Goodbyes and Stage Two
Trip Start Sep 22, 2009
12Trip End Oct 05, 2009
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Packing was a mission for all but we got it done and got the car packed successfully. We headed into downtown Des Moines one last time to see Alicia and Nate. The drive was all good until two blocks before the hotel where the road merged from to lanes to one and I didn't quite adjust properly. The kerb won and I got some air much to Mark's horror and Kym's laughter. The very next block there was a police car which was somehow hidden from our view. Phew! Mark and Kym did a quick check when we got out. I just walked off :p
The brekky hall at the Embassy Suites was PACKED... turns out everyone slept in! Everyone dived for the fruit and buffet line except for me. I didn't know what I was lining up for at first but I hung around and figured I was in the omlette line so I stayed and waited. And waited. And waited some more. Eventually I got my brekky and sat down only to eat bugger all of it cos, well, I was still ill.
After brekky it was quick goodbyes to Alicia's parents and Heather and Michael (Alicia's best friend and Heather's husband) before heading off to the airport. Once there Alicia and Nate had to check in straight away as they were heading off for their honeymoon. Alicia seemed to have some trouble with the ticket machine but got there in the end (I had my share of trouble later in the week). We grabbed some photos, traded hugs and then Alicia and Nate had to disappear through security. Four years of not seeing her and it was all over in four days. Mark and Kym had only a couple of hours before they left and I had to hit the road so it was goodbyes to them also and off I went. Road Trip!
I headed to Knoxville, 45 minutes away from Des Moines and the home of sprintcar racing. Mum and Dad took me to the speedway in Bunbury a lot as a kid and as much as I hate oval racing I love sprintcars. The drive down was really nice and Knoxville was very quiet. I arrived at Knoxville Raceway and the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum. It was dead quiet and I was the only person there. The guy behind the counter was very friendly and asked where I was from. He said he not only knew where but had been to both Claremont and Bunbury speedways so it was great to meet a true fan. As I was the only person there and had travelled so far he gave me a key to one of the suites and told me to go and have a look. I went up and into the suite (much nicer than Bunbury's) and had a look at the track. The pits were in the centre (all bitumen as opposed to Bunbury's grass), the stands were big and the track itself consisted of Black Iowa Sand (Bunbury's is clay).
I stayed up there and just looked around the track for some time and then headed back down and into the museum. I wandered around the museum which was small but really cool as a lot of memorabilia (including full race cars) was of drivers who I had seen race or had read about in the local race meet guides as a kid. Upstairs was the Hall of Fame part and again it was good to see how long the Hall of Fame had been in place and who was in it. Most of the people I knew of had been inducted more recently than earlier. There was a documentary about the World of Outlaws (most prestigious sprintcar series in the world) which I watched in the theatre before heading downstairs for souvenirs.
I headed back on the road and onto my next destination; the motel two and a half hours away. The drive was very nice as I headed from the south of Iowa to the north through the middle roads. I saw a lot of corn and not much else. Oh there was a river at some point haha. An hour away from Dyersville and I had to stop to stretch, eat and take on my next challenge; fuelling up the car.
Now this doesn't sound like much of a challenge and that was my thought at the time. I jumped out, opened the cap and spotted that I had to prepay for my fuel. I could pay by credit card so no problem. I swiped the card, followed the instructions and popped the nozzle in. It told me to lift something but didn't exactly say what to lift. After looking around, putting the nozzle back, cancelling the card, swiping the card and repeating all the above I finally played tourist and went inside. The guy helped me out and I finally found what I had to lift well down below eye level. Bloody stupid pump. So fuelling was easy from that point so I went in, grabbed some supplies and headed outside again. I bought a bottled ice Starbucks coffee which I was a little apprehensive about cos a) it was Starbucks and b) I'd had a bad experience with non-carton milk products in Singapore. My feelings were confirmed when i drank it. It was horrible.
On my way again for the last hour and the sun was starting to set. I reached Dyersville, exited the Interstate, drove underneath and followed the GPS to the motel... or so I thought. So after I wound up driving back down the Interstate in the opposite direction to which I came I found a place to turn off and around and tried again. This time I ignored said GPS and took what I thought was a back entrance in but more a poorly sign posted front entrance. I checked in and since it was a Super 8 it was the same as Indianola; except I had an armchair. Score!
Being alone and without proper power connections I went in search of shops. Dyersville only had one main street but it's shops were surprisingly spread out along it. I tried all the shops to no avail and went back and grabbed McDonalds for dinner. I was a little skeptical about this idea due to my ill health to date that was only starting to get better but went ahead with it and it was not too bad. Probably what I needed really. Although the burger (Double Quarter Pounder) was smaller than in Australia. Bastards!
Having no proper socket connections I decided against sitting on the computer for too long and watched an NFL game on telly. I was pretty tired from what was a big couple of days so far so I had an early one. Ahh sleep.