Scatter my ashes here...

Scatter my ashes here...
scatter my ashes in the desert...

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Iowa: Like Wayne's World, Only Different

Remember in Wayne's World when Wayne and Garth are fantasizing about becoming famous on TV, and they do this bit about being in Delaware?

"I'm in....Delaware."

That's how I felt today in Iowa. There is definitely too much of a good thing.

First thing out of Omaha, I crossed the Missouri River into Iowa.

I expected it to look like more of Nebraska.

More new and old windmills here, too.

I was wrong in my assumption. The state is more scenic than Nebraska, in my opinion, with more windmills, hills, farmland, trees, and old agricultural buildings. But after driving across Nebraska yesterday, 300 miles of Iowa was over the top. I'm ready to look at something else, anything else, even if it's the lanes of a track for 400 or more laps.

Never too far from home.

Fortunately I arrived in Eldridge, Iowa, site of the Cornbelt 24 Hour Run, at 1:30 this afternoon. The drive from Omaha was shorter than I anticipated, only 5 1/2 hours. Things are slow in Iowa. The speed limit is slower, people move slowly, and everything seems to go at a geared-down pace. That's okay with me, I can afford to slow down a bit.

The signs kept reminding me that I was definitely in the Midwest.


There were a couple of billboards along the way that I wasn't able to photograph fast enough. One said, "Pork. Be inspired." Don't worry, I am soooo inspired.

But the winner? The "Really?" billboard of the day: A big ad by Monsanto, claiming 23 million jobs depend on farmers. With American Gothic-like couple on the billboard. Gag me with a genetically modified corncob. Shameless corporate scum of the earth.

Upon arriving in Eldridge, I turned off the highway and immediately saw the hotel that is hosting the race, and the town is so small that everything is within walking distance. Not if you're getting ready for a long race, though. But driving from the hotel to the track will take about 2 minutes. That's good- I need all the sleep I can get!

The pre-race meal is at a place called Lancers Grill. Hmm. I guess it's better than Lunkers (Okeechobee, Florida).

I parked at the local grocery store and did a tour- seems like they have just about everything I'd need, minus the variety. I think I'll make a trip to Walmart tomorrow in Davenport for my race supplies, just about 15 minutes away. I bought some ice to start cooling down all the drinks in my cooler. I drove around town, checked out the track, and the town is cute, Americana-like. Picket fences, green lawns, quiet.

There's also an eerie-ness to it, hair standing up on the back of my neck, like I kind of get the feeling that I shouldn't be asking if they have matzoh ball soup, hummus, or baba ganoush. I did infuse the Iowa air with electronic Persian music though, I listened to some Niyaz on the drive. It felt like Iowa needed it.

People were friendly at the grocery store and gas station, but they definitely look out the corner of their eye at you after you look away, seeing this stranger in their midst. Yeah, I know. A little ethnic-looking. I won't hurt you.

I took a walk for a mile or so on a bike path near the town park, called Dennis, and stretched my legs. It's warm and humid here. Just the way I like it. It feels like walking through the mist from a shower, like I'm in a cloud,and the sky looks hazy all the way down to the ground. The Mississippi River is east of here, just a few miles.

When I got to the hotel to check in, they were very friendly and asked me questions about running. The hotel is sold out for tomorrow night before the race. It's a pretty good-sized place for a town this size, but it's the only hotel in town.

Now I just need to relax and stretch out until tomorrow when the pre-race activities begin. Doug and Marji should be arriving in the afternoon tomorrow. I'll probably go to Davenport in the morning, maybe check some things out, stop at Walmart, and then come back to Eldridge.

Not a lot of exciting stuff, but it's what I need now.

Race day forecast: High 80, low 60, high humidity, isolated thunderstorms, chance of rain 30%. Whatever that means. I'm ready to rock n' roll!


mike_hinterberg said...

Yes, Delaware. Classic!

It may be considered bad form to be somewhat critical of your host state. But in this case, it's a state that stained the political map by spreading Santorum during the primaries.


But discourse is always good. When you have time, you may be interested in this Atlantic essay that created quite a buzz a few months ago, which matches some of your own observations. You may especially enjoy the dog references at the end:

Game on!

Alene Gone Bad said...

Thanks Mike! I'll check out that link once I recover a bit and get home.

People were really nice at the race, and it was one of the better races I've seen over the years. Definitely worth doing.

Game on! Excellent!