Sunday, September 30, 2012

Pink Truck


I saw this truck on a street near my house. I wondered about the bird and crown motif and  figured it would be a nice  complement to my Crocs (or compliment if you are so inclined).

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Flying And The Keys

Modern commercial flight confuses my brain. Two thousand miles, a time change and half a day, and I'm gone from the corn fields of Iowa and back over the salt ponds and mangroves of Key West. If I flew for business as pilot or passenger my head would explode from trying to cope with all the changes at once. Breakfast in a Des Moines hotel and dinner at Santiago's Bodega. Phew! Pass the bottle...

As I stepped out out of the flying cigar into the moist warm air of South Florida I could feel my skin breathe a sigh of relief after all the dry cold air Up North. The lovely warm salty air washed over me like a wave as I stepped out of the plane and off the old fashioned ladder onto the tarmac for the short walk to the terminal.

It's a landing that reminds me of the glamor photography of the sixties when starlets posed in front of those commercial airliners ordinary folk aspired to ride. Flight was expensive and exclusive, reserved for the wealthy and the famous who stood at the top of the steps posing in absurd hats and handbags. Then they made it cheap and accesible when oil was cheap and now that Peak Oil is pushing up the price of oil we still demand cheap flights which leaves airlines going broke and passengers squished in steerage as helpless as cattle in a slaughterhouse. Nowadays anyone with money or time finds a better way to travel, TSA-free charters, trains or the unbeatable classic road trip. Next time, I promised myself as I stood in line in the minuscule loo in the terminal waiting for a smelly turn for relief, next time I will be the captain of my own ship navigating the crumbling roadways of America.

She was glad to see me, her big fat yellow tail swinging wildly as she hopped around unable to believe reality. I hate seeing dogs ignored when they express that sort of excitement so Cheyenne got her full fifteen minutes. It was barely enough.

I got the six am wake up call, a wet nuzzle because Cheyenne knew that me being home meant only one thing, a pre-dawn walk was unavoidable. I temporized trying to delay the inevitable so by the time we got on the road the sun was already well over the horizon and it was a good one, the sunrise we had missed. So good I snapped a quickie as we drove through Big Pine Key. I was still thinking about the miracle of flight. I took another picture closer to our destination, West Summerland Key. 15 minutes in a car transported me across two islands, while a quarter of an hour in a plane would have got me across two small sized states.

The thing about flying is that it's fast and convenient if you need to get there then, but overall it's a dire experience, filled with absurdity. It's not like a train where you walk to the station and get on and leave. Flying involves lots of hurrying up and waiting. I am late to the party when it comes to the nuances of 21st century flight, but nowadays I have discovered you have to check yourself in, pay extra to check a bag via contact with an impatient human being and then go through the absurd rituals of the Richard Reed Memorial security check. It's all about safety they tell us as we remove our shoes and lay out potions and lotions for examination by inexpert members of the formerly unemployed. But they do get us where we want to be.

The thing is they also tell us to not under any circumstances turn on our electronic 'devices' while the plane is struggling to leave terra firma because if we do, it will crash. So it occurs to me that were I a terrorist I'd get a group of my friends together, leave the box cutters and bottles of shampoo at home and board the plane with a perfectly legal bundle of 'devices.' Turn them all on at once and poof, there goes your plane. Of course they could no more force people to check their 'devices' than they can stop themselves from demanding we take off our shoes in that ridiculous safety dance we put on for the sake of social security. We want to be safe but God knows we don't want to be separated from our accursed devices. If we think how unsafe they make us, our consumerist heads explode. Of course riding a motorcycle is as unsafe and pointless as anything and far more absurd a way to travel then actually leaving the ground with the firm conviction that we shall return to it in perfect safety.

I'm no anarchist, I like order and detest chaos so I shuffle along in all appropriate lines and remove my shoes and belt and pack my penknives in my checked luggage ($25extra) and I never ever turn on my Kindle-in-an-iPad until the captain says so. I find it reassuring he remembers to care enough to let me read while he works.

On the whole, if I have to fly I'd rather be a bird like cormorants sitting on a power line perhaps, or an eagle soaring free, not a lesser spotted consumer taking off his shoes before passing through a nudie photo explosives detecting machine.

If I play my cards right I get to stay in the Keys for a good long while and the closest I'll have to get to a commercial plane is watching one fly low over the roofs of Old Town making a great deal of noise. Me safe down here on my properly muffled motorbike, and them Up There in the thin air teetering on the edge of annihilation with their 'devices' in their laps. Good luck brave fliers.

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Angry Bee Scooter Club Of Key West

Yesterday was a totally crappy day as far as the weather was concerned. Cheyenne and I got in a dry sunrise walk then she demanded another walk later as I hauled trash to the dump in the trailer. She stood on the back seat of the car looking hard out of the passenger window at the mangroves flashing by. That's her way of howling "Let me out!" so I did and we went for a second sunny walk of the day. Then I left her at home while I went to pick up Layne's scooter fully repaired after the recent belt breakage at JK Motosports on Stock Island, also known as Jiri the Miracle Mechanic.

My plan was to leave the car and trailer on Stock Island and ride my wife's refurbished Vespa into the hectic traffic plaguing Key West's torn up streets. Instead, as if on cue, the skies opened as soon as Jiri had run my credit card and handed me the keys to the ET4 Vespa.

The rains hammered down in a typically brief summer thunderstorm. No problem I said, I'll wait till the rain passes. So I waited, and I waited and I continued to wait. The rain fell ever more insistently on the just and unjust alike including two other scooter riders trapped in the shop.

I never did exchange names with them but we were three juvenile delinquents stuck on our rides waiting for the rain to pass. I wanted to ride with them into town actually, they were on Yamaha Zuma 50s stopping by Jiri's shop to plan modifications to their heavily modified rides and I thought they were typically cool Conch kids. They reminded me of my youth when Giovanni and I hung out in motorcycle shops dreaming of evermore power and bigger engines and greater speeds....sins of my youth! We bantered for a while and the black kid started laughing. "Did you see the movie The Hangover?" he asked. "You remind me of the crazy guy." He giggled and asked Robert, Jiri's assistant if he knew what he meant. I hadn't a clue as I never saw the movie. I'm going to have to now as apparently I am the spitting image of Zach and the kids now wanted to ride into town with Zach. To that end Jiri issued us with old waterproof jackets that the kids immediately struggled into. I tried and failed and gave up on riding in the rain.

They sounded like a nest of angry hornets when they fired up their modified scooters and I thought they looked like angry bees dressed in glowing yellow jackets. I actually was sorry to see them go.

If you're under 21 you have to wear a helmet in Florida, and you can't drink. I told the Latino kid he would be a holy terror when he could drink and ride. He laughed and winked at me. "I'm 21 in December," and I'm pretty sure he will be a much more responsible adult than he was letting on to the inimitable "Zach." His age is borne on his tag, the red badge of youth and sobriety.

I had the car and I didn't need to get wet so I checked my phone and found no storms showing on the weather radar which didn't stop the rain continuing to come down hard. Robert was working on an Aprilia scooter which he says is very difficult to get to under its layers of plastic bodywork and I watched him for a while.

Jiri was tuning a crotch rocket in brilliant orange. He posed like a serious Czech mechanic about to appear on the Internet. In real life he laughs a lot and can't stop talking about his four year old daughter. I chatted with him for a while as the rain crashed down and thunder rolled overhead.

And then through the rain came the afternoon's pièce de résistance a lovely black Vespa PX150, the spitting image of the white P200 I went to buy in Iowa. This one was attached to a hack.

$4500 for sidecar and scooter combination, top speed 40 miles per hour and spare wheel included. They made room for the combination which was suffering from a dead electric starter which I suspect is attributable to low mileage from a strange story of mixed ownership. The kick starter works fine though, although the relationship that spawned this machine in Key West isn't doing so well according to the rider.

The rain was still pouring down and the drenched Vespa rider asked for a lift into town in my car. I told Jiri I'd be back after I was done in town and took off with the trailer in tow and the stranger in the passenger seat.

The Vespa apparently belongs to his ex-girlfriend who bought it because she didn't want to ride bitch on her boyfriend's scooter. So he got his motorcycle endorsement to ride the 150 she bought and then they broke up. Bummer and the Vespa is leftover, orphaned and looking for a home. No I don't want a 40mph combination and the sidecar is too small for Cheyenne to fit. I suggested he sell the sidecar on the web and buy the Vespa, which he likes, from his ex. He sounded dubious.

The rain stopped by the time I got back to my wife's Vespa with my new health insurance card from work. I quickly loaded the 65mph 150cc scooter with its new drive belt into the trailer and drove home. That was a hell of an afternoon at Jiri's yesterday in the laid back Florida Keys. My phone never rang but I got all the entertainment I needed from my neighbors. A great day at the shop.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Walkers Keep Right - Des Moines Part Two


Mine was not a bad plan. I entered my destination, 3800 Fleur Drive in the phone's navigator and got a firm blue line across town, carefully avoiding points of interest and entanglements like parks and lakes and any such fripperies. I determined the walk would do me good and I figured there was more to see in Des Moines than four lane highways. I got one half of the equation right.
The statuary in the park deserved more time than I had available. Darkness was falling rapidly as clouds closed in overhead, and I took pictures as fast as I could (and will add them as soon as I can figure out how) but I didn't take the time to match information boards to scultpures. I saw a wild range of creatures and fantasies lying around in the grass.
I saw bugs that looked decidedly Kafkaesque, a bronze see-through horse with head hanging in the style familiar from the illustrated Don Quixote and a cogitating jackrabbit with huge floppy ears sitting atop a squashed ball.
There were no bums to be seen passed out in alcoholic stupors (they can't survive the winters, I was told with some satisfaction by a local. Snow has it's uses) but there were small children running while screaming in Spanish, families of dishwashers and laborers giving Des Moines a splash of ethnicity.
if we're going to be honest I probably looked more like a gentleman of the road than any of the I encountered as I took off along the sidewalk that led through the park, past a brewpub/hip restaurant and over an impressive iron arch dedicated gorge Washington Carver. A young woman with an even younger black Lab approached and I stopped to ask about the park I planned to walk through. In Key West incompetent tourists are constantly calling 9-1-1 after they get locked inside the cemetery at dusk and we have been issued a key to give to officers sent to release the silly buggers. I think the sexton got tired of being woken up at all hours to rescue the stranded. I did not want the same stranding fate to befall me.
I was quite encouraged by her laughter at my preoccupation, "I think you'll be okay," she promised completely unafraid of an unscheduled encounter with a stranger at dusk on an unpopulated sidewalk. I walked on, crossed the bridge which spanned a rather unprepossessing river lined with mud and rocks. Here I figured was evidence of the prolonged drought that wrecked food crops this summer across the Midwest.
Large deciduous trees, maples and oaks perhaps, lined the path along the riverbank and I marched steadily along my feet shuffling dead leaves already barely visible in the failing light. My navigator's blue triangle on my phone was adapting well to my driving eccentricities and obediently showed my place on the thin gray line that marked the walking path through the park. I was not lost, amazingly enough.
I was not alone, for lots of people were out jogging and a few were cycling, all properly dressed for the event in ridiculous tight shorts and brightly colored t-shirts all cut off from the world around them by ear phones, those excruciating little plugs that sit snug inside the ear canal and give the user a headache. I noticed one other thing, everyone kept to the right. It was as though they were driving, though being locals they had no need of pocket navigators as I did. They walked and ran and cycled as though they knew where they were going because they did. I kept pausing to study my phone, or send a text message to friends at home, and my distraction led me to abandon the strict right side of the path quite frequently. It was on one such occasion when I was startled into levitation by a rough deep rasping hacking cough that sounded like it had come from a not entirely pleased mastodon.
Imagine my surprise when a dainty young thing in black flapping a pony tail and striding smoothly along in a manner that denoted total control passed me on my left! She flashed me an irritated glance to remind me that my eccentric middle of the road walking had almost caused to her alter her pace, god forbid. I shriveled under the glare and promptly shuffled back the curb. As she swept imperiously by I saw another jogger, a man my age who should have known better than to wear spandex in public, approach from a side trail. I was astonished to see him look carefully to his left and time his arrival on the main trail just as though he were driving a freeway onramp. He joined the flow with nary a hiccough. It was clear to me, as I reined myself in one more time and stumbled back to the curb, that Iowa is a complicated place to take a walk.< br />
Gray's Lake shone black under the glare of street lights, a pale moon and utter darkness from the west. There were crowds enjoying a balmy fifty degree evening made bearable for me by the absence of breeze. They sat in family groups at picnic tables and exposed their bare arms to what seemed like should have been frost.


My bag was heavy, my motorcycling woolen long sleeved undershirt stuck to my sweaty arms and my boots were starting to feel heated on my pounding feet. I had perhaps a mile to go to the hotel. I was determined to keep off the multi-lane Fleur Drive as I approached my destination.

In retrospect the message in the billboard spoke to my inner depths about my faith in the accuracy of the little blue triangle. Anyway after the joys of the park and the bikepath I followed my blue navigating triangle through a residential subdivision of brick apartments, eanisive grassy areas dotted with canopy trees dropping browner leaves and no sidewalks. To my astonishment I had located thenonly hill in all of Iowa and I went into low gear, shuffling my suitcase strap onto then other shoulder, lowering my head and charging up the hill like a doomed Confederate in Pickett's Charge. The top of the hill was no such thing and I climbed still further trusting my navigator to take me where I would never otherwise have gone. I was wandering through private neighborhoods, places where strangers aren't supposed to venture, apparent dead ends that opened by surprise into other narrow wooded streets, known only to locals and my GPS. Eventually I followed the blue triangle to my destination, a little checkered flag on the map which was not, itturned out the hotel. No it was, much to my surprise a, Methodist church, which as attractive as it was, did not hold a reservation for me to sleep. Puzzled I crossed the side street and staggered into a Quik Stop gas station. I could have used the emergency phone I saw standing alone and unused in the park. I don't think Des Moines has too many emergencies. It's a very well regulated town and I heard no sirens.
I called the hotel and immediately realized my error. 6800, not 3800, which my little blue triangle figured was 1.7 miles away and four minutes by car further down lovely Fleur Drive. Not on my feet. I was toast. Had Genghis Khan's hordes been coming to rape and pillage me I would have stood there and told them to have at it, I was past caring. I wanted civilization, first world amenity and babble on a television screen to wash away any lingering coherent thoughts in my aching body. Now I had to use the Web function in my life saving Saint Bernard of an Android phone to find a Des Moines taxi, take as long as it might to arrive in this corner of Siberia.

There are occasions, I admit it reluctantly, when this Atheist has a hard time rationally explaining away miracles and one such occurred right there at the execrable inconvenience store. My feet were steaming, I was hungry past caring as I had forgotten to eat lunch had any been available that afternoon on the bus and my sweat soaked long sleeved undershirt was turning to frost in the glacial night air. I was sweating and freezing at once like an arctic explorer facing frostbite, not like any sensible visitor to Des Moines should be feeling. As I fiddled with the phone my Lord and Savior took time out from saving souls in African missions and separating fighting heathen in foreign lands, and sent an unoccupied cab to the fuel pump right in front of me.

What's more Sergei was delighted to have a passenger as he was driving unoccupied in my direction to get in line at the airport and I was just a bonus in his schedule. I bought cheap beer, all they had, and a hefty sandwich and a banana to devour in solitary splendor in my room (the idea of dining in a restaurant fully clothed appalled me. I wanted nothing to do with sticky damp clothes for the next twelve hours) and got in the cab. We had a cheerful ride as I explained my predicament. Sergei laughed a Russian laugh and looked through the passenger window pointing out Fleur Drive was no place to take a stroll. I looked at the crumbled curbs, patchy grass, broken signs, potholes and puddles and was reminded of North Roosevelt Boulevard and agreed walking here would have been absurd. I told Sergei I was delighted to be arriving at the hotel in a sensible cab and he was my cover for my crazy walking idea. He giggled delighted at the idea of pulling one over on the snooty hotel clerk and we made sure he parked solidly in front of the doors as I poured myself back onto my aching feet. I gave him ten bucks for a six dollar fare and he was delighted. I got a key and a free cookie (”complimentary" in the lingo of modern business euphemism where reality is eschewed) from the delightful clerk who made no mention of my disheveled fleeing refugee appearance and I collapsed in my palatial $84 room. I had coffee, bottled water, and an hundred channels of babble, a hot shower with dry towels and a vast spacious bed. I was where I was meant to be. At last.

I suppose one could say the GPS is a brilliant tool for finding one's way, and I further suppose that had I not had it I would never have seen what I saw strolling through the city. Without GPS I'd have been obliged I to call a cab upon arrival at the awful bus station. Of course had I been riding the Vespa...it would have been paper maps all the way. Until I got lost, then I'd have had to revert to the advice and support of the Great Saint Bernard in my phone. May I never leave home without him.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Testing Blogsy

So I have three pictures and as I work with this alternative blogging format I am struggling. However I do want to have an alternative to Blogpress and I am trying to keep an open mind. Blogsy may be better if I can master it. I know some readers want bigger pictures and this seems to offer them. Sigh

The pictures look larger, even though they are laborious to upload, thirty seconds each, instead of instantly as on Blogpress. Here's a second one.

And here for good measure is a third.

I like Blogpress because picture uploading is instantaneous and I can line up the pictures and write between them. Here I twiddle my thumbs while the pictures selected are uploaded and I can't put them all on the page before I write.maybe I can but I have to work here to learn how I can format the page on my iPad. However this is a much better App than the original Blogsy I checked out last year when you couldn't even write on the same page as the pictures! And I can upload more than one picture per post. So if you like this look let me know and I will try to switch to this app. It is not at all intuitive so I may lose patience with Blogsy.

 

A Short Walk In Des Moines Part One

I have long held to the belief that intelligent telephones drain the intelligence from humans and I would resist joining the herd for as long as I could. However the inexorable march of technology drives skeptics like me to the curb which is an unpleasant place to be.
Consider that when I was a child when lost it was natural to approach a stranger, preferably one grounded in the unknown community by a job, and that stranger would know how to get where you were going. It was normal for gas station attendants to know their communities and it was normal for them to give directions to strangers.
Nowadays the idea that a stranger can get directions from some semi-educated clerk in a store or behind a gas station credit card machine -which customers operate by themselves these days- is ludicrous. Thus it is almost impossible for a Stranger in town, traveling without a smart phone, to find his way. Thus one has to ask what advantage do paper maps have over electronic ones in this modern google-mapped world? They are nothing more than back up in case of power failure or nationwide terrorist attack by electro-magnetic pulse.
In light of the fact the end of civilization is not in sight, perhaps over the horizon if we listen to voices other than those of the mainstream press, I decided I could join the herd. I still know how to read a paper map after 50 years of doing it but watching my wife become an expert navigator after years of failing hopelessly, convinced me it was time. And so it was I found myself walking the streets and paths of Des Moines convinced I knew where I was going.
I strode with confidence through the wreckage of people at the Greyhound station, avoiding the touts like a big city pro and promptly took a wrong turn. I realized I had to get my own start on the program because the phone has no walking mode that I have yet found and the little blue triangle was taken aback by my lack of progress and left me stranded while it paused and tried to figure out what kind of vehicle made no visible progress.


I had almost six miles to walk to get to the hotel which I figured would take a couple of hours. It was not cold in the asphalt jungle and even though the sun was hidden by clouds and darkness seemed to be falling fast I figured I could enjoy a short walk through Des Moines. It seemed wholesome after so much sitting to stroll with my suitcase over one shoulder and my courier bag over the other. I was balanced and the load was light. I walked and looked as I went.


The first thing that struck me was the quantity and quality of the parking garages. The whole area was filled with multi story parking lots designed with all the care one expects an architect to lavish on an office building. They were as tasteful as a parking garage could be, not like the grey cement horrors inflicted on the good citizens of Key West.


These were in shades of brown and gold, delineated with stainless posts and wires, illuminated in the dusk by the warm glow of orange sodium lighting. Clearly the supply of parking is inadequate as there were plenty more cars parked on the city streets. I guess the more you build the more they drive. If the electro-magnetic pulse does come some unhappy day these immense garages will be suitable monuments to the era of JH Kunstler's ironically titled Happy Motoring.


I had the gall to stop a harried looking man with white hair and glasses who had the misfortune of stepping across Grand Avenue onto my piece of sidewalk. He wore a conservatively blue and white striped shirt, carried a briefcase and looked like a businessman rushing to a meeting. Nothing deterred I asked if all of Des Moines consists of parking garages. He paused and looked around resembling slightly Steve Martin pondering a comeback but was forced to admit that yes, around here there were a lot of places to park. He looked taken aback by the revelation forced upon him by a stranger with an odd accent. He slipped into Chamber of Commerce Mode and waved at downtown talking about the riverfront named by French explorers for some reason "Of The Monks" ('des Moines' in French), and the library a modernist copper cube designed by a British architect and the park of modern sculptures at 15th Street.


He brightened as he remembered he lived in a culturally rich town, a place with more than many parking garages.


I blame myself and my Aspergers but somehow we got onto the forbidden topic of politics and Iowa's role in Presidential elections. I wondered why Iowa figured so little in the national debate and Steve !Arron bristled at the suggestion. "President Obama got his start when the Iowa caucus came out behind him," he said. But I said there is much more to Iowa wondering why I know so little about the state that dominates reporting for several weeks every four years. For this Obama supporter as he shyly admitted he was to a perfect stranger, the caucus was as much of Iowa as the nation needed to know about the Hawkeye State. "we just had a strategy meeting," he added as though to convince me of the worth of the straw poll vote open to anyone in this white bread state that supposedly sets the tone for the Presidential Election to come.


I followed his suggestion and too a peak inside the library which on first contact looked within as conventional as it looked unconventional from without. I felt like a hobo going into the library loaded with luggage so I beat a retreat and contented my self with admiring the statuary in the park.


Is it just me or is that thing particularly phallic? - Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Riding The Dog

When things go wrong they don't stop going wrong just because your scooter blew up. There's a certain knock on effect. Take yesterday. A quick glance at this entry will show no pictures. Why? Well, because the Vespa blew up...of course! It happened like this.


I got a ride during Jeremy's lunch hour to the Mason City Greyhound station and there I sat for several hours waiting for the afternoon bus to Des Moines. It's in the airport and that puts it in the middle of many Iowa cornfields. An American without wheels is half a human being and I was uninspired to walk anywhere so I sat close to the power outlets, snuggled inside the warm envelope of wi-fi and safe from the cool 55 degree breeze.

The bus driver was a pink skinned granddad out of a 60’s TV show. With a thick flat Minnesota accent he took the little old ladies' bags and stowed them carefully. He ushered us into his bus like grandad welcoming the family to Thanksgiving dinner. The bus was quite full but the almost empty rear bench was occupied by an African American youth sprawled in the corner, a mountain of flesh topped by a hoodie radiating blackness in an all white bus. I made a beeline for the other end of the bench. He grunted I said hullo and we rode in silence for two and a half hours.


The riders between the all white driver and the all black corner seat at the back were polite and silent, sleeping and reading and staring out at the passing cornfields in the strong autumnal sun. Then another African American boarded at the Boondocks motel stop, a fading fifties motel with peeling paint and diesel pumps for trucks. It wasn't Ramrod Key for sure. But it was where the second African American passenger joined the bus.

He was older, gray haired tall and thin and stooped and he sat near the front. The bus took off. Into the roaring of the engine and the silence of the well behaved passengers came a sudden extraordinary sound. Someone must have unplugged their headphones...a harmonica tore through the silence, riding the scales like the bus was riding Interstate 35. The women in the bus looked around seeking the alpha male with the balls to entertain us. I saw heads darting between seats like prairie dogs checking for the source of the sound. Shoulders shook and laughter rippled. Suddenly we were in a wagon train making our own entertainment far from home. Everyone perked up.


Once he had the bus' attention the old black dude sucked the passengers around him into conversation. How you doin' hows the grandkids, how we be riding the bus - stuff like that. He had them in the palm of his hand, a little more mouth harmonica and then he dropped the F bomb. just conversationally, you understand, in some thought I couldn't catch at the back of the bus. But there it sat like a huge dog turd at a garden party.

There was a sudden collective sucking of Midwest breath across the bus. Jabba the Hut sitting across from me started shaking, trying to hold his laughter in. I made eye contact almost by accident and he turned to look out at the cornfields. It was a joke reserved for particular passengers and he was the only one on this bus in that particular tribe. I was excluded and returned to my Kindle. The bus returned to prim silence.


As we approached our destination the passengers, unasked, dropped their trash in the specified container and I wondered about the ones going on to romantic destinations like Omaha, Dodge City and Cedar Rapids. I know enough to know Wyatt Earp is now just a legend but I wanted to keep going riding the prairie. I'm sure they are all dull towns but they are names to conjure with. Me? I had a hotel reservation next to the Des Moines airport. 5.6 miles away according to my GPS, why yes I have drunk the electronic cool aid. It looked easy enough on my little map, I figured if I walked I would see a bit of Des Moines.

Tomorrow my walk through the Iowa capital. Keep Right At All Times.