Thursday, August 25, 2011
An Eye for an I
August 23: The sun came out and banished the dark at seven and I was shortly on my way. Less than an hour later the dark had returned with a vengeance, Apollo running with tail tucked before the mighty Zeus and his lightning bolts. A vicious biting rain followed. I had no choice but to push on, my poncho of little effect against the downpour.
By 8:30 I was overjoyed to see a sign for Shady Creek Recreation Area. I dashed underneath the shelter there and waited the storm out. The precipitation petered out, but my gear was soaked so I spent a few hours air drying everything.
Shady Creek, like Clark's Ferry (see yesterday's episode) is an Army Corps of Engineers Park. The Corps built a series of levees, dams, and locks over the years to control the raging hormones of the Miss. The parks came free as part of the package deal. The land was set aside for recreational use of the great river, providing opportunities for visitors to conduct a variety of activities, most of which revolve around boats and fish.
Around noon Apollo had reasserted himself and I headed back onto the trail, following Highway 22 along the river all afternoon until I reached Muscatine. This cute little river town of just over 20,000 boasts a booming economy, with manufacturers like Hon, Kent Feeds, and Heinz Ketchup all based there.
I didn't see much point in moving farther onward, so I made inquiries at the library about a place to stay. Nancy, Dan, and Joan were very helpful and, after a couple of false starts, they pointed me towards a Men's Bible Study Group, who met in the library at seven.
The gentlemen there welcomed me with open arms, embracing my mission whole-heartedly. One of the members, Ken Irwin, promised to put me up for the evening. I joined the meeting, which dealt with revenge and how it is an endless circle that solves nothing and destroys the vengeance taker's spirit. I decided then and there to drop my thirty year vendetta against Eddie, the boy from my first grade class who hit me with a spitball.
Ken took me home where I met his lovely wife Lois. They are Muscatine natives, but like many of the folks who have taken me in, have traveled the continent extensively. The couple has also picked up hitchhikers and drifters before so I was not a new sight to them. Not that I am either of those things.
Ken and Lois made me feel right at home, setting me up with a bed in their sun room, getting me a shower, and drying clothes, which thanks to my complete lack of patience, were actually still quite wet. Go ahead and score the first point for Iowa hospitality.
14 miles/1358 total miles