The Oregon Trail

East of Sioux City, US-20 is pretty much a four-lane freeway all the way, racing past acres of farmland and occasional towns. Sac City (pop. 2,105) is one of the few places along this stretch where the road is still old-school two-lane, and the town itself seems to want to preserve its past, with a log cabin and preserved Chautauqua Building along US-20 and a small historical museum on Main Street. It also has the nicely maintained Sac City Motel (103 Ash Ave., 712/662-7109), right off Main Street.

Nineteen miles farther east, in Rockwell City (pop. 2,137, “The Golden Buckle on the Corn Belt”), the Leist Oil Company (705 High St., 712/297-8631) has an incredible collection of old neon and enameled metal roadside signs advertising cars, car parts, soda pop, and sundry other things. Downtown also has a Carnegie Library, a railroad station, and some nifty little shops, well worth a few minutes of wandering.