Five Stories This Week

Iowa / Sept. 16, 2012 / by Gelb
Five Stories This Week

It's been a pretty busy week for everyone on the bus. We managed to shoot five stories this week, and shoot the finishing touches on one more. We started our week in Minnesota and ended it in Iowa.

On Sunday, the team made our way up from Apple Valley, MN to Alexandria, which is about 3 hours away when all is said and done. We were there to shoot a story on Operation Happy Note - an amazing organization that sends instruments to soldiers overseas. These instruments make life a bit more fun and increase the togetherness of units that are already overstressed. We thought it was a special story, and wanted to make it the story we debuted on 9/11. That gave Steven two days to turn it around. A tall task to be sure!

On Monday, Steven was blazing through editing the piece, while the rest of us worked and explored the Mall of America. Our campground was about 5 minutes from it, and apparently it is something to be seen. Personally, it was just a mall, all be it a pretty long one.

Tuesday was also a work day. We released the piece on Operation Happy Note and were getting to work organizing other stories for later in the week. Bob Collins from MPR (Minnesota Public Radio) came by and hung out with us for a while in order to write a bit about our adventures.

On Wednesday, we managed to shoot two stories. In the early afternoon we stopped by Full Cycle in Minneapolis - Full Cycle is a very innovative organization that gives paid internships to homeless youth in order to teach them how to repair bikes and learn business skills. It should be a pretty cool story when it's ready.

After leaving Full Cycle, we made our way over to Leonardo's Basement. Leonardo's basement is a very difficult place to describe. It's a place where kids can come and make things - usually out of junk that is arranged for them in a large room reminiscent of an evil genius's lair. They make things that might interact with motors, other technology or just make them feel good. A very interesting story - I think it will be better when you see it.

On Thursday, we woke up very early and made our way to the Freedom Farm in Waverley, MN to do a piece on their program called Healing With Horses. Susie Bjorklund, the founder of the program, wanted to provide a way to help returning veterans, particularly women veterans, in a variety of therapeutic exercises involving horses. This is such a great story - the people there were so wonderful. I can't wait to see this piece when it is finished. They gave us lunch and all sort of goodies and I have to say, we were sorry to have left.

We drove back to our campground - Lebanon Hills Campground, one of the best places we have been on our entire journey - and got the bus ready for travel. We left late afternoon and headed down towards Des Moines. We got in after 9, and were all very exhausted. Another early morning awaited us.

At 6:30 on Friday, we got up and hopped back in the car, headed for Ames, IA. We were there to shoot the interview with Bill Gross, the founder of Farm Rescue - our story for North Dakota. After getting the interview with Mr Gross, we headed back down to Des Moines and found a coffee shop in the nearby town of Adel to plunk down and get some work done (our present campground does not seem to value what is constituted as 'internet' as much as the fine folks at Lebanon Hills. 

Another 6:30 wake-up call was on Saturday, when we had to make our way to Des Moines for yet another story - this time we were profiling the innovative Yoga In The Park program. It's a great story about how one many, Denny Kelly, came up with an idea, and the local Parks and Recreation department worked with him to make it a reality. Each week, hundreds of people turn up at Yoga in the beautiful setting of Grey's Lake. 

After shooting the story and being fed by the lovely people there, we ventured to the State Capitol of Iowa. We got a great tour from Marylyn who taught us all sorts of interesting facts about the building and its history. I have to say that of all the state Capitols I've seen, this one knocks it out of the park. It is absolutely gorgeous on the inside and out.

This next week, we will be making our way through Wisconsin and into Illinois. The map is getting smaller and smaller! We've produced our 71st story - it seems like such a larger number than 60 for some reason.