Iowa and a temporary rolling community.
Each of our tiny towns is visible from a distance, a cathedral of grain elevator rising from green fields. Then in the central park is culture, pork princesses dressed in pink with tiaras and ribbons, home-made pies and cookies, music. In the shade with eyes closed there are multiple conversations blending and the flat-on-back release of not riding after riding for hours. Arrived, the showers might be at the fairgrounds, a converted cattle-washing station, or in the high school locker room, smallified by larger bodies. At night there are tent cities that cover the town, glowing-from-the-inside pods after dark, zombies walking to pee and the constant open and close of portable toilets. There are musical bands and lights and alcohol and dancing and rain on occasion pouring over it all. Mexican restaurants are packed with tequila drinkers and good eaters.
There is a late-night treacherous walk through the tents with invisible strings on stakes, no room for one misstep on wobbly legs, and then more riding a few hours later.
Flat northwest changes to curvy and hilly east, Grant Wood. Thousands of bikers spread across the day’s route, the pace of time lapse film, 8mm color, zooming in draft-lines on the left, a crawl on the right, an inchworm. There are watchers in lawn chairs on the route, families with children playing, sprinklers or garden hoses, squirtguns. The section of road through Amish land had curious mutual looking, families in simple clothes in front lawns looking at the spectacle, bikers stopped with cameras to record an anachronistic method of hay-gathering. A clothes-line of blues and greens, deep colors, floating. Gardens.
Perfect: a hill of corn growing in front of us, a grain elevator green-submerged up to the ship’s tower of ladders and tubes, a church glowing in the sun to the left, a tiny town down the hill. Bikes whir/whizzing. Sun and shade.