Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Dazed, But No Longer Confused
September 13: I had a chance to see some of Adel on the way out, most notably the splendid County Courthouse. The building is based on the design of a 16th century French chateau located in Touraine, Azay-le-Rideau. Many counties have tried to make their courthouse the signature edifice, but few have succeeded like Dallas County has with this elegant structure.
I continued along the Raccoon River Valley Trail. Having moved away from the urban madness of Des Moines, I am now surrounded by a thin strip of prairie. How thin? Despite the presence of myriad rail trails which have been used as an opportunity to revive the decimated tall prairie habitat only a few thousand acres exist within Iowa. Before the mass arrival of American farmers in the 19th century acreage numbered in the millions, 28.6 according to one estimate.
My destination was Linden on this particular trek and I reached the small community of under three hundred around five. I paid a visit to city hall, which doubles as the town library. Therein I found Gayle, who works at the library and is a member of town council. She assured me that I could camp in the park without any worries.
I also learned of the town's preparations for this coming weekend's Linden Daze, a yearly festival featuring clowns, musical entertainment, and a tractor pull.
Several kind residents visited me in the park, including Dave, who brought me soup, let me use his shower, and helped move me over to the baseball field where I could have water and restroom facilities. I met his wife and grandchildren while Dave showed off his rebuilt Ford Falcon, which he would be driving in the festival's parade.
Amanda, Vincent, and Diaz showed up around sundown and brought me a blanket and a pillow the size of a large dog, both of which helped me to enjoy a comfortable night's sleep. We spoke for about an hour, trading stories of towns big and small. As those of you who have been reading my Iowa saga from the beginning now, I was angry at first about the suspiciousness shown to me in some of the smaller places here. Now I have learned the proper customs I find people are quick to embrace my mission and as generous as the people of any other state I have been through thus far.
15 miles/1662 total miles