I didn’t have internet access over the 4th of July. I was in the boondocks. Now, I’m in Traverse City. But I don’t feel like writing about any of that right now. Maybe I will tomorrow. I feel like writing about biking through Mason City.
Yesterday, I was asked about the most interesting person that I have met while on this trip. I’ve been thinking about it, and I’ve come up with a three person combo—three people within ten minutes in Mason City. Mason City is a good-sized city in Iowa. It has one of those busy, business loop highways with Applebee’s and Perkin’s and Charles McLopez’s Mexican Restaurant (real place) and all that other good stuff. The business loop had three stoplights. I had a red light at each one.
I reached the first light a little after it turned red and coasted on the shoulder to the front of the line of cars. The front car was a giant, diesel, black, pick-up truck. It was occupied by two men. They were jacked, probably on roids. The windows were rolled down, and the passenger seat meathead had his arm hanging out the window. He had an anchor tattoo. The anchor was about the size as the emblem in the middle of Hope College’s basketball court. I nodded to the meatheads as I coasted by them. They nodded back.
The guy in the passenger seat asked, “Where you going to?” Dude had a super high voice. He sounded like Katy Perry, except his vernacular was closer to that of a sixth grader from the 1950’s. I smiled at that, stifling my giggles, trying to look friendly.
I told him where I was going, and he said, “Gee wiz! That’s pretty far. Where did you come from?”
I told him.
“Golly! I’m impressed.” He paused to consider the trip. “Boy! I wish I could do something like that,” he said. The light turned green. “Well, good luck.” They drove away.
I was stopped at the next red light, but it had been red for a while already. Still smiling from my previous encounter, I pulled up next to an elderly couple in a red Cadillac. They were probably in their early seventies. The lady in the passenger seat rolled down her window and asked me where I was headed. I told her. The man driving knew Sault Ste. Marie. The lady asked me where I had come from. I told her, and she took a huge deep breath and made a shocked and pleased face like she just found out that I had the cure for hemorrhoids. She smiled a big smile. I smiled. The light turned green. The lady turned in her seat to continue smiling at me and was still smiling when I lost sight of the window.
I was stopped at the third light, and I waited next to a white Prius. The windows were tinted, but the front windows were cracked just enough for a good look inside. An average-sized man wearing a business suit was driving it. He wore a green tie. “I Would Walk 500 Miles” blared from the speakers. A sheet cake sat in the passenger seat. With one hand, the businessman was pounding the steering wheel to the beat of the song. With the other hand, he held a metal fork which was used to eat the sheet cake and act as a microphone. The light turned green. He drove away.
The memory of those three encounters made me giggle all the way through Iowa, even though the whole state smelled like manure.