April 9, 2019

Admittedly, I don’t blog often. If I have the time and inclination to write, I generally like to focus on the several WIPs (Works In Progress) I have going at any given time. But most of the time, I just don’t think I have anything interesting to say. I’m really pretty boring. This week is different, though, because I actually did something kinda cool: I went to Iowa for a book signing. Clear Lake, Iowa, to be exact.

I’d never been to Iowa before. To be honest, I’d never been in another time zone before, either. Let me tell you, that was an experience. My watch, phone, and laptop showed different times, and it took more effort than usual to be in the right place at the right time. I did pretty well, I think. I only missed one thing, and it wasn’t the signing or my flight, so I’m counting that as a win.

Whenever I go someplace new, I have a tendency to compare it against what I know, which I think most people probably do. So for all of you who have never been to Iowa, let me share the things that stuck out to me…

  • Lots of open space. From Des Moines to Clear Lake, massive farms as far as the eye could see. I mean, BIG farms, which were basically plowed ground because of the time of year, with an occasional farmhouse. No animals, though, which was unexpected.
  • The land is very flat. For someone used to mountains and hills every day, this was a big change.
  • Not a lot of trees. This was the most surprising thing to me.  What’s up with that?
  • Road construction and potholes. As a native Pennsylvanian, this made me feel very much at home.
  • Lack of traffic. I drove for four hours on I-35 and saw fewer cars than I saw within 30 seconds of leaving the Philadelphia airport.
  • Drivers tended to follow posted speed limits.  Weird.
  • Nice, down to earth people. Everyone I spoke with was friendly and polite, from the hotel to the local Fareway. 
  • No Wawa or Sheetz for gas and coffee, but Kum & Go. I took a picture, because seriously, this makes me smile.

My rental car was a 2019 black Dodge Challenger, which was a complete surprise and totally awesome. I was expecting a Nissan or something. I do love my American muscle cars! It was an automatic, and that took some getting used to. My left foot and right hand didn’t know what to do.

The weather was seasonal (40s and 50s) with clouds, rain, and fog, so I didn’t get to do as much exploring as I would have liked, but I did make it out to see Clear Lake. The water was clear but the skies were not. The park was deserted (probably because of the weather), but I did make friends with some local water fowl.

Sadly, I did not get to sample the Bavarian pizza while I was out there (cheese, sauerkraut, & Canadian bacon), but I did have a Reuben sandwich at Bennigan’s, and that’s almost the same thing.

So, there you have it. If you’d like to see some pics from my trip, check out my Instagram. HUGE thanks to BFBookies (Lori Rattay, Rachel Smith, & Micki Haley-Fredericks) for putting together a wonderful event and allowing me to take part <img draggable=