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Iowa has great rest stops, with coffee machines and free wireless internet.

The main highways traversing Iowa are: (east to west)

(north to south)

  • Interstate 35, passing through Ames and Des Moines, a great place along this Interstate is the Kum and Go in Story City. It's just outside all the larger towns and everyone stops here from the Interstate. You should be able to catch a lift here and get everywhere from Kansas City to Minneapolis.
  • U.S. 218/Interstate 380, passing through Waterloo, Cedar Rapids, and Iowa City

An interesting way to get across Iowa is to actually get caught by the county's local sheriff department. I have heard stories from hitchhikers and sheriffs alike who will pick up a hitchhiker and drop them off at the county border in the direction that they are heading. Then the next sheriff will pick them up and drive them off. This is really useful in small counties (which are numerous in Iowa) without much traffic to bounce across the state without much work. I would avoid trying this in counties with larger cities as the sheriff department will have bigger problems that will be more important than a hitchhiker that they will have to attend to. Always give them your story as they love to trade stories about this stuff when they get back to the station for the night or home to their families.


  • Des Moines, the state capitol. Try to stay in West Des Moines, as most of east Des Moines is filled with thugs and becomes VERY dangerous at night.
  • Cedar Rapids
  • Davenport, part of the "Quad Cities" along the Mississippi River
  • Sioux City, home of Brier Cliff college. If you talk to some of the students you may be able to bunk in their dorm.
  • Waterloo, watch this place as it is known as the Chicago of Iowa
  • Iowa City, location of the University of Iowa
  • Council Bluffs, across the Missouri River from Omaha, Nebraska
  • Ames, location of Iowa State University. Be careful in this town as it is larger than it looks. It branches out a lot with the central mass near the college. It's a fairly safe town, but watch the western parts as they seem to be more poverty stricken.

Had no problem walking on the interstate, although catching rides took a while, one dude ended up giving us a long ride, a hotel, money,etc. No problem with the local or state pigs either. -samson

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