Monday, August 29, 2011

Smell No Evil

August 29: Nick drove me out of Ottawa for good at 7:30 in the morning. The young man was considerate enough to only try to kill me on a single occasion, when he decided that a one way sign was not worth paying attention to and turned into three oncoming lanes of traffic. There was a Hardees immediately to the right, so we thought it might be a good time to grab a biscuit, which we did. We parted in Ely and I was back on the road in Iowa once more.
Odors good and bad were the theme of today's trek. With the polls closing on my survey of smell this evening no other sense would be more appropriate to discuss.
My nostrils were nearly presented with a daunting challenge when I approached the southern end of Cedar Rapids. There on the horizon stood International Paper, belching out its singular stench and causing my nose hairs to stand on end. Luckily for my sniffer I was downwind. Like Frodo and Samwise avoiding the great eye of Sauron I slipped beneath the building, hoping not to wake the sleeping dragon and incur the wrath of its smoke.
Safely out of range I headed into the city on the Cedar Rapids River Trail, which I was glad to see has now been extended farther south than my ADT information suggested. I was therefore able to stay off-road for the rest of the day's travels.
While heading through the industrial section of Cedar Rapids I my nose received a happy scent. The aroma of fresh oatmeal wafted through the air, alerting me to the presence of the Quaker Oats factory to my right. The cereal maker was founded in 1850 in Akron, Ohio and began selling their most well known product in 1877. Like many of my neighbors in South Carolina, the company tired of Ohio and fled to Cedar Rapids in 1890.
I couldn't stay since my sudden lust for Quaker Oatmeal was unrequited, so I continued on, settling for a couple of their granola bars. Several zig-zagging, swirling crazy straw miles through various factories led me finally to Hiawatha shortly after five. Hiawatha is named after the famous Iroquois chieftain who may have lived during the 12th, 15th, or 16th centuries. Either he is the Native American version of Methusulah or his actual existence is in some doubt. Nevertheless, his legend lives on thanks to William Longfellow's poem "The Song of Hiawatha." I prefer Pearl Jam's 1998 remake, but as we all know art is a subjective beast.

15 miles/1427 total miles

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