Mark drove though all of Iowa. This is not an exaggeration. Iowa is a long state, and this was probably the longest stretch any of us did without swapping drivers. Shortly after we set off, we saw a pair of hitchers on the side of an on ramp. Apparently Iowa is a state that allows pedestrians on the side of the highway. We pulled over and Hank and Jimmy, who introduced themselves as brothers, came on board. They were headed for Des Moines, and eventually towards Minnesota. They hitch around everywhere, and Hank claimed to have been to every state but Hawaii. They were both incredibly good company, and made a good way to start off the day. Not long after we got them, another hitcher was walking towards a rest area, so of course we pulled over and he came on board too. Dave, a musician who busks at rest areas, joined us on our trip to Des Moines. They all said it was hard to get a ride in Iowa – no one stops. Hank and Jimmy had been stuck there for a few days. Dave seemed to be moving along at a good pace, on his way to NYC for his niece’s wedding. Our company stayed on until Des Moines, where we parted ways. We didn’t take any pictures while they were on, but Hank and Jimmy signed the bus and left their sign, so Mark did his best to recreate the scene.
Looking ahead on the map, we kept picking further and further cities as our destination for the day. Eventually we settled on Youngstown, OH, as the place we would spend the night. That would put us right at the Pennsylvania border, and we figured we would be able to make it home the next day. Iowa’s landscape is much like that of Nebraska – there were no mountains or hills, but it wasn’t completely flat either. The rolling hills weren’t enough to even slightly tax the bus, and we realized that our foreseeable mechanical worries were probably over.
Out of Iowa, into Illinois. Illinois is real flat. Not even any rolling hills to contend with. I was so used to driving on hills that it took me a while to adjust and understand that the road I was on was not uphill, but flat. I must have driven for 50 miles before I figured that out. Truth be told, there was not much remarkable in Illinois. Or Indiana for that matter. We stopped in South Bend for dinner.
Then onward towards Youngstown! We pulled in very early in the morning, and passed out.