So, needless to say, things were going great.
Monowi proved to be every bit as kitschy and cool as we'd hoped. Let's face it, a population of a single person is pretty neat, and listening to that person talk about how she came to be the sole resident of the town is almost mesmerizing. But there were other things to see further down the road, and we intended to see them.
With Nebraska in our rear view mirror, we headed toward Sac City, Iowa. Now, Sac City is a veritable photograph of small town America, and about 2,000 people call it home. So, while driving th
Without warning, a suicidal deer literally launched itself into the travel lanes from the median of US-20. I was traveling about 75mph and only saw it at the last second. I stood on the brakes and swerved in an attempt to avoid hitting it.
I learned two things that day. First, anti-lock brakes are a thing. When I hit the deer, the car had slowed to about 50mph. Now, don't get me wrong, that's still a significant speed at which to hit a deer, but it's a Helluva' lot better than hitting it at 75mph.
Second, I learned that, while I was only a split second away from missing Bambi completely, I was also only a split second away from hitting it squarely with the front end, and that could've been disastrous:
All things considered, we were monumentally fortunate. First, and most importantly, we were uninjured. In what could've been a tragic series of events, we lucked out and completely escaped injury. Secondly, the amount of damage to the car was, in the grand scheme of things, pretty minimal:
|It could've been a lot worse...|
|Always the best part of a good deer strike...|
Sitting on the side of an Iowa freeway wasn't exactly the place to start filing a claim, so I decided to wait until we got to our hotel that night. Once ensuring the car was operable we continued on our way, all the while our misfortune nagging me at the back of my mind.
As unfortunate as we'd been, we weren't ready to let it destroy our trip. Iowa held more to see, after all, and we were going to check it out. We continued on our way to Sac City, because Sac City is home to an undeniable monument to the unwavering ingenuity of the American spirit. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the world's largest ball of popcorn:
|Nowhere else but America...|
I know, I know. I can hear the collective gasp of my 11 followers as they try to digest the majesty of such a creation.
Weighing in at 9,370 pounds, the ball was created by 250 volunteers working for almost 13 hours. They used 900 pounds of popcorn, over 2,500 pounds of sugar and 1,400 pounds of syrup. Now, my New York public school education tells me that falls far short of the claimed 9,370 pounds, but I'm not about to go up against the Sac City Visitor's Bureau, so let's just accept the almost 4-1/2 ton claim and move on, shall we?
Weight aside, this thing is pretty damn big. Its diameter is 8 feet, and the circumference measures in at 24 feet. The ball is so big and so heavy that it wasn't placed inside the building you see above. In fact, the building was constructed around the popcorn ball.
And, as much as I kid and make jokes about this sort of thing, it's important to not lose sight of the larger point, that being that something like the world's largest ball of popcorn is just another example of the sort of unique things you can find along the road in Anytown, USA.
What had turned into a ridiculously day ended in a hotel room somewhere in Iowa, on the phone with USAA reporting my accident. I wasn't going to be getting the car repaired until I got to Ohio, but I wanted to make sure it was reported.
And, as unfortunate an event as it was, I was damned and determined to not allow it to sully the rest of the trip. It is, after all, just a car, and cars can be replaced. We had more things to see, and I was not about to let one emotionally distraught deer ruin everything.
We had more to see the next day...