Nicholas Quirke was certain that from this point in his odyssey he should adopt a new image. He was leaving the Major metropolitan and cosmopolitan cities behind and should abandon the worker chic he had been sporting and go deep country. This meant farewell to skull, Buzz Rickson and fisherman caps, shirts and jackets and welcome in woollens and fur an anoraks. This also meant a change to the car music. He was bored with the 80s synth pop and discovered a more appropriate and toe tapping Blue Grass Country station. He had felt very comfortable with Ann and George who had been wonderful and entertaining hosts and he would miss the conversation once he left. They wouldn’t let him go without first plying him with food and a portable cooling case to keep water and fruit in. It was another long dive today but he had checked out a couple of things to visit in the area of Iowa City that fell into the category of ‘Folly Hunting’ a pastime he enjoys. He had started to find that ‘on the road’ everything takes longer than expected so he only managed 2 on the itinerary but they were both worth it. He firstly, for the benefit of Phoebe and Kiera and any other ‘Trekies’ visited the ‘Future Birth Place of Captain James Kirk, and the 2nd fitted in nicely with his visit to the Chicago Art Institute where he saw Grant Wood’s ‘American Gothic’ which had been faithfully rendered on a barn in the middle of nowhere in Iowa. It took him 4 hours drive and find these attractions and then it was an equally arduous drive to Sioux Falls where he would spend the night.  The drive to Iowa proved to be stressful and he wished he had checked the weather report as there were incredibly strong winds and cross winds which pulled at the car and at one stage when it started to rain he remembered he was in tornado country and consequently was scanning the horizon for signs of of something that might appear and send him somewhere over the rainbow. It did’t help that for at least 30 minutes there was nothing on the road with him.  For much of the drive to Sioux Falls he was in darkness, a vast unending blackness. Maybe it was good he wasn’t seeing the repetitive landscape.  He also observed a couple of  olfactory offences from fertilisers to an unpleasant, (fishy?) aroma as he drove around Sioux City. Nicholas was approach the next highlight of the Odyssey and facing some mountain driving and as he examined the map for the next couple of days and the momentous distance he needed to cross he started to feel a bit overwhelmed. A sleep would help.



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