CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (KCCI) — A couple from Conrad is bringing a new meaning to the old phrase “marriage on the rocks.”
What started as an escape from the house during the pandemic became a road trip across Iowa. The couple has now visited more than 60 of the Freedom Rocks, with plans to eventually see all 99.
Every Thursday morning Al and Pat Schiebel get in their van, pull out their map, and set off for a new county to see another Freedom Rock.
This week’s first stop was Black Hawk County and a rock that features the five Sullivan brothers killed in World War II, among other local service members.
The weekly trips have turned the Schiebels into road warriors. Pat figures they have driven more than 10,000 miles since January.
“We just take it right straight up to Minnesota or right straight down to Missouri,” Pat said. “So we do four or five counties a trip.”
The couple started taking road trips last summer as a way to free themselves from the boredom of sitting at home during COVID-19 quarantines. Now that they started visiting Freedom Rocks across the state, their days out last nine or 10 hours.
“I think during this COVID-19 virus it’s helped us mentally and to just have something to do,” Pat said. “And of course it’s wonderful to travel around the state and find things you didn’t know were there.”
After 55 years of marriage, you might suppose they’ve gotten things pretty well figured out. But the Freedom Rock tour has brought them closer still.
“We get reacquainted,” Al said. “We talk to each other.”
“Yeah, I don’t have my nose in a book and he’s not looking at his phone,” Pat said. “So we’ve learned to communicate again.”
And there are long roads ahead with more than 30 Freedom Rocks left to see.
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