Republican presidential hopeful Sam Brownback kicked off his summer road trip Monday — a 1,200 mile, four-day, 27-stop tour through Iowa.

The Kansas senator's tour features visits to city parks and town squares in a bus plastered with his name — an appeal to Iowans who expect a first-hand look at candidates vying for the White House.

Brownback's wife, Mary, and his two youngest children, Mark and Jenna, both 9, are along for the ride.

Brownback said he hopes the road trip through Iowa, which launches the presidential nominating season with its precinct caucuses, will attract attention to his message of uniting social and fiscal conservatives.

"A lot of times, you go into towns that frequently don't get visited by candidates, and they're excited to see you, and I think it will be a great public opinion bath for me from Iowans," he said during a conference call with reporters during which he talked about the tour.

While Brownback has lagged behind Republican front-runners Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Mitt Romney, he says he's willing to put in the extra effort to reach voters.

"I guess that's what I learned growing up on a farm. You get up early, you work hard and you go to bed tired," said Brownback, who grew up on farm in Parker, Kan.