t blame Iowa Boring on Steve King



Come now. Tourists say they will cancel their pleasure trips to Iowa because Steve King is Steve King. Can we really blame the congressman from Kiron that so few want to pamper themselves in The Tall Corn State?

The Iowa Tourism Office, which must be about as busy as the Kansas Tourism Office, reported last week that it received 60 messages from people skeptical of visiting Iowa because King thinks we need more babies — and not necessarily the kind who are born in Storm Lake in darker hues.

We wrote about it last week but the story keeps getting better.

The top two tourist attractions in Iowa are the state fair and RAGBRAI. I have experienced both and am not going back. People who are inclined to eat a corn dog don’t know who their congressman is, much less ours. If some squishy people from Madison, Wis., don’t want to ride their bikes through Creston in July it will not take a year off my life or paralyze King’s wagging tongue for a New York minute.

This is the state that refuses to allow a bike trail around Storm Lake.

This is the state where you wake up in the morning to the smell of fresh coffee and hog manure.

This is the state where the main activities are watching TV and eating.

Were it not for Cabo, Belize and Aruba no doubt Iowa would be right up there as a tourist destination. As it stands, Iowa is on standby for Branson, Mo.

In the morning you can see snake alley in Burlington. In the afternoon you can see the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake and the pedestrian bridge in Mason City made famous by The Music Man. In the evening you can see the golden dome of the state capitol in Des Moines, one of the prettiest scenes anywhere, and you can be back in Illinois the next day after having pretty much seen everything there is to see in Iowa.

Oh, and the Grotto of the Redemption at West Bend, where rocks speak.

We could recommend Okoboji but there are better ways to burn your money in Florida. Or even the Wisconsin Dells.

Business at the birthplace of Donna Reed in Denison is as dead as ever. Steve King has nothing to do with it, even though he went to high school in the Heart of the Meat Empire. I have not visited the site of the Villisca ax murders, inviting as it may sound. If you are up for heaving a medicine ball around, stop by the Hoover Presidential Birthplace in West Branch sometime for a light game of Hooverball. Now those are good times. Which would you pick: A day at Wrigleyville with the Cubs in corrupt Illinois or an afternoon of Hooverball in squeaky clean Iowa?

If you paddle down the Raccoon or Des Moines rivers, take care for the blue-green toxic algae. It can cause painful skin rashes and diarrhea. My fishing buddies tell me they would never eat a walleye from the Little Sioux River because it’s so polluted.

Despite our lack of pizzaz our hotel-motel sales tax is creeping up. Storm Lake’s was up 2% last year. King’s Pointe Resort has been doing well serving people with brilliant white legs and oversized tushes. Many of the guests from Northwest Iowa and South Dakota voted for King or wished they could. The guests from Minnesota are superior and don’t care.

If I were a tourist I would visit the Mardis Gras or Saigon at the end of the world. New Hampton is not on my list. Not even the casino at Council Bluffs, unless Donna Reed is performing.

Iowa is a nice place to live but you wouldn’t want to visit. Not unless you have relatives here.

As a friend from New York said when I asked how he found the drive from Des Moines to Storm Lake:

“There’s nothing there,” he marveled.

Not that you would notice.

It’s just us chickens.

No reason to get ruffled. Tourists come and tourists go but Iowa remains. If you like pink sunsets over a corn field on a gravel road and politicians who spent too much time listening to WHO Radio, this is the place to be. Cold and insular, stoic and unforgiving, humble and self-loathing, generous in its bounty and beautiful in its subtlety. The main reason Iowa lacks tourism is Iowa. We like it that way. Steve King is just one of us.