Des Moines, IA

I’m off on Leaf 2! Or, I should say, we’re off. My friend Jong-hun from Korea is accompanying me for the first couple weeks of my trip this time around. Awesome. Opportunity to see America, gas subsidization, positive emotions all around.

On our way to Des Moines, we saw signs for… a windmill!

A windmill!

Why not? It was 6 miles off the beaten path (by which I really mean the paved, controlled-access path), which isn’t far due to modern inventions like the car.

Jong-hun and... the windmill!

Speaking of cars, the Lovemobile has been doing a great job of carting me all around the country. Here we are, veterans of Leaf 1, next to… a windmill!!

Guess what was made in 1846?  Hint: not my car.

So, following the exciting trip to see a really old windmill, we drove to Des Moines and met a guy who has a great horned owl living on his property. It was my hope that I could record this owl hooting or squawking or whatever it does.

The guy was Nathan Stueve, cool guy and motorcyclist. We followed him

Follow, follow, follow the motorcycle.

to his house

The home of Nathan Stueve, motorcyclist and cool guy

and went to his backyard,

A backyard, home to owls.

where we proceeded to listen for a large owl sound. Nathan was a good storyteller and kept us all entertained while we waited for the owl to squawk. We also enjoyed some fine brats and beer, freshly grilled outside (meaning the brats).

We listened

and listened

and listened

but no sound did a great horned owl make. We heard plenty of owls, but Nathan waved his hand in dismissal, calling them “puny grey owls” and claiming they were a “dime a dozen… they’re everywhere in Iowa.”* Needless to say, I definitely did not record those insignificant owls, but kept waiting for Mr. Big Guy.

Mr. Big Guy kept us waiting, which is stylish, but he never appeared, ever, which is totally not stylish at all. By 9:00 or so we packed up and left. But our thanks to Steve and his awesome girlfriend Erica for offering their owl to us.

Then it was off to meet my host, Aaron Wiese. Aaron has cool stories from touring around with a rock band. What would be cool is if his band name was The Windmills. But it wasn’t.

Aaron lived in a house with like 6 other people, but they were evidently in and out at all times and there were only ever 4 people sleeping there, so by and large that translates to free beds. JH and I slept on various free sleeping-type places throughout the house.

A sleeping-type place.

JH and I had a great time chilling with Aaron and his roommates and random friends that would come over. The next morning, Aaron and JH and I were off to eat lunch with Julie Courraud, a charming girl from Nantes, France. We had a fine meal at El Bait Shop, which is kind of like a Mexican BBQ/seafood joint. I had tilapia tacos. FACT: it was awesome. I’ll stick a picture here if Julie sends it to me.

“What happened next?” asks a nearby onlooker.

Okay, that was a totally unneccessary narrative device. I was just about to say what happened next.

“So… what was it?” he asks, continuing to look on.

*sigh* Next, Aaron and I recorded some guitar!

Aaron laying down the mad guitar trackz.

Aaron came up with a sweet part for one of my songs, and then it was time to move on to Chicago!

NEXT: Chicago. Or, something else.

* Those quotes are actually paraphrases but make for better storytelling as quotes.