Friday, June 26, 2009

Iowa - Davenport, Iowa City, Des Moines, Adel, Stuart, Council Bluffs

“I was all for it. Iowa!” (12).

“In the afternoon we crossed drowsy old Davenport again and the low-lying Mississippi in her sawdust bed ..." (223).

“… he balled that thing clear to Iowa City and yelled me the funniest stories about how he got around the law in every town that had an unfair speed limit …” (13).

(I'm not positive that I took this picture in Iowa City--I lost track)

“Off we roared, and an hour later the smoke of Des Moines appeared ahead over the green cornfields” (13).

“… I immediately got a ride from a farmer and his son heading out for Adel in Iowa” (14).

“But we stuck together and got a ride from a taciturn man to Stuart, Iowa, a town in which we were really stranded. We stood in front of the railroad-ticket shack in Stuart, waiting for the westbound traffic till the sun went down …” (15).

“We arrived at Council Bluffs at dawn; I looked out. All winter I’d been reading of the great wagon parties that held council there before hitting the Oregon and Santa Fe trails; and of course now it was only cute suburban cottages of one damn kind and another, all laid out in the dismal gray dawn" (16).

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I didn't spend a bunch of time in Iowa--I pretty much drove straight through this state and Nebraska, as I was trying to make South Dakota that same night. I tried to find something exciting about Iowa, but I didn't have much to work with; I remember lots of fields, lots of small towns indistinguishable from one another, and an almost mindless sojourn through the state. Call it tunnel vision from all that driving, but I genuinely couldn't muster Kerouac's enthusiasm for the state. Granted, he stayed there longer than I had, and he also had company, but I think I would have a hard time keeping myself occupied in Iowa. I felt almost glazed-over once I hit the beginning of Nebraska, but once I crossed sleepy Iowa I felt a slight surge in energy, a surge resulting from a slight (emphasis on slight) change in scenery into Nebraska.

I felt I missed something, so to be sure I had asked someone I met in Colorado (he was from Iowa, visiting the Rockies) if there was something I should have seen or done while I was passing through. After Iowa, I was beginning to suspect the midwest was going to be the least intriguing part of my journey.

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