Saturday, November 10, 2012

Walking in Des Moines

The forecast in the middle of the week was warm weather on Saturday. It seemed to me it would be even warmer if I drove south, so after attending the Terra Cotta Warriors exhibit (see previous post), I headed for Des Moines. I arrived a few minutes before sunset and was so glad that I had the phone number for the hotel with me for I couldn't find it. Phone directions helped and I arrived in about 3 minutes. The gentleman at the reception desk say they give directions all the time, for the hotel has an address on 114th Street but actually sits on the side street with only a tiny little sign on 114th Street. I had been up since 5:00 AM, so I headed to bed early.

Up early then too, and headed for breakfast around 7 AM. Left the hotel about 8:45 AM and got to the Botanical Center, the start point for the walk about 9:30.

 The sign of the door said it was closed to the public until 10 AM for a wedding. I tried anyway, and the receptionist quickly gave me the "Walk Box."  I was walker 59 for this year. The walker before me had a postal address from Sweden.

The walk started along the Des Moines River.I was enjoyed watching two teams of women getting set up for a race.

The noise of this video is from the nearby I-235 freeway, just about over our heads. 

A few steps more brought me to the  Robert D. Ray Asian Garden. 
Here's my photo.

Soon I turned on Grand Avenue and headed towards the state capitol building.

Next I noticed a bridge.

 This is a walking/biking bridge across the Des Moines River.

As I neared the Capitol area I found a sculpture saluting workers. With all the political rhetoric  these days about "job creators" it was nice to see a moment of attention to the people who do the work!

This building was completed in 1886; the route map says the center dome is covered with 24 K gold.

Looking backward I found the building being reflected in an office building.

I walked all around the capitol complex trying to find a WWII monument, a checkpoint for the walk. I found the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, Lincoln and Tad, the Allison Monument, the Peace Officers Monument, but not the WWII monument. Finally gave up and continued on towards the downtown area.

Crossing the river I found the Long Look Garden.

 The downtown area of Des Moines appears to be an office area, probably busy Monday -Friday, but buttoned up quiet on Saturday.  Glad I persisted in doing the 10K route for after a bit I ended by the new public library. Here I found either a kinetic sculpture or a very snazzy wind turbine-- couldn't decide for sure what it was and there wasn't any type of informative sign.

Then I really did hit the sculpture. This area is the John and Mary Poppajohn Sculpture Park. The goal of this park is make contemporary art accessible to the general public. The route map says the value of these sculpture is $40 million. Each one is very different from the next.

When I got closer I realized this is made with alphabet letters.
The sculpture is the work of Jaume Plensa, a Spanish artist.

Three Dancing Figures is the work of Keith Haring.

The above sculpture is unnamed. It is the work of Mark di Suvero, who works primarily with industrial I beams, using a crane to put them together.

After walking along the Locust Street side of the sculpture park, my route map directed me to the 17th Street where I found myself in the Meredith Publishing Company campus.
The classic building is surrounded by modern glass office buildings.

Probably many readers may recognize Better Homes and Gardens -- magazine and cookbooks, for example. I didn't realize until today that Meredith is also the publisher of Successful Farming, a magazine my dad always read.

I needed to find the Plantoir sculpture by Oldenburg & Van Bruggen.

Then it was back along the Grand Avenue side of the Sculpture Park.

The above sculptures are the work of Gary Hume, a British artist. These are called Back of Snowman (white) and Back of Snowman (black). There are 21 sculptures in this park; hopefully I have provided a flavor of the diversity of work.

Soon  I was back to the Des Moines River.

I turned left and walked my way back to the Botanical Center where I again requested the "walk box." I took it to the cafe and stamped my books.

This was a good walk! It counted for the event book (pink), the distance book (first on the left), the 50 state book and the 51 capital book, and the D letter in the A-Z Walking America Book.

I drove back to the capitol area to see why I had a problem. Discovered I turned off on 9th Street rather than 12th.

The route map says the WWII monument was the first in the country. The area in the arches holds reproductions of newspapers, telegrams, and other written materials associated with the time of WWII.

It was a great day to walk. Any day when the temperature is in the 70s in November is day to celebrate and one less day of winter. Saw many, many people out enjoying this bonus day of summer.

The weather forecast is for the temperature to drop now about 40 degrees by morning. So watch this space to see if I get brave to go walking -- even a short walk-- tomorrow.

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