The Wichita garage sale and blues in Des Moines

Trip Start May 09, 2009
Trip End May 18, 2009

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Flag of United States  , Iowa
Thursday, May 14, 2009

Well I woke up earlier than everyone else again, so I decided to walk around town and get a coffee somewhere. I decided to turn left, and that was a good idea because I found a typical midwestern diner, Jeanne's. I ordered some coffee and the newspaper, chatted with a big fat man in suspenders and the waitress who had been working there for 12 years.

This soon got tiring, so I went back to see if anybody had woken up yet. Turns out no, so I walked back down the street again, and I found a sign for a garage sale.

OK, well I guess I'll see what's there.

After about a 20 minute walk, I find that it is filled with Barbies for sale.

"Whoah, I used to have this one when I was a kid!" I say, picking up the "glamour gown" or something, Barbie.

The petite woman with long mousy brown hair, bangs and large glasses takes a drag off her cigarette and smiles.

"Now you're making me feel old, honey."

I smile and look at a few more, she really has an amazing collection. These things could be GOLD on Ebay. Too bad I don't have enough room in the truck to start my Barbie selling business. I look around at some other stuff and decide to buy a real Air Force shirt. It's got buttons and could be warm enough to be a jacket. I will need a jacket. It's already cold in Kansas, it's only going to get colder on the way north.

Everyone is STILL sleeping when I get back to the house. So, I read the little guest book that our hosts have on their coffee table. It's full of people that partied at AJ's place, nice stories and kind words, drawings and more.

Slowly but surely, the troops are rallied. They wake up and for some reason, I recommend that they go to the garage sale. Why do I open my big mouth? I don't know. So Shannon, Ryan and Adam all go, then they go for some weird donuts for breakfast. There is a famous place in Wichita where you can get "bacon maple" donuts and donuts with cereal on top. Weird.

I decide to stay and hang out with the people at the house. Joey and some other guy who seems to be really excited all the time. Today though, he is especially excited because he is preparing for a cello examination. Those crazy classical musicians.

About an hour later, everyone comes back and we are ready to leave. Off to Des Moines!

The driving again is uneventful, aside from some UN-calibre debates on everything from abortion rights to bilingualism.

We got there with enough time to walk around a little bit, the city is full of incredible dichotomies. There is one street that is absolutely immaculate, clean, full of after-work diners chilling out on patios, sipping wine. But if you turn one corner, you find yourself fact to face with the dregs of society.

We parked our car in such an area. Tom, the parking attendant, wearing a dirty Vietnam vet trucker cap, directs us to Fong's Pizza, where we will be meeting Billie Greenwood and our host for the night.

We talk to him for a while, as another customer drives in. I couldn't resist, so I took a picture of the white bread snadwich he left on the bumper of a random car. I giggled uncontrollably. Ryan needs to wash some clothes so he does that, I throw my Air Force shirt in there as well. It smells like cigarettes.

We walk around some more, find some kind of anarchist book stor and talk to the crazy owner for a while. Then, we go back to Fong's to find David and Billie. Luckily for me, it seems a lot of people actually showed up to this one. We much some Thai pizza, talk to Billie about her work at the Mexican border. She has just come back from spending a few months out there helping migrants in the area. She's definitely got an interesting life. Now that she's back in Iowa, she'll be helping the homeless at home.

Billie's got a long drive ahead of her, so she leaves a bit early and the rest of us go to a blues bar, Blues on Grand. It's open mic night and there are quite a few talented people taking the stage. It's a nice night. No one really dances though, unfortunately I'm alone on the dancefloor again.

After all the bands, we went back to David's house and promptly fell asleep.
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billiegreenwood on

a party on wheels!
Thanks for choosing Iowa as one of your stops on the great cross-country road trip, Louise. You're like a mobile party...attracting quirky fun like a magnet. I really enjoyed meeting you and your friends. Take care and see ya on Travelpod!

starlagurl on

Re: a party on wheels!
Haha, Billie you are so sweet, thank you. Follow the party to Toronto again this weekend!

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