Siri made me laugh out loud this morning. I got up early and drove 50 miles to Des Moines to have my misbehaving car checked out. Westside Auto Pros is in a weird location, so I used the MAPS app to ensure I didn't get lost. As I pulled into the parking lot, Siri announced "Arrived at destination, Westside Auto PROSS". It took me by surprise and I started laughing like a fool.
Westside Auto Pros is a topnotch auto repair shop, with an odd twist to their service. It's like checking into a hospital: three reps seated behind a long counter, tapping away on keyboards, wearing rockstar headphones with wraparound mikes. "We'll run some tests. Help yourself to beverages in the waiting room".
Apparently my car is in very serious condition, possibly requiring an overnight stay.
So, I made the most of my complimentary rental car, starting with the Waukee YMCA. I walked 4 miles on the indoor track and worked out in the weight room. There was a toddler's gymnastics class in the gym, with about a dozen little kids hanging from bars and falling backwards onto the mats. The highlight was a rousing rendition of "Itsy Bitsy Spider".
Afterwards I drove to Winterset, home of the famous covered bridges of Madison County and the birthplace of John Wayne. It’s a cool little town, nestled in the forests and farm fields of rural Iowa, like a Norman Rockwell painting come to life. I saw a young kid with schoolbooks walking down the sidewalk. He waved at me as I drove by. How often does that happen? Made me feel like Jimmy Stewart.
I visited the home where John Wayne was born. It was kind of emotional for me, because my Dad was a big fan of The Duke, as were many from his generation. He represented the America we all long for, where the good guys always win with honor.
Then, after asking for directions from two different people, I drove the winding, bumpy, one-lane road through the woods to Clark Tower, a memorial to Caleb & Ruth Clark who were among the very first settlers here. From the top of the tower you can gaze across the hills and imagine life 150 years ago. A crowing rooster in a barnyard across the valley really set the mood.
And then Westside Auto Pros called me. They said they were still diagnosing, but for sure my car would have to remain under their care overnight. They sounded hopeful that my credit card would soon be maxed out.