After a peaceful three-night stay, we were on the move again this morning. We left South Dakota behind and crossed into Iowa, the highway following the Missouri for a while before entering fertile flatland east of the river.
Short of the Nebraska line we exited onto a three-digit Interstate that joins up with I-80 east of Omaha and draws a bead on Des Moines. Poker-straight but rolling, it’s a hundred-mile drag-coaster of a road.
Along the way my earlier predictions for field crops were confirmed. Virtually all of the corn is still standing. Grains are about half-in.
Over the years I’ve driven I-80 a bunch. No matter the state, it comes with three guarantees: heavy traffic, lots of long-haul truckers and shitty pavement. Today we got all of that, plus a bonus — more road-going assholes than I’ve ever seen heading in the same direction at the same time.
Traffic is what traffic is, of course. Getting pushed around by the bow wake of big rigs goes with the territory, too. But there’s no excuse for this kind of beat-up and undulating pavement, and it shook bus’n’us for 85 miles. That stretch of road made notorious I-71 in southwest Ohio feel like a sensory-deprivation session.
The coach’s suspension absorbed jarring bumps the best it could but “porpoised” more than normal. Everything, it seemed, rattled and squeaked. The sunshade on Deb’s side of the windshield shook itself apart. The braces stabilizing Ernie’s slides made disturbing noises but, fortunately, they didn’t fall.
We lost count of how many times we were cut off or had to duck a high-speed brush-back move. Once I tried to change lanes to give a wide berth to an emergency vehicle on the right shoulder, with plenty of room to make my move, but I was passed on the left shoulder by an SUV driver who couldn’t be bothered.
So much for “Iowa nice.”
A while back, Iowa was one of the states I identified as suspect in terms of individual Liberty — not as repressive as neighboring Illinois, certainly, but way too willing to dismiss its citizens’ birthrights to appease an ever-growing segment of progressives.
It didn’t take us long to stumble over an example of the state’s dubious character. At the first rest area we visited, right outside Ernie’s windshield was a sign prohibiting smoking on that state property, even outdoors. If you wanted to light up, the sign commanded, you’d have to stay in your “personal” vehicle and roll up the windows.
The placard even included a “snitch line,” allowing meddling Karens to “report complaints.”
That’s pretty creepy. Consider that it’s also quite consistent with the nonsensical “pandemic theater” we’ve seen nationwide over the last 18 months.
There’s no scientific basis for it whatsoever. Whether it’s masks or vaccines, guns or cigarettes, the only reason to impose and enforce decrees like this is control.
We miss South Dakota already.
By the time we arrived at our destination, I guess you could say that Iowa hadn’t impressed us much. The campground where we’re staying, however, makes up for it — a sprawling place surrounded by quiet farmland, tons of charm. Since the park will close for the season on Halloween, this weekend they’re celebrating it early. They’ll have plenty of activities for kids, hayrides and such, and every campsite is occupied.
We’ll be off the road tomorrow. At some point we’ll hop in Mercy and drive 20 miles south to visit an old Heartland town that’s holding its annual festival. Should be fun.
After an annoying day like this one, we could use a dose of fun.
Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.