One of the best parts of my trip was renting a car and driving from Chicago to West Bend, Iowa with my two pals. We went to see 'The Grotto of the Redemption' a complex of artificial caves built out of curious minerals by Father Paul Dobberstein and a few helpers over 80 years with most of that work being done in the 40 years Father Dobberstein was alive.
It's an amazing work of art in the middle of nowhere and is made extra special because of its hard to reach location. Driving for 8 hours through soy bean and corn fields get you in the right state of mind to have the visual processing part of your brain overloaded.
It's something you should see in person. It's the homespun midwestern version of Gaudi's Sagrada Familia. I'm not Catholic or even religious but I have to admit belief in a higher power makes monumental works of art like this possible. I agree with Salvador Dali that Catholics make the best artists. You can't be a self absorbed modern artist and have the will and drive to spend 40 years of your life gluing rocks together for no financial or sexual rewards.
The church nearby was beautiful as well and had really extreme and violent scenes on the stained glass windows. There was a shrine done in the same style as the grotto but made more mysterious through clever lighting.