Thursday, July 7, 2011

Day 36-July 6, 2011- Iowa City, Iowa

Dearest Readers,

Today is a story of the road and corn. Etta and I zig-zagged at right angles south and east, south and east, south and east across a good part of Iowa on two lane state roads, straight- as-a-bent-arrow right angle turns again and again stair stepping our way to east-central Iowa City. So here are a few of the highway sights.

*Followed a slow pokey truck pulling one of those big jellyroll bales of hay near Dickens
*Stopped to stand at the edge of a sea of corn ad infinitum, and feel the bio-heat in front of me
*Big corn depots in Emmetsburg
*Old-timey downtown of Cylinder dominated by its grain silos
*Lunch with Etta in a roadside park in Clear Lake
*Wind farm aliens near Waterloo

We arrived in historic Iowa City, home of the University of Iowa around 4pm and immediately met Dana Haugaard, formerly of Atlanta and now getting his MFA in sculpture at the University here. We’re standing in front of his professor, Jim Snitzer’s home who took this picture. I returned Dana’s six Hand to Hand gloves and hands. This one is made of dollar bills, hand stitched and softened into a comfortable Iraq War glove. I like college towns like this. It reminds me of a prairie version of Bozeman, MT (U of MT) and Starkville, MS (Miss State). Mid-sized towns with cool shops, coffee houses, well-kept Victorian historical areas, socially conscious, creative minds in full bloom.

Etta and I pitched our tent at the Coralville Lake Dam a few miles outside of Iowa City. We face a massive pile of rip-rap rubble which is part of the dam itself. The Coralville lake water is on the opposite side, innocently slurping against this wall of stone.

A roaring tailwater pours through a tunnel in the dam from the lake right next to the campsite, creating a blast of whitewater sound. Unfortunately I did not stay here long. I loved the weirdness of the site, but I did not feel safe. The area was empty of other tenters. Cars with solo men would park in a lot nearby, drink by themselves, or make long phone calls. I felt exposed and vulnerable. So I moved uphill to the lakeside where I found the familiar RVs and families with kids and grandkids, electricity and showers.


  1. I'm glad you listened to your instinct and moved to the other site too!
    Just curious to how Etta is acting now that she has strong traveling sea legs? Can you tell if she's always excited by the next adventure, happy to move on or wanting to stay? Wish she could blog!

  2. Went to a boyfriend's college in Iowa once and remember well those fields and fields of corn! Your descriptions are always so vivid, I feel as though I'm on the trip myself!

  3. Thanks all for your concern. Yes, Etta is still enjoying the trip. She jumps in the car each morning, but needs frequent stops. She's also gotten much more sociable with people and other dogs. I'm amazed by her new social skills and her patience in encountering a new situation. I forgot to mention my homage to the wheatfields. Such a short plant in comparison to corn...almost weed-like, but perhaps the basis for civilization and perhaps the arts, laws and community life.