day 1: minnesota to iowa
Ahhhh Iowa. This state has been the bane of our road-tripping existence for as long as we've been doing this. Then again, as Rico says, "We've chosen to live in Minnesota, we have to get out somehow." So basically, we endure Iowa to get to the rest of the world.
The day started with house sitters and dog sitters and packing and repacking. Punk, Kooka and I are coming off of three weeks of camps and workshops, so I feel much less organized than usual. We've literally been running from one thing to another. As a matter of fact, the first stop on this trip was picking up Punk after ten days of acting camp. He starred as "Claude" in a remake of Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing," performed a musical selection from "Guys and Dolls" and played a Russian guard in a combat performance.
The show was longer than we anticipated, which put us a little off schedule, which would have been fine, if not for Iowa.
Seriously, it's always something with this place - construction, unidentifiable aromas wafting into the van, the sheer "nothing-to-do-ness" of the place, crashing Buddy Holly's plane and today - tornadoes.
Yep, after a stop at the Albert Lea truck-stop McDonald's for dinner (a road trip tradition that I would happily relegate to "back-in-the-day" status),
we headed into Iowa. And while I'm not usually one for having people all up in my business, I thanked heaven for big brother and the weather alerts we all received on our phones. A tornado had touched down 15 miles from Nowheresville, Iowa, and the national weather service had managed to find us - and about a dozen other people who huddled together at a rest stop until we were in the clear.
It got pretty nasty, but I will at least say this for Iowa - they own it. The rest stop was built like a nuclear fallout shelter complete with touchscreen podium with various satellite images and dollar radar animation, showing just how much danger we were facing. But no worries, because the lone employee, a woman all of 85 years and 85 pounds, saw the flash flood warnings, and calmly took two yellow "caution wet floor" sandwich boards outside.
Thirty minutes later, we were back on the road, dodging two other warnings on our way to The Wildwood Lodge in Clive, Iowa.
On the upside, Yoda saw her first ever rainbow in Iowa, which was a pretty great start to our adventure.