DES MOINES, Iowa — With 1,500 kilometres to go, The General is so excited about getting to his namesake university that he took his tarp off Friday, just to get ready for the party.
OK, in truth the flapping remnant of rubbery black material that covered him for the first half of his trek home was removed by concerned others. Two days of strong headwinds had ripped it apart pretty badly. He still has a light covering of shrink wrap, and in fact didn’t seem to mind losing the more cumbersome cloak.
While the tarp didn’t make it out of Nebraska, the bronze sculpture of Maj.-Gen. Sir Isaac Brock did. He kept travelling along Interstate 80, basking in unseasonably warm Midwest sunshine.
The more revealed General drew curious glances from passing motorists — not every day you see a big bronze statue toodling along the highway on the back of a truck — and by nightfall Friday he was safely here in the capital of Iowa.
HIs cross-continent marathon continues through the weekend, and at 11 o’clock on Monday morning he is to be the guest of honour at a welcome party as he rolls up to his new home in front of Brock U’s Schmon Tower. Important note to The Brock community: Wear red for what will be a memorable day in the University’s history.
Since his Tuesday departure from the Oregon foundry where he was created, The General has knocked off 2,500 kilometres, three time zones and six states on his way to Niagara. The remaining journey will skirt the south side of Chicago, angle up a bit through Michigan, enter Canada on the Bluewater Bridge at Sarnia, then make for home.
Meanwhile, an informal poll of The General’s entourage has found that the striking desert landforms of western Wyoming are deemed the most memorable part of the journey.
What about neighbouring Nebraska, with its nondescript rural expanses that, viewed along the I-80 corridor, seem often to be not quite fish nor fowl, prairie nor wilderness, backwoods nor boonies?
Awkward pause. Then someone said Nebraska is no doubt a nice place, there’s just nothing very interesting about it, compared to being home on the range in those those vast, hauntingly beautiful landscapes of the west.
Trying to avoid looking mean-spirited, someone piped up that Nebraska is a great place to remove a tattered tarp.
When it was pointed out, in admonishing fashion, that Nebraska was the only state where The General’s contingent had spent two or three hours driving in total darkness, a voice uncharitably mumbled something about that possibly being a blessing.
Clearly they didn’t bother to read this item from the newspaper USA Today this week: “A Lancaster County commissioner charged with theft said he’s occasionally forgetful but is no thief, the Lincoln Journal Star reported. (The 71-year-old man) is accused of stealing a tractor part from York Equipment last month.”
To anyone who has seen how many farms there are in Nebraska, you have to know that being accused of taking someone’s tractor part is a heinous event.
Nothing interesting in Nebraska, indeed.