I knew the girls were upset and disappointed when they didn't respond to my jab. John and I shared a guilty glance and decided to be quiet for the first time in hours. Finally, Catie pulled into a cracked driveway so we could turn around and leave this failure of a trip behind us.
Just then, I caught a large, white blur speed past us out of the corner of my eye. It couldn't be. Catie turned to tail it, and when we finally caught up, we made our first promising discovery of the afternoon: We were following the U.S.S. Enterprise.
The Caties gave each other a high five, and John and I relaxed. Finally, the trip had found its purpose: to pursue the Enterprise as it was boldly towed where no one ... well, most people haven't gone before. Our jostling pursuit of the Federation trailer took us through seven long miles of crows and corn. And then we saw a cloud of dust a mile in the distance. Whatever we were headed toward was big and wild enough to kick up dirt and debris four stories high.
When we reached the Enterprise's destination, we were shocked. Squirreled away in the heart of Iowa, miles from any town or major highway, was a compound of three metal barns surrounded by a huge gravel parking lot with around 150 fully costumed Star Trek fans milling about. We rolled along the perimeter and realized there were more Trekkies inside the barns, viewing movies on giant projector screens and yelling out the lines as if they were watching The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Red-shirted loyalists were bent over tables set up all along the entryways as they quickly but joyfully organized paperwork and wrote name tags in a language I could only assume was Klingon. We parked the car and sat in air-conditioned wonder.
I took the lead. "Well, looks like we found the mothership. One of you ladies want to go out there and find out what's going on?"
Catie took her hands off the steering wheel and turned to face me. "No. We are clearly at some kind of event that they have planned, and it would be rude to interrupt. I'm not going to let you or John say anything mean or sarcasti-"
Before she was able to finish her sentence, I slammed the car door shut and jogged toward the admissions tables. Behind me, John rolled with laughter, and the girls were red with a mixture of rage and embarrassment. But they had nothing to worry about. After spending three long hours listening to constant praise and discussion of the franchise - and being unable to stretch my legs - I needed to indulge my curiosity.