New Yorker Cycling to All 50 States Calls Iowa the “Best Kept Secret”
Bob Barnes, a 52-year-old man from Syracuse, NY, has been on a mission to bike to each of the 50 state capitals in a one-year span. Barnes has been doing this in effort to raise awareness about the importance of blood donation, in lieu of the American Red Cross declaring the first ever "blood crisis" in January.
After his stop in Iowa, he claims the state is the "best kept secret."
As of this week, Barnes has made it to #40 on his list, which is Des Moines, IA. On his jaunt through Iowa, he stopped to donate platelets in Burlington at a center called ImpactLife. Initially, Barnes was only going to stop to donate blood, plasma, and other fluids at Red Cross facilities. That was the plan, until he realized that people around the country have a myriad of different options.
Barnes made a stop in Pella, IA, a rapidly growing city roughly 50 minutes outside of Des Moines. Due to some of the infrastructure and the cornucopia of quaint areas, he compared Pella to "an amusement park." He spoke of Pella with high regard:
I love the fact that it’s the United States of America and you can just stumble onto these towns like this.
Barnes spent the bulk of his time touring Pella and later, the tiny town of Victor, where he spent the night in a tent in front of a kind resident's yard.
The New York cyclist did experience some trouble with his bike when its rear shifter cable broke, limiting his bike only to one gear. That makes riding on steep hills a challenge and a half. He managed to pedal 26 miles to get the bike fixed at a shop.
Once he visits each capital in the lower 48 states, Barnes plans to bike to Juneau, AK and even fly his bike down to Honolulu, HI.
But after all the time he spent in Iowa, Barnes now claims it's his "favorite state" so far and the "best kept secret" yet, as he wasn't briefed much about where to visit or what to expect.