Iowa, it's not that badPosted on September 12th, 2007 after 4492 miles by Dean Croshere.
Yesterday I decided I was going to stay nearby. I was going to hole up in a motel (one that was at least a little nicer, wifi was a must) and get some work done. I still had video to edit from Coeur d' Alene and I was in North Dakota.
This would also give me the chance to relax I had promised myself.
I spent most of the day finding Tollef Tollefson. I did find him in an adventure that included mystery, tragedy, and a kindly old man. Then that kindly old man again. It'll be in an episode. (Yeah, I've promised two now and I haven't started editing either yet. Maybe I'll do another motel in a few days to catch up again.)
Anyway, I finished my search and decided to plan ahead for my room. I remember all those awesome Priceline Negotiator ads and decided to give it a shot. I searched for hotels that would give me the same price as the "so cheap your imaginary friends can sleep free" joint.
It put me at a cushy Mariott that usually charges twice the price. I guess they aren't kidding about saving 50%.
So I stayed in Sioux City yesterday, just over the border into Iowa. All I remember from Sioux City is that the city itself smelled odd. I kept trying to decide what it reminded me of. Some kind of food. If it had been delicious home cooking, I would have said it smelled great. Instead, it was probably some mill on the river. I decided it was sickening.
I only had a short drive to make. 3 hours the fast way, 4 hours the long way. I naturally took the long way.
I expected Iowa to be horribly boring. I mean, it's Iowa. You never hear anything about Iowa. Just some big midwest corn state. That's why I was stunned by this hill. I really enjoyed the trees and the fields beyond. I drove down it before deciding it was worth a Boxer shot. I found an old motel to park at and carried him down the road for a bit. There were a million butterflies about. They kept lifting off the ground, flying a few feet further in front of me, landing, then repeating as I caught up a again. A fun little dance, distracted me from the weight of Boxer.
I don't think the picture captures the view at all. Now that I look at it, it just feels ugly. I think the clean clear air (even next to the highway), the sounds, the butterflies, and the feel of the trees just made the environment.
I got back on the road and drove for an hour before coming to the windmills.
I had been fighting the wind the whole drive. The entire time my car pulled to the left. The northerly wind was strong. The wind turbines were no surprise. I decided I had a great opportunity for some Boxer shots and turned on a dirt road to go find them.
I had hoped to get right up underneath them, but I eventually gave up. I figured I could get a pretty good shot and took this picture.
I went to turn around and pulled a few feet further ahead... into a little road that led right up underneath one of the turbines.
It is tough to capture how big these things are. I'd say they were.... really big. I'll print it here in about as big a picture as I can get in an attempt to show the size:
These things are also incredibly unnerving. I'm sure the size of them is part of it. They are so slender and tall. then there are those gigantic blades spinning about. They look so slow from a distance, but when you are standing underneath them it is impossible to avoid imagining what would happen if that thing came off, way up there, spinning like that.
Then there is the noise. I thought about recording it, but I figured no recording would do it justice.
The wind is blowing hard. You can hear it whistle by your ears, a low howl. The corn is dry and rustling about. Crackling and brushing in its tight rows.
The windmill is overhead, towering over you like a giant, completely ignorant of your existence, devoid of caring for your plight.
The generator hums along inside the windmill, the beating heart, the high pitch oscillating just right to resonate with the wind in your ears. Thoughts of a UFO in a bad sci fi movie fill your mind.
Then, on top of all of it is the maddeningly repetitive, predictable yet uncontrollable, woosh, woosh, woosh, woosh, woosh, the blades make as they spin so perilously overhead.
All the while, you are standing in the middle of a field.