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Tagged by Janet, I'm asked for my favorite Iowa State Fair memory. I'm that rare bird from Iowa - I've been to the fair only three times in my life.

The first time I attended, and perhaps the most memorable one, was not to attend the fair, but a concert. I think it was in 1981. Triumph, 38 Special, and a few other bands were playing. Back then, I owned a certified hippie vehicle: a flower-curtained, powder blue with white top Volkswagen Minibus. I'd purchased it like a week earlier. My best buddy, Jim, drove the six of us there. I had no idea how to drive a stick yet and didn't have my license (long story there...)

The concert was fine. Rik Emmett was awesome, and that's all that mattered. It was the ride home that proved memorable.

The concert ended late in the night, and we all got into the van. Jim drove home. As we headed back for my home town of Sioux City, Iowa, everyone in the back of the van passed the bong pipe and Jim and I sat in the front seats.

Somewhere just north of where 680 joins 29, Jim told me that he was too tired to drive. A quick survey of the group in back found them too stoned to drive. Me - and typically for me - I was wired and wide awake. So Jim pulled over to the side of the road and he and I swapped seats. Now, if you've ever driven a minibus, it has a stick about two feet tall coming up off the floor of the van. Jim tried to coach me into how to maneuver the clutch and stick, but lessons taught at 1 AM on the shoulder of the interstate aren't always fruitful.

So Jim took over again. But about 10 minutes into the drive, he started to nod off, and I caught him, and he righted himself. So he proposed that he and I switch seats - while he was driving.

Donna from the back shouted, "You've got to be kidding. You're get us killed if you try that."

Carl, in his tyipcal Carl way, said, "This is gonna be excellent."

The other two were half-asleep.

Jim lifted himself from his seat, I slid in behind him. Then the van started to lurch as it slowed down.

Jim looked over his shoulder at me. "You'll have to put your foot on the gas pedal or we'll kill our speed." And with that, he stepped on the gas pedal again and we were back to 55 mph.

"You guys are going to get in a wreck," said Donna.

"This is choice," said Carl.

I worked my foot underneath Jim's and floored it. There was no finessing the pedal in the position I was in. Fortunately for me, my van topped out at 65 mph. I worked my way up into the driver's seat and Jim stepped over the stick while holding onto the wheel. Amazingly, the van didn't swerve much during the exchange. A moment later, I took over the steering wheel.

Jim looked at me from the passenger seat, smiling. "You got it?"

"I'm good!" I replied, beaming.

Carl: "That was awesome."

Donna: "No, that was scary."

The rest of the drive was uneventful. When we got to Sioux City, I took my foot off the gas and then moved the stick into neutral until we coasted to a stop and them Jim took over again and dropped everyone off.

Donna didn't speak to me for a week.


by Brett Rogers, 8/14/2007 8:55:01 AM


"This is choice" - LMAO!!! Thanks for sharing your tale, Brett - I'm glad... if AMAZED... that you all made it home! ~ Janet



Posted by Janet (, 8/14/2007 10:39:02 AM

Heh, just last week I was thinking about you that van. Funny story. Thanks for sharing. :)



Posted by Kelly, 8/14/2007 12:21:35 PM

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