Day 1 – A Rainy 6.38 Miles in Des Moines, Iowa

Well, the adventure has begun.  On Wednesday evening, I was able to thank a few donors in Ames.  Yes, it’s not Des Moines, but there was a good reason for taking these two pictures.  The first stop was First American Bank, where I was able to thank Jason Wise.  Jason and I both worked here back in the day, and I thought it was only fitting to incorporate FAB into his picture.

The second stop in Ames was Mary Greeley hospital, the birthplace of Keith Wysocki (a former colleague at Phi Delt) and future birthplace of Baby Good.  While Keith is a Cornhusker/Lincoln die-hard, I like to think that he began life in a great place.

After a stop at Hilton Coliseum last evening with Ross Roti (and a Cyclone victory over Texas Tech), I headed to Des Moines to stay at Brad Carlson’s house.  I was able to get a good eight hours of sleep, an amount I hope to get each night on this trip. This might be tough to accomplish.  I woke up to bad weather.  I’m prepared for the cold and possible snow, but pouring down rain was not what I wanted to see to kick things off.  And what do you know, I didn’t think to bring a rain jacket.  Reference my bad packing skills a few posts back.

My running buddy for the day, Brent Rauch luckily had a jacket for me to borrow.  We planned our route, dressed for the weather and headed out for the run.  On the way to Gray’s Lake (where we started today), I had to make a pit stop at Casey’s to get one of my props for the day.  Walking up to the counter at 9am in the morning with a six pack of Miller High Life tallboys was a good time.  A few other patrons commented that they wanted to come with me, no matter where I was  going.

The run started a Gray’s Lake and I was able to snap a pic of the weather conditions.  Not friendly.

The first stop along the route was the Des Moines Sculpture Park.  Talk about randomness, but awesome.  It didn’t take me long to find my desired sculpture to thank my sister and brother-in-law, Anne & Don Davidson.  How can I get this for my backyard?

We continued along Grand up to the Iowa State Capitol.  Prior to reaching the Capitol, I spotted this awesome mural and decided to take advantage of it to thank Andy & Kelsey Tu.  Tillie and I are big fans of murals and I’d encourage you to do a mural hunt in your own city.  From an exploration standpoint, it will open up your eyes to many parts of your city that you didn’t know existed.

Next up was the Iowa State Capitol where I was able to thank my aunt & uncle, Colleen & Tom Good.

You have to admit, the Iowa State Capitol is quite impressive! Not as impressive as the butter cow though.

From the Capitol, we headed back east where we ran into a very cool map of Iowa and its counties embedded into the concrete.  There, I was able to thank Ross Roti by incorporating his sign into his beloved Clay County.  He’s from Spencer, Iowa.  Ross, sorry, I lied to you about printing out a sign prior to the trip.  Hope this works.

I ran into this fantastic piece of art along the way.  Once again, how do I get this for my backyard?

The next stop was the popular Miller High Life Lounge, a Des Moines establishment with shag carpet and an awesome beer selection (High Life, Hamm’s, Schlitz and other fantastic beers).  Here, I risked arrest by drinking in public and thanking Riley Smith in the process.

From the Lounge, we passed Principal Park, the home of the Iowa Cubs, the AAA affiliate of…..wait for it… the Chicago Cubs.

From Principal Park we headed back to Gray’s Lake to finish the run.  We hopped in the car and headed over to Good Park to thank my cousins Matt & Jessi Good.  I was a little disappointed in the quality of the park, but hey, it’s not Great Park right?  You can expect many more bad jokes.

After a quick shower, Brent and I headed to the Manhattan Deli for a delicious sandwich.  Brent deserves a big thanks for his hospitality while in town.  He carted me around, lent me a jacket, allowed me to borrow some headphones (another forgotten item) and even bought my lunch (not that I am expecting this from those I run with).  Great restaurant by the way!  I’ll see if I can find a Des Moines Deli in Manhattan. Brent has done some great work for Meals from the Heartland, a non-profit organization composed of volunteers who package meals for delivery to starving people around the world. Thanks Brent!

Brent dropped me off at the lovely Megabus station and I waited for this thing to show up.

I climbed the stairs to the level and claimed the best seat in the house with the best view.

We took off for Chicago, but stopped in Iowa City first to pick up a load of Hawkeyes.  Here, I met my first seatmate, a Hawkeye cross-country runner who went to high school at Fayetteville-Manlius in Syracuse, New York. I learned that her high school won six straight national championships for cross-country.  We had much to talk about, and I quickly learned how casual of a runner I am.  Next to her was another Hawkeye, a young lady who is a Dance Marathoner!  Another great connection and it was fun to learn about her work developing a bone marrow donor organization at Iowa.

We arrived in Chicago a little after 7pm, where I proceeded to hop a few buses on the way to Andy Tomka’s (an Iowa State fraternity brother) place.  On the way to his place a young lad paid for my second bus trip once he realized that I didn’t have exact change.  A great ending to a feel-good day.

Friday’s run will take Andy and I by many famous Chicago landmarks.  Snow is expected, but I can’t wait.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Riley Smith says:

    I’m honored that you risked incarceration to fulfill your vow of drinking The High Life. Well Done.

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