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Some 55 years of road trips through Iowa to visit all the Freedom Rocks


A couple from Conrad gives new meaning to the old phrase “wedding on the rocks”. What started as a home escape during the pandemic has turned into a road trip through Iowa. The couple have now visited over 60 of the Freedom Rocks, intending to see all 99. Every Thursday morning, Al and Pat Schiebel get into their van, pull out their map and leave for a new county to see another. Freedom Rock. The first stop this week was Black Hawk County and a boulder that features the five Sullivan brothers killed in WWII, among other members of the local service.The weekly trips have turned the Schiebels into road warriors. Pat believes they have covered over 10,000 miles since January. “We’re just taking it straight to Minnesota or straight to Missouri,” Pat said. “So we do four or five counties per trip.” The couple started taking road trips last summer to break free from the boredom of sitting at home during COVID-19 quarantines. Now that they’ve started visiting Freedom Rocks across the state, their days off are nine or ten hours. “I think during this COVID-19 virus it helped us mentally and just have something to do,” Pat said. “And sure, it’s wonderful to travel around the state and find things you didn’t know.” After 55 years of marriage, you might assume they got it right. But Freedom Rock’s tour brought them even closer. “We get to know each other,” Al said. “We talk to each other.” “Yeah, I don’t have my nose in a book and he doesn’t look at his phone,” Pat said. “So we learned to communicate again.” And there are long roads to go with over 30 Freedom Rocks to see.

A couple from Conrad gives new meaning to the old phrase “wedding on the rocks”.

What started as a home escape during the pandemic has turned into a road trip through Iowa. The couple have now visited over 60 of the Freedom Rocks, intending to eventually see them all.

Every Thursday morning, Al and Pat Schiebel get into their van, pull out their map, and set off for a new county to see another Freedom Rock.

The first stop this week was Black Hawk County and a boulder that features the five Sullivan brothers killed in World War II, among other local service members.

The weekly trips turned the Schiebel into road warriors. Pat believes they have traveled over 10,000 miles since January.

“We’re just taking it straight to Minnesota or straight to Missouri,” Pat said. “So we do four or five counties per trip.”

The couple started taking road trips last summer to break free from the boredom of sitting at home during COVID-19 quarantines. Now that they’ve started visiting Freedom Rocks across the state, their days off are nine or ten hours.

“I think during this COVID-19 virus it helped us mentally and just have something to do,” Pat said. “And of course, it’s wonderful to travel around the state and find things that you didn’t know were there.

After 55 years of marriage, you might assume they got it right. But the Freedom Rock tour brought them even closer.

“We get to know each other,” Al said. “We talk to each other.”

“Yeah, I don’t have my nose in a book and he doesn’t look at his phone,” Pat said. “So we learned to communicate again.”

And there are long roads to go with over 30 Freedom Rocks to see.

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