I really am trying – and while I could say “Iowa, it’s not you, it’s me”, the truth is … so far, it is you.
I finished up my last assignment in Oakbrook Terrace IL on New Year’s Day. I was not excited about being out of town for NYE and New Year’s Day – but sometimes, stuff happens. And the fabulous boyfriend braved the Megabus ( all went okay ) from Indy to Chicago to ensure we would end 2014 and start 2015 together. Yeah – he gets bonus points for that. We feasted on ribs and pulled pork at Real Urban BBQ, and ended with a couple brews at Christopher’s Speakeasy. Nothing fancy but we also avoided the need for reservations and toasted the New Year with champagne back at the hotel. People who work in hospitality learn to be flexible, as sometimes your holidays are celebrated when business dictates. We drove back to Indy together and I got a decent weekend at home before today…
Which brings me back to Iowa. When I crossed the state line, and the large sign said “The people of Iowa welcome you” and “Fields of Opportunities slogan underneath – I got a little hopeful. The drive so far looked a lot like home, cornfields and gas stations. While I was tempted to stop at the Worlds Largest Truckstop, I knew there was a snowstorm looming and kept pressing forward, wanting to beat the storm to Des Moines. Initially, the snow was not an issue. It was the trucks that kept zooming past me and with each, a cloud of white dust that instantly created blindness. The closer I got, the more snow that fell and blew across the interstate. Each snowplow truck created a hazard, ironically – with each passing. I live in Indiana, can and have driven in snow and ice there, in Ann Arbor, Chicago, etc. This was different. Even 100 miles away from my destination, I was trying to think of a back up plan. But I kept going. And then 12 miles from my exit, all traffic stops. An accident ahead had closed down the interstate. No other info, but based on the number of ambulances and tow trucks that edged by – it was a big one. And we all waited. and waited. I updated my friends and family with pictures of the storm on facebook, yes – to make light of the situation but also so they would know where my car was. Pretty soon , we were sitting in 2-3 inches of snow. When traffic moved again, it would not be pretty. I knew my patience was thin as an 8 hour drive turned to 11, but perspective won out. After all – I was not in the accident. My rental car had plenty of gas, good heat, and my phone was charged up. Eventually , the accident was cleaned up and my white knuckle drive continued . I made it to hotel , updated family and friends and unpacked.
Can we make a fresh start of it, Iowa? I’m not good at second chances but there are 10 more days. Maybe some great meals, a local brew and some sunshine could turn this around. I’m willing if you are.
Readers – should you know of some great places to visit in Des Moines, please share 🙂