About 40 minutes west of Des Moines, just a mile and a half to the south of I-80 on Highway 25 in Adair County, stands one of the best "attractions" Iowa has to offer - The Freedom Rock.
Ever since Ray "Bubba" Sorenson started painting an enormous boulder next to a gravel pit on the side of the highway many years ago, thousands of people - and not just Iowans - have been pausing to admire his astonishing annual handiwork. Sorenson re-paints the rock every spring with new images and messages. Often, the ashes of deceased veterans are mixed into the paint.
Sorenson gained worldwide notoriety for his work and has embarked on public relations tours highlighting the sacrifices made by veterans and their families. Several years ago, an effort was made to get a "Freedom Rock" in all 99 counties. The effort, if it is not already completed, is close to being completed. I know there are some Iowans who are attempting to visit them all.
I would highly recommend a visit to the Freedom Rock when you are in the area. I've been making the annual pilgrimage every year since 2012. There is a flag pole, a picnic table, and a small shed that houses a spot to put donations, a brief biography of Sorenson, photos of previous versions of the rock, and other information.
There used to be a guest registry, but it was missing when I stopped this week. I used to enjoy seeing all of "sign-ins" from folks far and wide. There's also a kybo for those that may need a restroom break.
The beautiful rolling hills of southwest Iowa and the gorgeous water of the borrow pit, make this a great stop to have a lunch break.
Please check out the official website of The Freedom Rock to learn more. There's a lot of really fascinating and worthwhile information on the page. As I adventure around the state, I hope to check out the Freedom Rocks in other Iowa counties.
If you have any suggestions for future adventures in Adair County or elsewhere, please drop me a note! I look forward to future visits to the county and elsewhere!