Saturday, September 12, 2009

Rainy Day on the Road

We left Madison in the rain and drove for about 6 hours to DesMoines, Iowa. It was NOT a fun drive. When we neared DesMoines we saw there had been an accident involving a semi on the east bound lanes. You wouldn't believe how far the traffic was backed up. We were thankful that the westbound, which we were on, was clear, and felt very sorry for the folks who were delayed for such a long time going the other way.

The next day the weather was better, and we
toured the capitol building. There is just oodles of free parking downtown in Des
Moines as you can see from the picture. Very easy access, and convenient. This capitol was just a little less ornate and showy than the one in Madison, but was also a beautiful building. We and another couple about our age (retired) were put with a group of mentally challenged people. In many ways that made our tour more enjoyable, as some of them were quite expressive in their comments and answers to the tour guide's questions. She handled the tour very well, and we thought it was a good experience.

The women who accompanied the group as aides were wonderful at helping the less verbal member express themselves, intuitively knowing what they were trying to communicate, as when one fellow, upon hearing the "when the old building burned down" story, wanted to share that his church had burned down recently. One of the men was quite excited to hear we were from Canada, because his cousin lives there!

After the group tour was finished, the guide offered to take the four of us older folks up the narrow circular stairs to view the rotunda from high above. I'm very claustrophobic, but was able to handle it by being the last in the group to go up. That lets me feel as if I have an "escape hatch." There was a tiny balcony around the top of the rotunda, but I couldn't get myself to take a picture from up there. I kind of hugged the wall behind me. But on our way down, I did manage to take this neat snap of the stairwell:

That's daylight WAY down there at the bottom. That little tiny bright spot in the center indicates the bottom of the stairwell.

We then went a block down the hill to the National Museum, a very modern building, with excellent displays. We learned how the political system works in Iowa, and were very impressed with how involved the people are in the primary process. Seemed to me like a very democratic way of doing politics.

We had our dinner in the Barrata Cafe there, a large serving of chicken cacciatore, very delicious!

Then we spent a short time at the public library where I was able to get time on a computer and pick up and send some email.

As usual, we spent the evening in our motel room, reading and watching a bit of t.v.
A nice restful time together after another interesting day.

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