Diners and Truck Stops: The Lesser-Known Landmarks on the Iowa Campaign Trail

PHOTO: Ross Restaurant serves up delicious food along with campaign history in Bettendorf, Iowa.PlayABC News
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Presidential candidates are everywhere in Iowa this time of year, and as journalists move from coffee shops to Pizza Ranches and event halls, it's easy to fly past the many landmarks that make the state unique.

ABC News’ Josh Haskell takes you to a few of those in the eastern part of the state while he travels between campaign events.

1. Ross' Restaurant in Bettendorf

Opened in 1938 by Harold Ross, this 24/7 institution serves diner fare, including biscuits and gravy and ground beef with Texas toast. The “family restaurant” recently moved locations to a newer building, but hasn't lost its historic charm.

"What I feel like happens after a certain time is the restaurant becomes community-owned and we are but stewards of a place that is much more than my family now," said Melissa Freidhoff-Rodgers, a third-generation Ross and now one of the restaurant’s managers.

Ross' is frequented by presidential candidates campaigning in Iowa and Freidhoff-Rodgers recalls 2012 when President Obama showed up at the restaurant, ordering their signature dish, a “Magic Mountain.”

"The counter at Ross' is a place where politics are discussed and the world's problems are solved. Republicans and Democrats will sit on opposite sides,” Freidhoff-Rodgers said. “My grandfather didn't like any political party. We still serve baloney on Election Day.”

ABC News’ Josh Haskell takes you on a live-stream tour of Ross':

2. The ‘World's Largest Truck Stop’ in Walcott

The “world's largest truck stop” along I-80 has been serving truckers for nearly 51 years. The truck stop serves 5,000 customers per day and houses a dentist office, a barbershop, a chiropractor, a movie theatre and many other amenities. Presidential candidates cycle through while on the road and Carly Fiorina, Rand Paul and Rick Perry have all held campaign events inside the store.

ABC News’ Josh Haskell got a lift from a truck driver and takes us on a tour of the truckstop:

3. Maharishi University in Fairfield, IA

Maharishi University located in Fairfield, IA places an emphasis on consciousness-based education where students practice transcendental meditation twice a day as part of their studies. Students say practicing meditation allows them to not be stressed from school increasing productivity. The school also has an undergraduate and graduate sustainability program.

ABC News' Josh Haskell visited Maharishi University and spoke with students following their meditation: