Wagons East! Day 3


As promised, Nebraska became flatter.  We downloaded a book on tape, Sin Killer, by Larry McMurtry (whom we discovered in Japan, where we read Telegraph Days.  We’ve also watched the Lonesome Dove Mini Series.  Overall, McMurtry is pretty awesome).  Sin Killer took place on the American plains, which matched perfectly with our surroundings.  The novel frequently mentioned the melancholy of the plains, which is something I felt acutely.  There’s something so sad about so much wide open space – a loneliness and solitude that feels like it will swallow you up.

Around Highway 35 (Des Moines), we took a little detour to Ames, which is the home of the world’s largest concrete gnome.  In Ashland, E’s friend, D, had joked that it couldn’t be more than 6 ft. tall and he wasn’t far off.  The gnome itself was not that much taller than us, and the hat put it up into the 10-12 ft. range.  The gnome was located in the Reiman gardens on the Iowa State University campus.  It was fun to watch all the new students milling around with their parents, which was something we’d seen in almost every town we’d driven through.  I thought of how easy we had it as undergrads – parents taking care of everything and depositing us in our dorms, making trips to Target before we even knew we were missing something.  As we walked through the gardens in search of the gnome, E remarked that much of what was being grown was what he’d grown as a kid in Kansas.  A little sadly, he mentioned that it was weird to be so close to home and not be bringing me there.  We took a few pictures with the gnome and wondered obsessively about some un-labeled, awesome-looking black plants.  I’ll post a picture later and maybe someone can tell us what they were – a berry of some kind…

We drove on to Iowa City, back the way we came down 35 and over to 80.  Something we noticed, with disturbing frequency was the lack of helmets worn by motorcyclists in Iowa.  It didn’t matter if they were on the freeway or a city street or how fast they were going.  No one wore a frickin’ helmet!  We even saw someone in flip-flops on a motorcycle.  we couldn’t fathom a world in which it wasn’t a law to wear a helmet, but so many people were without one that we couldn’t help but wonder.  We arrived late in Iowa City and made our way to The Red Avocado, a local, organic, vegetarian restaurant.  We got there just before closing, but we were still able to get some much needed, delicious, nourishing veggies.  Back at the hotel, we watched an episode of Weeds and drifted off to sleep.

This entry was posted in In-Transit, Road Trip, usa. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Wagons East! Day 3

  1. Allyson says:

    Really enjoying the blog! xo Allyson

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