We all woke up a bit tired the next day. I prepared my sweet potato, Ernie drank some coffee, and we headed out. The night before we'd grabbed food from a place that wasn't great, but there wasn't anything close by. There weren't many choices for me, so I went for a turkey burger and fries. I defiantly ate the fries, they weren't that good but I was starving. I ate the turkey burger, sans bun. The next morning I didn't feel great and blamed the fries. As time went on, I realize that'd been glutened. I kind of thought the turkey burger was a weird texture, but as noted, I was starving and just devoured it. Some times I can eat a bit of something with gluten, and it doesn't seem to bother me terribly, but this was not good AT all. I sat in the car at the first stop I was so miserable. And it comes with copious gas. Luckily I just tried to time my farts to when I was standing next to a steam engine with the whistle blowing, so it worked out. Sigh. Life is so undignified. As the day wore on, I felt a bit better. I found my pictures from that day weren't that great, though. Funny, huh? Despite all that, it was wonderful yet again. We really lucked out with weather overall. Even with the reasonable temperatures, we got hot and sticky, but I can only imagine what it would have been like in the previous heat we've had. 

Random Big Boy notes:

1. Having grown up in politely paved suburbia, I had no idea that a convoy of cars racing down dirt and gravel roads, hurtling toward a steam engine, would create a total whiteout!

2. Birkenstocks are not the best footwear for chasing trains, much less climbing steep embankments or wandering railyards.

3. Leo is so organized that he brought an umbrella. I love that boy.

4. Watching little boys play with rocks as we wait. One to the other: "Where do you live?" The other boy: "We live…uh, HEY DAD, WHERE DO WE LIVE?"

5. Watching same little boys run off to explore. The father of the one that doesn't know where he lives calls to him. Little boy looks back at his dad with an embarrassed face and says urgently, "DAD, he's my new FRIEND." Delightful.

6. The weather was perfect until it gave out and rained on us in Des Moines. We were in the car. Leo wasn't. Unfortunately, the umbrella was. Leo didn't mind. He was with the Big Boy, and Ed Dickens told him not to get too wet. 

7. We had dinner at a Bennigan's in our hotel. I didn't even know there were still Bennigan's around. We were exhausted, but they sat us in a quiet corner, and our food tasted great…and had no gluten (at least mine). So lovely to just sit and chat and go over everything that happened. Went back to the room, looked at pictures, and listened to a bit of the debate.

8. Iowa is just gorgeous. I remember the first time I drove through Iowa; I laughed at loud at how much it looked like Grant Wood's paintings. I couldn't believe it. I am always entranced with its rolling fields. Driving through the country…everything was so neat and trim. Pink phlox, black-eyed susans, daylilies, white houses.

9. Chatting with a couple of people as we wait at a stop. One man asks the other if he's a gentleman farmer and has other people farm his land. The man says, "Well, I don't know about being a gentleman, I still get in bar fights."

Too many pictures, but I can't help myself.

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Love this picture—it's one of Leo's, of course.
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Another one of Leo's
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The whistle goes right through you, and it can be too loud for little engineers.
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Leo, dropping his head in disgust as I say, "OH, I forgot to take a picture!"
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Thoughts?