Our Long, Long, Long Trip to NYC or I Heart Iowa

After 6000 miles driven, two snow storms ( one each way!!) in Wyoming, endless bickering after caffeine and sugar crashes, a bored dog feigning intestinal discontent just to get us to stop the car and one breakdown in Iowa, Britt, Dee Dee and I have arrived home safely from The National Stationery Show in New York.

Due to our obsessive love for our 14 year old dog Dee Dee this is the second year that we have driven our booth out to the trade show from San Francisco.  We had an easy trip out there this year because I didn’t take any of my “short cuts” through the back roads of Nevada and Utah. (Google Hwy 50 East and then picture driving it at 2am trying to find a motel.)  After four and a half days we arrived in Brooklyn and took the next couple of days to construct our wood walled booth.

The show was awesome.  Thank you to all the retailers  that were so excited about and supportive of our cards.  I would like to take a moment to brag about the coolest, most volcano-ey country that we got our cards into…wait for it…Iceland!! Thank you Kisan Concept Store.

We got an early start driving back to San Francisco and were right on target to arrive in Boulder, CO at a time of night that’s appropriate when you’re visiting your 94 year old grandmother, when our truck began to screech and smoke.  We pulled off the road and waited for the tow truck in the beautiful rolling farmland of Iowa.

I would now like to take a moment to talk about why I heart Iowa.  First of all, it has awesome rest stops.  They’re clean, well landscaped, dog friendly, have a lot of barbeques and wi-fi is available at all of them.  Second, the people are polite and friendly.    It’s also really, really pretty.  With rolling hills of corn and soybean fields tucked in between batches of trees, meadows and creeks, it looks like a crazy patchwork quilt.  One of the coolest things about Iowa is their wind power.  Sprouting up out of  farmers’ fields, rising up 10 stories into the sky, are surreal, giant, white windmills.

What I like most about Iowa is that that is where I finally found out what was wrong with my truck’s air conditioning.  If you ever have a mechanical problem with your car or, frankly, anything else with a motor in it, drive it on out to a small town in Iowa and they’ll fix your car/ vacuum/ refrigerator etc.  immediately.  For five years I have been taking my truck  to my mechanics because my AC wouldn’t work  in hot temperatures.  They would crank it up in San Francisco, where the average temperature in summer is a blistering 58 degrees, and tell me it was working perfectly.    I would then drive it anywhere outside of San Francisco and realize my AC worked only if accompanied by a spray bottle full of water and open windows.

Gary, the tow truck driver, finally arrived to tow us to the Firestone in Atlantic, Iowa.  At that point I was beginning to wonder why the American car industry is bankrupt because every vehicle we saw was either a Ford or a Chevy .  Well, that’s good for America but bad for someone whose Toyota just broke down and probably needs a part.  At the Firestone the mechanic  popped the hood and asked, “Have you been having problems with your air conditioning?”

He pulled out a broken AC fan belt and proceeded to tell me that I would also need a new AC clutch, and idler tensioner pulley.  Leave it to a man that grew up fixing tractors and other large farm equipment to solve my long standing AC problem in a minute flat.  Once the  fan belt was removed the smoking and scary noises stopped.  We gave the shop 20 bucks for lunch and we made it to Grandma’s house right on schedule.


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