Thursday, May 30, 2013

Midwest in a Blurrrr

The Frank Gehry designed building across from my hotel
The morning I left Cleveland the wind ceased and the sun shone. I can't stay another day because I have to cross two thirds of the United States, visit some friends, drop off the Interstate for a few miles, and make my drive seem casual all in five days. No problem...a walk in the park, a can of corn. But first I had to get one more photo of the Frank Gehry building with actual sunshine before moving on.

One last breakfast d'elegance at the Glidden, finish stuffing my meager belongings in my duffel, run down the back stairs, jump into Cheeky and drive. This time I really have no direction home other than west. I poured over a map of the US and had three rough out choices for a camp. Potato Camp near Lake Michigan seemed like a good start. If I make it fine...if not....well...there's always a motel.  Leaving Cleveland the sun continued to shine and did so throughout the morning. In the beginning I stuck to some backroads that lead me through Amish communities but soon I needed to make some quick miles so I drove onto the "Toll Road" and drove fast out of Ohio into Indiana. As the sun began it's decent I began to pay more attention to the GPS as I approached New Liberty, Indiana.

Wondering through Amish country was peaceful
I made one slight error before leaving the Glidden House. I programmed Minnie to a town near the state park where I thought I should spend the night since the state camp ground wasn't recognized on my GPS. Not a problem but I forgot I programmed a close address when I got to the area and only realized it when I made my fiftieth turn in the rural farm lands of New Liberty. I programmed the local state park, Potato Camp and quickly discovered I went about 30 miles out of my way. Oh well I got to the Potato State Park and the girl at the front gate said they had a tent spot but it would cost me $7.00 and then proceeded to the actual camp ranger station to get my site pass, vehicle pass, and the set of camp rules and pay an additional $32.00 because because it was Memorial Day Weekend. It was late so I continued to drive on to my $39.00 camp site along with the 200 other family campers. The only difference between me and my fellow outdoor seekers was my tent verses the rest being in RV's. I drove to my site that had a nice large shade tree and a grassy area and erected my tent.

Next to me was a nice young family sitting at the camp supplied picnic table next to their older RV having a crockpot dinner. With my tent complete with sleeping bag and Therma Rest, I began digging around in my provisions box to see what I was going to prepare for dinner. I must have looked pretty pitiful because the dad walked up and offered me a hot plate of scrambled eggs and potatoes nicely mixed together. I thanked him and as he walked back, I pulled out my salsa to spice up this midwest delight. After cleaning my plate I pulled out a box of Bisbee chocolates and walked over to the family and gifted them the sweets. The whole family thanked me and it wasn't till the middle of the night that I awoke and realized I neglected to warn them that one or two of the sweets could have chili powder in them. Oh well what do they expect from an eccentric old fart from Bisbee (where ever that is)

Rain all the way across Iowa
It was just past seven when I climbed in my tent to read. Within minutes I was asleep and didn't wake until 5:30AM. Refreshed I went to the park bathhouse,  took a hot shower, had some cereal, broke camp and was on the road by 7AM. I knew this time I had to make 600 miles to Des Moise, Iowa but as I left Indiana, the sky turned dark...I mean it was like someone turned off the light switch. The coal black clouds began to dump rain and it didn't let up even as I entered Des Moine, a town much larger than I had ever expected. I stopped at a pub that served cajun food.  Ordered dinner, a beer and then came to the realization there was no way I could camp in this storm so once again I searched for a hotel room and this time it was The Fort at Des Moise Hotel, a large vintage hotel with a history of playing host to a number of presidential candidates. I schlepped my bags to the 5th floor, did some writing and quickly hit the sack for the next day was going to be my longest reach across the Midwest.

The Fort Hotel overflowing with political heritage

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