The trip to Des Moines was uneventful, despite flying in the smallest plane that I’ve ever encountered. It was a Midwest Express flight with a connection in Milwaukee, on two planes that sat 32. There were two columns of seats on one side of the plane, and one on the other, and the Midwest crew had to be sure that Erin and Vivian sat on the side of the plane with the single column of seats, because those where the seats where two oxygen masks dropped down for the seat, allowing Vivian to have her own mask, should she need it.
Well, there’s something more raw about flying in these types of planes than, say, a 747. We had to walk across the tarmac in order to get to our plane. We still had to squeeze ourselves out of the plane like toothpaste when we landed, and the legroom sucked. However, Midwest Express is famous for baking chocolate chip cookies on the plane and offering them free to the passengers. Beat that, Air Canada!
We ended up arriving an hour late, thanks to delays which cascaded from Toronto, but we made it intact, and with our luggage, so that was a successful day. Total door-to-door trip time was around seven hours. Had we tried this by car, we’d have still been about three or four hours outside of Chicago by then. And Vivian was a dream baby passenger. Slept through most of the flight, and what crying she did do was drowned out by the engines.
Des Moines is coming back as a town. As a city, they’ve suffered from the same deindustrializatioin and sprawl that have affected other urban centres, but they’re also experiencing a loft living renaissance, which is making use of some venerable, turn-of-the-century brick warehouses. They’ve cleaned up large portions of their downtown and have installed a major new library and a science centre, which is on my itinerary. They also have some decent skyscrapers.
Yesterday, we ate at an authentic Mexican restaurant (I forget the name, unfortunately) — a real hole-in-the-wall place where the waitress spoke mostly Spanish and the food was great, and cheap. A few storms rolled through, turning the sky green, and providing some interesting lightning strikes, but little more. It’s hot here; in the 90s, which makes for some volatile skies.
Today, the plan is to take it easy.