I recently returned from my Iowa Christmas vacation to visit family and friends. After one and one-third days in Des Moines, I took my travel agent/hostess Tonia to the airport and then decided, being on the south side of the city, to take I-35 down to Highway 34 and straight west into Red Oak.
I didn't get very far along the interstate before I spotted a brown road sign that read "John Wayne Birthplace." Being my father's son and a red-blooded American, and since I had no timetable on this particular Saturday morning, I decided to make the little side trip. It became an all day tour of the Iowa countryside.
I left the interstate at County Road G14, several miles north of Highway 92 which offers a direct route to Winterset. Doing this presented a pleasant surprise: coming down the off-ramp I saw another sign directing torward "St. Patrick's Church." I thought to myself, St. Patrick's: didn't John Paul stop there? So I made the second impulse decision in as many minutes and turned down the gravel road.