Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Day 32: Life is a Highway…in the Middle of Nowhere Surrounded by Cornfields

Leaving the Super 8, the bikers were bussed to Anita (10 miles away) in the Mystery Machine to begin the day where they left off. Country roads would be the choice asphalt for the day, and the scenery would be unlike anything our group had come across thus far faced.

Pushing away from Anita, the first 15 hilly miles of the trip were dotted with enormous wind turbines that would put even the Dutch windmills to shame. These skyscraping turbines helped us realize that one day we could solve the energy crisis, and dumping billions of barrels of useless oil into the Gulf of Mexico should be the first stop. Those executives at BP were brilliant!

Past the oversized fans, cornfields soon became more cornfields and the eye could only see a sea of green and yellow. Emptiness. Though this was far from any morbid emotion: mile upon mile of cornfields and farms formed the backbone of America. This was the land, the state that bred the highest average SAT scores for the last ten years. This was the real America: enormous, relentless, and oblivious that the world was becoming more and more technologically advanced.

Arriving in waves, Des Moines was introduced to us by the lovely Rick and Dena. Hearing about our ride from friends, the two willingly took in seven unshaved strangers, and gave us advice on the many sights of Des Moines. Learning from the two, our team traveled into the downtown area and was drawn closer and closer to the golden domed (extremely gaudy) state capital building. With snacks in hand, we sprawled out across the steps of the capital and watched the sun fall on the steel stalks of the city. Heading home to eat a delicious home cooked meal, our group was enthralled with the couples shared stories of their travels and college experiences (which, I might add were only a few years ago). The night of stories and laughter reminded us of summer nights back home with our friends, and as the light left the state of Iowa, we had all counted our blessings for such amazing hosts.

In talks before bed, the plan for tomorrow is to combine two days of biking and make it all the way to Iowa City. This 120 mile ride, would be the longest of our journey, and, to be honest, the odds are better for BP actually stopping the oil in the gulf than for us making this journey.

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