Adventures in western Iowa, part 1: Storm Lake

I spent a weekend in northwest Iowa recently with two main goals: Drive the Glacial Trail Scenic Byway and hike in the Loess Hills. But I also had some other adventures along the way. Here is part 1 of a 4-part series:


I started out on a Friday afternoon driving to Storm Lake. Storm Lake is an interesting town. As I wrote last summer when I passed through while driving the RAGBRAI route, Storm Lake (population 10,600 and the Buena Vista County seat) is home to Buena Vista University and a beautiful 3,200-acre glacially created lake but is also the location for Tyson and Sara Lee meat packing/processing facilities, which on the evening of my arrival made the entire town smell really terrible.


I had a reservation at the Sail Inn Motel at 1015 East Lakeshore Drive (above). I chose Sail Inn for the location, which was really great (right across from the resort and water park). It was smack dab by the lake, and I had a wonderful view out both of my first-floor-room windows. I can’t say much else positive about it; the bed was uncomfortable, the room had a weird smell, the bathroom was icky, and the whole place had a sort of damp feel to it. But you get what you pay for, and I think I paid about $50 bucks and had the lake outside my door. They also had a decent grab-and-go breakfast. So I’m not sorry I stayed there.



There isn’t a ton of choice of lodging in this town: King’s Pointe Resort (above) is the big one; there’s also a Super 8 and a couple of campgrounds.


Besides sleeping, I didn’t spend much time in the room, anyway. I walked along the biking/walking path around part of the lake and then walked around to find some food. I ate dinner at a counter-service Mexican restaurant in the downtown area, pictured above. My burrito was actually really great and seemed more authentic to the cuisine than the run-of-the-mill Tex-Mex I’m used to.






I walked back to the motel in time to sit by the water and enjoy the sunset. I left first thing the next morning.



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