Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Day 6 Riding WITH the Wind........Parking meters, frying pans and windmills!!

August 11, 2014
DesMoines, IA to Joliet, IL

We woke up in the first major city with tall buildings that we had been in since Portland, OR. We were in DesMoines, IA.

Big city....tall buildings.
We took a stroll along the river walk and found this cool bridge...
The bridge is dedicated to Women's Achievements. You can see the capitol building through the center of the bridge.

We think parking meters that take credit cards are cool. This meter is cool.

After exploring DesMoines' river-walk and parking meters, we headed east toward the world's third largest frying pan which is in Brandon, IA. As it turns out, the pan was not that far from my original bike route. However, back then, Iowa was scaring us. The roads were mostly not good and we were busy rethinking the southern v. northern route west. Taking even just an hour detour for a big frying pan wasn't even remotely on our mind.

Turns out, an hour is all we would be adding to the RETURN trip if we wanted to add the frying pan to our route. So we threw caution to the wind and went for it. Here's the story in pics.
This was our first sight of the frying pan. No banners, no signs, no welcoming committee. Just the pan, sitting in a community  center parking lot. We were the only car.
We of course couldn't miss a photo op to show off our new hats. Actually, since J looked better in the cowboy hat, it is now hers. I picked up the sporty Bruno Mars special you see here at yet another gas station. My brother in law DAVE, thinks we look like Bonnie and Clyde...just hanging out in Brandon, IA....by the frying pan.
I usually like to think things over before I make a really big decision. It's just the way I roll.  Here I am, considering jumping from  the frying pan into the tire.
Taking the plunge!!!
Going in deeper!

Jumping from the frying pan, into and all the way THROUGH the tire!!!

Being punished by the locals for milking the "frying pan into the fire" joke a little too long. Fortunately, I was only simmered for a little bit and then let go with the promise to never crack another corny joke in Iowa again. Seriously? I huskily bit my tongue as J twisted my ear so that not even a tiny kernel of corn humor would escape my lips until we had stalked through the maze of roads to Illinois. Fortunately we made it to Illinois without further incident. After Illinois, the trouble could start up all over again because, "Indiana wants me, Lord I can't go back there!" Ok. I'll stop now.

One last Bonnie and Clyde moment.

We were almost in Joliet, IL when J saw it. She would soon regret waking me up to see it.  My sleepy eyes opened wide!!! There, on the other side of the highway was a windmill blade!!!!  The very same type of blade that I had seen go past me on a flatbed truck when I was cycling through Iowa. We HAD to turn around!!!! 

Actually, we didn't HAVE to turn around. One of us wanted to keep going east. But this wasn't a dangerous mountain...it wasn't adding twenty five miles to the trip...it was just cool windmill blade at a westbound rest stop.

None of those arguments worked, so I basically just begged and pleaded and acted like a spoiled brat. That ALMOST worked. But I've played that card a little too often. So I promised to drive the rest of the way.  THAT worked.

We turned around and went back to examine this modern marvel. Remember, the windmill itself needs to be tall enough to allow this ginormous blade to swing completely around without coming even remotely close to the ground. When you look at them from a distance, they don't necessarily look that big. But looking at just ONE of the blades helps put it into perspective. Here's the pics below. At the very bottom is a gif of a video I took at the rest stop.

I did a  little research on them and this is something I found: The widely used GE 1.5-megawatt model, for example, consists of 116-ft blades atop a 212-ft tower for a total height of 328 feet.

Another article I read said that the tallest one in the world is over 700 feet!  Below is the video I did at the rest stop. 

Thank you J for indulging me!

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