Thursday, June 19, 2008

Driving through Iowa

This morning the band flew back to Belgium and I had all day to meander back to Omaha from Des Moines. First I decided to drive in the direction of downtown and I saw a really fancy building with golden domes on top in the distance. So I drove up to it to see what it was and it turned out to be the state capital building. I never expected to see such a thing in Iowa, of all places. I went in and looked around. It's very cool.

Then I went down to look at the river. A few days ago it had flooded but everything seemed to be relatively okay at that point. The worst flooding was farther east, and it was especially bad in Cedar Rapids. The river in Des Moines was very muddy and turbulent and the railroad bridge was about 2 feet above the water. There were tree trunks jammed all along the upstream side of the bridge. It must be incredibly frightening to know that a flood is coming and not really be able to accurate predict how high the water will get. Having your house wash away in a flood has got to be at least as bad as losing it in a fire, and probably worse.

Between Des Moines and Omaha there is an area of Iowa that was settled by a lot of Danish pioneers who have kept a lot of their old country crafts and architecture. I took backroads all the way because I had plenty of time. Many of the barns were decorated with large squares that were painted to look like quilts. I guess these might the Danish versions of the hex symbols you see on the sides of barns in the Amish areas of Pennsylvania.

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