Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Day Nine -- Iowa Observations

Hard driving day today. No time to stop and see any of the local sights. So this will be just a few random observations from my drive across the state.

Shortly after I crossed into Iowa I thought I smelled sauerkraut. Early today, as I drove rural roads, I again smelled sauerkraut or cooked cabbage. I figure it was probably a farming smell. Maybe manure. Not awful, just distinctive.

Yesterday as I was finding my way to Storm Lake, I noticed off in the distance a few windmills -- the modern kind, not the old Dutch kind. Then I looked around a saw bunches of them. Again today as I continued through the northwest part of the state I saw several more fields of windmills. I wonder if farmers are leasing part of their land to a power company.

You can't drive diagonally across the state. Most of the roads are north-south or east-west. You have to sort of tack, like sailing into the wind. I'd wanted to stick to rural roads, but I needed to make better time, so I started on back roads and gradually moved up to ever larger -- and faster -- routes. I guess the label "avenue" denotes a north-south road, but it's really strange to see a street sign for an avenue marking a dirt road. No, I didn't take any dirt roads.

Corn. Corn Corn. As far as the eye can see. Corn. I'm sure they grow other crops here, but corn is what you will see.

As I approached Davenport on the eastern edge of the state, the traffic got thicker. No more wide open roads probably for another month. I made a wrong turn and had to find my way back to the highway. Then when I got into Davenport and could see the motel I wanted to go to, I made a few mis-turns and ended up in the far left lane of what I thought was a one-way street. It wasn't. The drivers turning into the lane were very compassionate and polite. I managed to get into the proper lane and get to the motel without causing an accident.

Nice, inexpensive motel. Room is half the size of some of the giganto rooms I've had, but quite adequate. Walked across the crazy intersection where I'd disrupted traffic earlier and had a very nice dinner at the Thunder Bay Grill.

Trivia: The one thing I know about Davenport? This is where Cary Grant died two decades ago. He was here for a performance. Just something I picked up when I was working as an abstracter back then.
Tomorrow it is on to Michigan. Kalamazoo? Battle Creek? I'll see how far I can get. Just driving. No sightseeing. And I have to figure out where I will lose another hour as I enter the Eastern Time Zone. Want to get to my aunt's house in Pontiac early on Thursday (my birthday). BTW, after days without a cell phone signal I was finally able to use my phone once I reached Waterloo.

Also: I updated yesterday's post with links, photos and a bit more detail (in italics).

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