June 11, 2011 – Balloons, Trains, Ice Cream and Wildlife

Starting at MINI of Des Moines, everyone left at 12:30 p.m for a full afternoon of driving, friendship, and just all around fun. The scenic back roads route provided lots of twists and turns so the MINIs could strut their stuff a bit in the sunshine.

  • A stop at the Nation Balloon Museum in Indianola answered the question, “Will a hot air balloon lift a MINI Cooper?”
  • We learned that there (are / are not) a few MINIs on the  Trainland USA layouts.
  • At the Colfax Ice Cream stop, we discovered the most popular flavor among MINI Cooper owners.
  • We wondered what a herd of buffalo at the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge thought of MINIs.

The route included: an hour or so at the Balloon Museum,  scenic byways to the Neil Smith Wildlife Refuge near Prairie City, where we saw a short film describing the area and spend about an hour there as well.

There was the “absolute must” stop at Goldies Ice Cream Shoppe in Prairie City, before everyone proceeded to Trainland USA near Colfax. Most people had seen the billboards on I-80 advertising Trainland USA, but few had ever stopped to see it. We were amazed at this great display of electric trains and all their surroundings!

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