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Bob Barnes, the man who is cycling to every state capital in the United States within a one-year span, has recognized Iowa as a “best-kept secret” — while continuing his effort to help raise awareness of the importance of blood donation.
Barnes, 52, of Syracuse, New York, previously told Fox News Digital that blood donation is a key cause of his cross-country journey, especially after the American Red Cross announced in January the national blood crisis.
On his way to capital no. 40 — Des Moines, Iowa — Barnes stopped in Burlington, where he donated platelets, the cells in blood that form clots and stop bleeding., at a blood donation center called ImpactLife.
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“When I started this trip, I thought the American Red Cross was the be-all, end-all of donating blood,” Barnes told Fox News Digital. “I thought that was the only place you could go.”
“Now I’m finding out that different areas of the country have different places that you donate blood,” he added. “ImpactLife is one of them.”
Bob Barnes, 52, of Syracuse, New York, is cycling to all 50 state capitals in one year. He recently arrived at his 40th capital city, Des Moines, Iowa.
Barnes went to Burlington, Iowa, on May 6, and met with folks from the blood donation center ImpactLife. In this image, Barnes posed with Kirby Winn, public relations manager at ImpactLife.
Barnes even donated platelets — continuing a tradition for him of donating blood along his cross-country journey.
Barnes has donated whole blood several times on his trip, including in Arkansas and West Virginia — but he had never donated platelets until May 6.
Here are some of the other experiences Barnes had while in Iowa.
‘Like being in an amusement park’
While he was riding through the Hawkeye State, Barnes discovered a small Dutch town called Pella, which he called “a happy accident.”
“I just stumbled on it,” Barnes said. “A lot of times, people will give me a heads-up [about places to ride through]. I didn’t get a single message about Pella, so that was interesting.”
Barnes came across a small Dutch town called Pella in early May.
Barnes revealed to Fox News Digital that Pella was his favorite town of all in Iowa.
The town ended up being Barnes’ favorite in Iowa.
“Pella was awesome,” Barnes said. “It was honestly like being in an amusement park.”
He said he loved “the fact that it’s the United States of America and you can just stumble onto these towns like this.”
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Later, when Barnes was in a small town called Victor (population 875 in 2020), he thought he spotted a campground, so he knocked on a nearby door.
“There’s a positive energy. They’re very caring. Everybody’s upbeat … It was an awesome experience, along with the scenery.”
— Bob Barnes
The man who answered told him it wasn’t a campground, but that Barnes could just stay in his neighbor’s yard, since she was apparently in Nebraska at the time.
“Nobody’ll bother you,” the man told him, as Barnes recalled.
Barnes said Pella, Iowa, had a lot of foreign tourists in town when he visited.
A sunrise at one of Barnes’ Iowa campsites is pictured here. When he was in Victor, Iowa, a resident let him spend the night in a neighbor’s yard.
Barnes said the scenery in Iowa was beautiful, but the terrain was “all over the place,” with flat areas and tons of hills — including an 11-mile climb.
Barnes set up his tent and had no issues that night.
“That was another great moment,” he said, laughing.
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Iowa quickly became Barnes’ second-favorite state — surpassing Ohio, which he previously said was his second favorite behind Mississippi.
“It’s almost like another best-kept secret,” Barnes said.
“I didn’t know anything about Iowa. I had no stereotypes or preconceived notions.”
Since he arrived there on a Sunday, Barnes wasn’t able to go inside the capitol building in Des Moines.
After his visit to the Hawkeye State, Barnes said Iowa is his new second-favorite state, surpassing Ohio. Des Moines is pictured here.
“Once I rolled into Iowa, you just feel this positive energy,” he said.
“They’re very caring. Everybody’s upbeat,” he added. “It was an awesome experience, along with the scenery.”
Iowa is also a big state for cycling, Barnes said.
Experiencing some bike trouble
Barnes did have some issues with his bicycle: Its rear shifter cable broke, which meant his bike had only one gear.
That made it more challenging to ride, especially on hills.
“I was able to jerry-rig it to pedal just 26 miles to the bike shop on one gear,” Barnes said. “It worked out really well.”
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Even though it was a bit of a setback for him, Barnes said he wasn’t frustrated.
“I love the fact that it’s the United States of America and you can just stumble onto these towns like this.”
— Bob Barnes on Pella, Iowa
“It can always be worse,” he said.
“That’s the thing. You’re moving forward; the trip’s not over. If you’ve got to walk, walk. You’re still moving forward.”
He ended up not needing to walk — and the bike shop was able to get him a new shifter cable and new pedals, too.
After he visited Des Moines, Barnes had only 10 state capitals left to go on his journey. He said the bike trip feels “easy-peasy at this point. It’s exciting, but it’s really exciting to count down.”
Next stop: the Badger State
Barnes arrived in Wisconsin on May 13, with his 41st capital, Madison, in his sights.
Once he visits each capital in the Lower 48 states, Barnes explained that he plans to bike to Juneau, Alaska, after taking a ferry there from Canada.
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He’ll later bike to Honolulu, Hawaii, after flying with his bike to the island.
Fox News Digital has been following Bob Barnes’ journey across America and detailing it for readers in this unique Lifestyle series. To catch up on — or enjoy once more! — his previous three trips before the one shared in this article, read more below:
NY man cycling across America is bitten by a dog in Illinois: ‘I just kept going’
NY man cycling to all 50 states burns his tent down in Michigan: ‘I tried not to panic’
NY man cycling across America enjoys the ‘kindness’ he found in Indiana’s capital
Ann W. Schmidt is a lifestyle reporter and editor for Fox News Digital.
Source by www.foxnews.com