Welcome to the

Random words, pictures and thoughts of one who always wishes to be on the mind's road to discovery!

About Me

My photo
Connecticut River Valley, New England, United States

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Illinois to Iowa = Corn, Corn,Corn—SOYBEANS,OH!!


Thursday Sept 4,2014 Holiday Inn Rm 233 Coralville, Iowa ( actually an Iowa City suburb)

Good evening all. It is 7 pm CST so we gained an hour today. Last night’s sunset in Rochester, Indiana was nice but Ashtabula had it beat.  Haven’t noticed tonight’s yet., but there is a nice three quarter moon not quite night-time bright yet. Couple of things I want to take care of first—glad you liked the little yellow car—I think it was a Pontiac, Gloria but not sure. The middle aged couple were having a blast—he with his balding head and she with her floppy hat. Gave a big grin between us as we passed. The fog is nice but not a great help driving though we seem to have lost it today. Wish I could say the same for the humidity.

Barb Rich, once the dog left with Charlie and Sheryl the odor was gone—so I guess he did get sprayed but I’m sure he has been bathed and smells like a rose now. As for the  A/C—I’m getting punished tonight—could not shut the darn thing off or get it to show the temp. Called the desk, guy looked at it and pushed buttons—nothing, then he hit his head and said—oh, they changed it to thermostat –and there you have it—comfort. But the wet rug—having trouble with them—would we like another room—no—too busy on project. Okay, will send someone in tomorrow to jack it up and put a humidifier and rug dryer in. I agreed but said if it isn’t corrected for tomorrow night—either a new room or a refund—may demand a reduction either way.

Jane, so glad you are enjoying the blog—yes, using WW and so far we are fine—Barb is doing Atkins—we have lots of food with us and haven’t eaten out yet. Free breakfast at the motel, picnic lunch and food from the pantry for dinner—so far we’ve not felt deprived but we have all kinds of acceptable goodies. Half a cantaloupe last night was delicious!

So what did today bring?  Well, at the outset, feeling quite insulted by my comment comparing her window cleaning to Bill’s, Barb got out her Miracle Glass spray can and roll of toweling ( WHO brings them on a trip???) and did all the windows this morning. Further, she informed me that I had to announce that in the blog. Done and Done!

On we went Westward through small towns with lots of corn along the way. The sky was quite ominous for most of the day and the humidity was suffocating—the A/C in the car was dripping from the vents—probably didn’t help that we had the sun roof open. I know, I know—not very good for gas mileage but we love the fresh air, but today it was really hot. At one point it was 91 !!!! 

Kewanna was such a neat little town we drove up and down the streets. Loved the morning glories growing up the corn but hated the empty buildings that were once so beautiful. Every store front was empty—I’m sure the people go to the big box stores in Rochester. Just love the descriptive terms used by the towns to describe themselves. Kewanna is The Little Town with a Big Heart and on the back of the sign when you are leaving they are so sorry they show a broken heart.  How cute is that?We then took off on Rte 14 West to check out Renssellaer. We had gone to the Little Cousin Jasper Festival there three years ago. We’d gotten tired of corn on both sides of the road and saw a gap in the fields. There was a sign to Renssellaer and since Barb was living in Renssallaer, New York at the time we decided to check it out. Lo and behold there was a parade of tractors etc and a toddler king and queen throwing candy to spectators from a bucket loader. A flatbed trailer was filled with model pigs decorated every which way and being judged for best pig prizes. The beautiful County Courthouse had a stage built on its front door and a high school band was playing the hits of 2000, while the lawns had tables and tents holding crafts for sale. We each bought an angel pin and a gourd painted with a crazy face and used for a bird house.  We are too early this year—and we knew we were—the festival starts tomorrow and the greens are all pegged out for the craftspeople and the stage is being erected. The corn fields that led to the town 14 years ago are much smaller—either businesses or homes have been built on some and many have been converted to soybean fields. I know they are legumes but also the interest in soy products by the new health crazes has made growing soybeans for tofu and soy milk much more profitable than corn for livestock—plus the soil isn’t depleted as much so there isn’t the same need for fertilizers and/or crop rotation. Anyway, we took a spin around the green a couple of times and then looked for the historical sign that tells about the town’s establishment by a Van Rensselaer from Albany, NY!! Sign isn’t where it was and we haven’t a clue where it went, The jewelry store in front of which is was is gone and a CVS pharmacy is there now. Also the cute little antique shop is gone. Oh, well, 14 years is a long time—it is still a cute town.

We continued out of town on In 114, on which we arrived and then headed south to pick up 24 West so that we’d enter Illinois at Decatur. This put us off on the Road to Morocco, which we both broke out spontaneously singing—though those are the only words we know—just call us Bing and Bob!  We got a bit excited when we saw what appeared to be a couple of hills—well, they are—Landfill—oh, well, at least there was some break in the monotonous terrain.

The ominous sky, the corn higher than the car roof, the wind and humidity and heat led us to wonder if the Northeast transplants who moved west and named their towns Middlebury, Rensselaer, Burlington, Montpelier etc ever wished they’d just stayed put. These beautiful fertile fields become seas of snow with an occasional tree forming a lonely island, in summer the sun and heat is unrelenting with no shade in sight, the wind is horrendous for much of the year and then tornadoes come roaring across the plains destroying everything in its path. Top that off with unremitting flatness. I don’t know—but despite its incredible beauty, I could not take living here.

Soon we reached Kentland, the home of George Ade—who?  My goodness, have you never heard of the turn of the century playwright and author? Well, apparently Perdue University knows who he is—for the fieldhouse is the Ross-Ade  fieldhouse and he is the ADE of the name.

From there we arrived at the buckle of the corn belt—lol—Iriquois County and on into Illinois. I did not notice the scrapbooking store in Watseca, I was so focused on getting a picture of one of the town’s banners. On we continued on Ill 24 through towns, some of which had nothing more than a water tower and a grain elevator, others of which were adorable house lined villages. I loved Chenoa, whose weather beaten sign, needing a paint job badly. called itself the Crossroads of Opportunities. At El Paso ( nothing like the one in Texas!) we grabbed an Interstate for 21 miles just to get to 17 which we primarily used to get across Illinois.  We had gained our hour back before Rensselaer and we were getting hungry so in Lacon we went looking for a park in which to have lunch.

Way out one of the streets we came to the pool and park—deserted on a school day—besides they have already drained the pool—boy I think I’d have used it today. It was so hot and humid we decided to eat in the car and watch our lawns man groom the grounds—lol! Actually, we did have the doors open at first while we assembled our meal, so we picked up a couple of small flies—but happily, we closed everything up while we ate because that black thing on the windshield is a huge fly like creature—didn’t seem to have a stinger and the probiscus was fairly small. The huge white eyes bulged sideways and it groomed itself like houseflies do—I think taste and smell are involved in that process. It flew around the car and looked in every one of those lovely clean windows trying to get in. After we finished eating we just drove off—did not take a walk or throw out the garbage.

After crossing the Illinois River—very high bridge and Barb looking over the side and driving in the direction in which she looks—God!!—we arrived in  Wyoming. A cute little park –Thomas Park provided a short walk, a garbage drop, a souvenir large acorn and a wave and smile to the local policeman. Barb also indulged her inner child for a few minutes but decided the swings were too low!

On through several more small towns and finally to Woodhull the terminus of our Rt 17 journey and the beginning of Interstate travel once more. The crossing of the mighty Mississippi was fairly easy—over to Le Claire and Bettendorf, Iowa!  Who exactly determines the world’s largest anything?  We stopped only to get the Iowa guide book and info on the Herbert Hoover Museum and Library as well as the Amana Communities. It was interesting to see four blades of one of my favorite windmills on four flatbeds—they are so huge!

Once we got our literature we headed into Coralville and the Holiday Inn.  We are staying for two nights, so we can visit both places leisurely—happily, the weather is breaking. Rain tonight and then fall like temps tomorrow and Sat. Thank goodness—I would have died walking around in 90+ degrees and humidity. Let us hope the meteorologists know what they are talking about.

So, a happy backroads day comes to an end and it is now 9 and I haven’t eaten yet—oh, golly—we stopped too late tonight. Have to make sure we stop at least an hour earlier from now on.  Until tomorrow—have a good evening and we’ll be back tomorrow.  The Zany Twosome—Kathy and Barb


No comments:

Post a Comment