Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Traveling 800 miles a day is too many.  The world goes by as a blur through the window, This is not the same as experiencing it.  By the second day of our trip, our legs hurt and we were becoming restless. Gas usually costs $4.00/gallon discouraging us from taking this U-Haul truck very far off Interstate 74 or 80.  Also, we were only allowed a specific amount of miles from West Virginia to Nevada.  We didn't want to go over that  number.  So onward we drove . . . and drove.
Towns rushed by our window: Peoria and Davenport, Illinois. Then we crossed the Mississippi.  
It is a long way across Iowa.  I am sure Iowa is a nice place to live.  The people are probably plenty nice, but they aren't real friendly. To me a friendly person can look you in the eye, might say, "hi." and will  give more than yes/no answers in  response to attempts at conversation.  Probably Iowans would better be described as "reserved" rather than "unfriendly."  
In two trips, nobody was ever mean to me in Iowa but once I was unable to get a conversation started with a bartender when there were only 4 people at the bar.  Not rude, just not "friendly."  But remember, I have spent most of my life in or visiting southeastern United States which sets a high bar for friendliness. 
Finally we reached Council Bluff, Iowa. Near the end of our trip. 
Council Bluff is/was the starting point of the Mormon Trail.  Until the 1860's most wagon trains gathered here before heading west toward California and other newly settled lands.  Transcontinental train travel slowed the wagon trains down but they continued intermittently until the the late 1800's.  
Today, though Council Bluff is known for other things. Along with Omaha, Nebraska, it is part of a large metropolitan area. It is also home to some well-known Bridge Art. 

Like many new art installations, this one comes with plenty of controversy.  The "hands" have been blamed for at least one car accident and have brought Council Bluff plenty of insults and compliments.  I believe they are supposed to represent the modernity of Council Bluff. 
Some travelers have thought more of the hands of Edward Scissors Hands.
In the Mid 1800's the Stephens-Townsend-Murphy exploration party crossed the Missouri River at what is now Council Bluffs to blaze a new trail to and through the Sierra Nevada Mountains. In our rented truck, we followed mostly the same route now known as Interstate 80. When I thought about the struggles of those pioneers on the trail, traveling for weeks, trudging across America, I almost feel guilty for complaining. I said, "almost."
For now, like those Pioneers, we crossed the wide Missouri still driving west.


Out on the prairie said...

So close to me,I grocery shop in the Bluffs. I am 15 min south of there.I have another home on the other side of the state also.

Beyond My Garden said...

So, Prairie, What do you think of the sculptures? I kinda like them.

Beyond My Garden said...

As I read back over this entry I want to make it more clear that "reserved" is not the same as "not nice." Iowans are nice and polite. They just seem to want to wait to know me better before committing to friendship.