The Wide Angle: Hitting the road with a tolerance for Iowa

Published 7:16 pm Friday, June 9, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By the time you read this, I’ll be gone.

I’ve always wanted to say that.

But seriously, yeah, I’m gone — on vacation having screamed through Iowa in a break-neck effort to get down to the Orlando, Florida area as fast as one can legally drive.

Email newsletter signup

Also, because the first part of the trip was spent traversing through Iowa, I most likely was actually screaming. I’ll let you know for sure in further installments of “Nothing to see here.”

This is our first trip to Orlando in a number of years to see family and inevitably, thoughts and conversations of how to get there came up. At first we looked at flying, but both of us decided that we’re not that big of fans of flying anymore. The hassle, the being cramped with a bunch of other people in a tube for hours on end, the idea of some of those people opening a door for some reason while landing … you get the picture.

Pretty early on, when we knew that we were going to be heading south, we decided on driving and then getting a hotel on the way there. Sure a plane would have enabled us to skip Iowa all together (sorry, Iowa … you’re just so full of — flat).

But, we also rather enjoy the idea of driving. Me especially. There’s something about falling into the drive, observing the world pass around you and making the occasional stop at things that look interesting.

A number of years ago, when we first drove to Florida, we made a stop at the Lookout Mountain Battlefield Visitor Center, looking out over the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park.

It was a neat stop, not only because of my love of history, but because of the ambiance. I remember driving through a quaint little village while driving that was attached to the mountain and overall was glad for the opportunity to stop rather than skip over it on the wings of a plane.

But there’s also just the act of driving. One’s mind has time to think and in a lot of ways to calm — unless you’re passing through St. Louis. Then all of a sudden you’re the pilot of an F-16 banking left and right in an effort to avoid other traffic and escape as quickly as possible.

My stomach churns just thinking about St. Louis. Our last trip was not a fun one and I really don’t want to do it again, but we did because that’s where our route took us. I can let you know about that as well in a future installments of “Mmph … maybe we should have flown.”

For a brief period we — or more likely me — thought about taking a train to Florida. I’ve always enjoyed the idea of one day maybe taking a train somewhere. The interest of driving without having to drive. I still get to watch the world slide by my window, but someone else is doing the driving.

But clearly we didn’t and it’s because of two things: A) the effort involved in getting tickets requires a PhD in quantum mechanics to just understand how to get tickets.

OR, and this is more likely, I’m too dense to figure out a fairly simple process.

Not to mention the route available would have taken us all the way over to the east coast before heading down and that seemed unnecessary. However, there appears to be a fairly straight forward jaunt to Boston and from there possible north to Maine and we’ve been eyeing that trip for a while so maybe I’ll get my wish yet.

Regardless, I’m going to assume we made it to Florida without any issues and in a few days time we will have been turning around and heading back the other direction, with more time spent traveling the countryside of Kentucky and Tennessee, which I kind of like. It will give me something to think about when we cross the border into Iowa once again and dedicate the rest of my life to the eternal question — “there is no way this state can be this big?”