Westbound Day 12 – 359 miles – Chicago to Des Moines

Wednesday, 29 June 1994

It’s an unexciting drive from Chicago to Des Moines but dinner certainly makes up for any boredom en route. We go to Spaghetti Works, a popular Des Moines restaurant, get a table outside, order food and a bottle of wine and then Maureen and I go inside to sample the salad table, leaving Kieran outside. We return to our table, eat our salads, the entrees arrive and Kieran suddenly announces he’s not feeling very well and departs for the bathroom. A few minutes later he returns and announces he’s feeling not merely unwell but awful. A couple of minutes later it’s panic stations, he’s pale and clammy but sweating and writhing around complaining that his stomach is going to explode. He looks terrible.

In Iowa this is clearly not a sudden onset of cerebral malaria but we’re very concerned and quickly decide to abandon the meal and get some medical attention. We ask for the check and call for a taxi and I hustle Kieran off to the bathroom to see if he can throw up. But when I get there I suddenly start to put two and two together. When Maureen and I returned from the salad bar she’d asked me if I’d poured her out a glass of wine before we stood up. I certainly thought I had but her glass was empty. Where had that full glass of wine gone? Straight down an 11 year old’s throat perhaps? I quickly added a gallon or so of water to whatever he’d already had and, surprise, surprise, he suddenly starts to feel much better. Yes, I had a drunk as a skunk 11 year on my hands.

By the time we emerge Maureen has already got our dinner in doggie bags and the taxi is waiting outside but we pay it off and continue as if nothing really happened. Who says you have to go to Timbuktu for real travel adventure?