Midwest is the Best Part II: Iowa and Nebraska

Seriously, we aren’t kidding when we say that Midwesterners are the best.  The Midwest hospitality and friendliness didn’t stop in Minneapolis—as we visited Iowa City, Des Moines, Omaha, we felt even more love from the great plain states.  So much so that we decided to give you a list of the highlights, a.k.a. the nicest of the nice things we experienced in Iowa and Nebraska these past few days. Iowa City, IA

  • Meeting up with the Iowa City local band, The Olympics.  These kids waited around for us (we ran a tad late due to a fuel filter change outside of Minneapolis—that wasn’t so nice) to play us a few of their songs and hang out on the bus.  We haven’t laughed that hard in a while.  We also learned that beakers are the new hipster drinking-vessel of choice.  See you later, mason jars!
  • Grabbing a cup of coffee with Elliott and Griffen of Iowa City group Chasing Shade to talk about local Iowa City musicians, their aspirations for the future, and their own upcoming Kickstarter campaign.  These guys were incredibly nice and enthusiastic to answering any and all of our questions.  Good luck out in Los Angeles, you two!  We know Chasing Shade is bound for great things.

Des Moines, IA

  • Meeting up with Onnalee Kelley (a fellow Colgate-graduate) and her family in their lovely home in Des Moines!  The Kelley’s not only provided us with an air conditioned bedroom and showers during one of the worst heat waves the bus has experienced yet (95 degrees!) but also took us to a tasty Mexican food diner, fed us a delicious breakfast, and did our laundry.  Thanks Kelley’s!  We’ll never pass through Iowa again without stopping by to say hello—you guys are the best!
  • Speaking of delicious Mexican food:  El Patio.  If you’re in Iowa City, make sure to stop by this restaurant because man does that place do enchiladas right.
  • Meeting up-and-coming Des Moines band, DesMunks!  These guys let us peek into their practice session to hear a little bit of their incredible local music.  A little bit of jam, a little bit of funk, and a little bit of jazz, these three musicians are cooking up something really special in Des Moines.

Omaha, NE

  • Upon arriving in Omaha, we stopped by the city Visitor’s Center and met the nicest folks!  One older woman offered to take us out to a vegan dinner, and another (actually a musician herself) gave us a copy of her own band, Drake Hotel’s, CD!  She’s really quite good, check her out here!
  • Sitting down for dinner and drinks with the founder of HearNebraska.org, Andy Norman, and devoted HB team member, Lauren Schomburg.  These two were the most enthusiastic, devoted individuals we’ve met yet while on the road.  Their passion to bring the world-renowned respect the local Nebraska music scene deserves is incredibly admirable and outrageously cool.  We tip our hats off to these guys, they’re doing great things for their community and for the aspiring musicians in Nebraska.  Make sure to check out what Hear Nebraska is all about here.  What’s more, they took us out to dinner to a great little spot in the Benson neighborhood of Omaha: Benson Brewery!  Good food, good beer, good company.  What more could we have asked for?
  • Interviewing Jeff Taffola of Saddle Creek Records.  We got to sit down with one of the members of the Saddle Creek Record Label team and talk about what it’s like to work for a record label based in Omaha.  A cool guy with even cooler bands signed to the label.  Check their musical roster out here!
  • Later that evening, the Locavaux Project’s bus’s name was born:  Georgia, The Nutty Bus!  It’s fits perfectly for our almond-colored, slightly loco bus lifestyle.
  • Exploring the Old Market district of Omaha.  A burgeoning scene of independent record stores, restaurants, bars and clothing stores.  We wandered around and did a little bit of retail therapy before hitting the open road to North Platte, Nebraska.  Our favorite purchase:  matching hemp Aladdin pants.  Chase even got his own cream, hemp shirt.  Cult status, here we come!

North Platte, NE

  • A nice, comfy, and cheap camping site right next to the Platte River.  We sat on the rooftop porch, ate dinner, drank some vino verde, played a little guitar, wrote in our journals, and got ready for the journey to Denver, CO the next day.

So, thanks Midwest.  Your temperatures might not have been that pleasant (90 degrees is a little much), but the people that call you home sure were.