Our time in Iowa felt a bit too short-lived. With our destinations spaced out all throughout the state, it was hard to hunker down in any one place for a long enough time to justly soak it all in. The time we spent there was amazing, though, as Iowa was loaded with enough medium-sized towns with quite a bit of personality and oddities.
Ames, pt. 1
Sunday night we were at Ames in the ISU Memorial Union for the Freelance Whales show. Although I’d seen them two years ago, I nearly forgot just how good of a show they put on. Geographer was their opening act, and as I suspected, they were really good. I’m definitely getting much more into their music.
And then, Freelance came on and that was awesome. They played through everything I expected. Because of all my time at LiNK, by the time they started playing Generator ^ 2nd Floor, I just kept hearing Justin’s voice on the video going “Thanks to your support, we’ve rescued 101 refugees…”
Hannah, Generator ^ 1st Floor, and Spitting Image were also solid. During their encore they played my fave- My Broken Horse, which sounds so much more sobering live.
After the show, I got to meet Judah again. I last met him at Jensen’s Guitar in Santa Barbara in 2010. He pretended to remember me, but I doubt he actually did. At any rate, I gave him a LiNK postcard in the off chance that it gets LiNK some more publicity. I also splurged a bit in buying a shirt and a vinyl copy of their new album, which was an advance release… it’s just coming out today!
Tiffin, pt. 1/Des Moines, pt. 2
(We took a pit stop in Des Moines on the way to Ames to have a gander around the State Capitol)
We had to drive back late for an early morning high school presentation in Tiffin, but apparently the teacher got things mixed up and wanted us in the afternoon- and back in the morning the next day. We used our now free morning to do the two hour drive to Des Moines and two more hours coming back to track down one of the only Bank of Americas in Iowa.
Cedar Rapids, pt. 1
We got back for the screening, and afterwards, we had to rush to drop Elaine off at Cedar Rapids and Menekse and I went back to Ames for a screening at the Memorial Union.
Ames, pt. 2
At the Memorial Union screening, things were set up absurdly formal. They arranged a fancy podium and a panel discussion table with three table-level mics for us, as well as a pitcher of water. I think they might’ve been expecting some academic-types in their fifties. Instead they got us in our red LiNK hoodies. Oh well. I went more formal than I’ve ever been at a screening, but it was also hard to take seriously.
They also surprised us by putting us up in a hotel, which was just above, in the same building as our screening and the Freelance Whales show. The ISU Memorial Union has everything. Even a cafeteria and a bowling alley.
Cedar Rapids, pt. 2/Tiffin, pt. 2
That morning after we left super early to pick Elaine up and then go back to Tiffin for the high school again. The bright blue and orange sunrise in Iowa was epic. We had a morning screening at Clear Creek Amana High School.
Davenport, pt. 1
We were free to do booking work afterwards, and Vanessa recommended we go to RME (River Music Experience) in Davenport to do some work while we were in Iowa. I Love Davenport, so it was an easy decision.
We camped out there for a while, and the place was great. I got an excellent white mocha, and in addition to being a really cool, spacious café with comfy seating and good wifi, the entire venue was equipped with a mini-museum, music venue, and even soundproof booths where musicians could practice.
Vanessa came to meet us while we were doing work and hung out with us. It was so awesome seeing her.
After we finished, the activity she had planned for us was taking us into Henry County, Illinois for a corn maze. When in corn country… The thing was difficult because most of the instructions were misleading, but we made it out.
We were able to have dinner with a good portion of my extended family which was pretty fun. Most of them were puzzled by what I was doing with LiNK. No surprise there. The food was great and it was good to see so many family members, even unexpectedly.
After we ate, we stayed for a bit, and I played with my cousin Stacey’s kids.
When I got back to Vanessa’s, I got to talk to Deanna for a good birthday Skype session. I stayed up late and it was a blast.
After saying bye to Vanessa, we went over to Java City to be interviewed by Cassidy Riley at the Daily Iowan. The interview went well. Afterwards, we hunkered down to do some work.
We camped out there forever, and they had some really good drinks. I enjoyed a Blueberries and Cream Latte, and had bits of Elaine’s tiramisu, which was delicious.
Right next door, I discovered a funky used vintage clothing store, which had set up Halloween related displays all over. While everything was super cheap, it could still add up. It was hard to pass up on the opportunity to get some cheap clothes I needed that I could buy in better conscience. I got some gloves for the cold, and an oddball Japanese baseball jersey- I thought that was pretty sweet.
Afterwards, we met Jinhee, Peter, Eun Jin, Wu, and Drew- the University of Iowa Rescue Team who were hosting our screening that night. They took us out to Pagliai’s pizza, and I’ll have to say I thought it was one of our best screenings yet. I felt the energy out of the crowd, and giving the pitch that night felt extra solid.
Afterwards, we got to hang out with Jinhee and Eun Jin. As they continued to spoil us, we went to Molly’s cupcakes, where they got us their famous peach cobbler cupcakes. Indeed they were amazing. We also got to walk around Downtown Iowa City which was in fact an awesome place to see. Quite a bit going on.
Drew was kind and let us stay in his medical frat house. We had a short but good chat before I went to bed. He was an awesome guy. I wish we could’ve spent longer in Iowa City, but I had to get up early for the long drive to Minnesota.
Iowa, you were quite the tease. I hardly got to spend that much time in any one city. However, being shuffled between Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Tiffin, Iowa City, Ames, and Davenport meant that I got a good sampler of the state.
These medium sized towns in the midst of Iowa meant local centers of culture were plenty.
Downtown Des Moines, Downtown Iowa City, and Downtown Davenport are all just bits of proof that Iowa has a lot more than most people give it credit for.
While it’s a shame that covering so much ground has meant such short time in these Iowan cities, I’m glad I got a decent assortment of them.
I like Iowa.