Iowa. It’s been many years since I’ve been in Iowa. It hasn’t changed one iota.
We drove over to Des Moines for a noon game between the AAA Iowa Cubs and the New Orleans Zephyrs. I don’t recall ever having been to Iowa’s captiol before. Principal Park is located on the edge of downtown at the confluence of the Des Moines and Racoon Rivers, tho the park isn’t as picturesque as you might imagine. There are excellent sight lines all over the very symmetric park. The concourse and concessions are located behind and under the seats in the older style, so you do miss all the action if you go to get a hotdog. The Des Moines baseball team has a long and storied history, including being the first professional team to install lights and play night games in the 30s. Kind of ironic that they are now a Cubs farm team, the Cubs being the last major league to play under the lights at home.
It was a sunny day, but the temperature topped out at 50 degrees and there was a strong wind blowing. In fact, on the drive over the head wind was so strong that Clifford’s mileage dropped a full 20 percent. Better baseball conditions than the previous night, for sure.
So far this trip we’ve seen AA, A, and AAA games. There are noticable differences between all the levels, so it’s fun to see them all back to back like that. The Iowa Cubs snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, just like their major league counterparts do so regularly. Still. Year after year after year after year….. But it was a good game to watch. The husband is on a roll. He left the park with a TShirt, a ball, and a picture with Cubbie Bear. The only disappointment was that he didn’t get a hot dog shot from the hot dog gun.
Des Moines itself was a pleasant surprise. The capital and largest city in Iowa has some nice things going for it. We are hotelling across the street from Drake University, a school I know of, but have never seen. There is a very nifty outdoor sculpture garden in a park right downtown that we walked all around. This was my favorite:
At one end of this downtown park sits the public library in an impressive copper-clad building. Any city that showcases their public library like this gets high marks in my book. From the park we walked to a 3-year old brewery/restaurant named Exile. I know the husband has some breweries lined up that do a lot of Belgians and sours (not my favorites), but happily Exile does German lagers and I really liked everything we tasted there.
It’s only the end of Day 4, but we’re both starting to drag a bit tonight, so we’ve headed back to the hotel early and skipped the highly recommended downtown beer bar. It seems like we’ve traveled far enough to make a trip recap-to-date worthwhile.
Miles driven: 1406
Flying Saucers where we had (at least) one beer: 4
Baseball games attended: 4 (1 major, 3 minor, 1 rainout)
Breweries visited: 2
Gin Rummy Tournament standings: 4 – 0 , me
Arguments about navigation/direction: roughly 3 times a day, so 12 – but we are still planning to celebrate our 31st Anniversary next Monday
Max layers of clothing: 5 if you count the blanket on my lap
Days left: 10