Sunday, August 31, 2014

Traveling East: Illinois

This is the post for Saturday August 30th

More fields of corn and soybeans with signs next to the fields. Just figure all are GMO. Farmers become dealers for a seed company and get a deal on seeds and chemicals. They put out the signs and encourage others to use these seeds.
We pass a field of sorghum. These are non GMO. I like the syrup. Used to watch my Grandpa Whitlock pour it all over his plate at breakfast. I only used to have it in Illinois, but now you can find it in the occasional farm stand in California.
Field of Sorghum
The big yellow flowers at the roads edge are wild sunflower relatives. Sunflowers are a big family. You see these along the farm roads in the central valley also. Same plant.
Wild Sunflowers
I start to see small homemade signs along the edge of the road. (1.) Born 1974. Then 5 miles later there's another. (2.) Hornets Cheerleader. Just when you think there are no more.  (3.) CHS Flag Corps. (4.) Track Star? (5.) You are 40 years old. No Way! (6.) Happy Birthday. Shelley (in a heart)
Shelley's husband went to a lot of trouble to let his Chillicothe High School sweetheart know he still loves her.

We pass a pickup hauling a long trailer with about 6 of those big rolls of hay stacked end to end.

We pass 2 ethanol plants out here close to the supply of corn.

Hannibal, Missouri, the boyhood home of Mark Twain. Then we cross over the mighty Mississippi River into Illinois.
The Mighty Mississippi
I72 looks deserted. This is part of the Eisenhower Interstate system the same as I80, but it is not a well traveled truck route to Springfield, Illinois.
The verge and divider are not mowed in most places and the edges are filled with grass growing out toward the roadway. No rest stops, no picnic spots and little traffic.

A sudden rain storm hits reminding us that's why its green, green, green here. When we pass houses they all have big lawns. Here all you need is a mower.
The trucks are on I55 from Springfield to St Louis.
At Litchfield we decide to visit Aunt Ruth first.

She looks very healthy for 100 years old. Her color is good. Not a wrinkle on her forehead or cheeks. She is on Oxygen now. She looks quite spry, up in a wheelchair. She is a bit forgetful. Kept wondering who Bill and I were. I am glad I made the picture book for her. She kept referring to it and liked it very much. Cousin Jim, Ruth's eldest, and his wife Nancy were there visiting also. I can't remember when I last saw Nancy. They are planning a visit to their daughter Anne in Seattle and may also visit us.

Traveling East: Missouri

Because of one thing and another this is Friday's Post. I may catch up sometime.
Traveling East: Missouri August 29th

We awoke at 7:36 this morning and remembered we had an appointment at 8am at the North Platte Firestone store to have our alignment and tire balance checked. We think we threw something out yesterday when we hit a pothole on the highway. We got dressed, made coffee, broke camp and arrived on time. It turned out we had a bulge in our right front tire, I blame Alaska, and we had to buy a new right front tire.
While sitting in the Firestone store, I decided to Google Baker North Platte Nebraska, since Grandpa Al came from here. Bill doesn't know any local relatives. What Mr Google suggested was an assortment of miscreants, politicians and the local police chief.
Back on the road riding very smooth now, we noticed the clouds getting darker. Then the deluge began. Many people pulled over to the side of the road, some put on hazard lights and others got under the overpasses. I remembered Al telling stories of grapefruit sized hail. He said if you were caught out you could get in a culvert or under a dead cow. Finally the rain lets up.
Car stopping under an overpass
Some places have so many large round bales of hay scattered in the fields that they look like huge deer droppings.

Then the fields change to mostly corn and soybeans. A huge field of corn and a huge field of soybeans.

After we cross the Missouri river into a corner of Iowa I notice small signs next to the fields. Pioneer and Golden Harvest with numbers on them. These are DuPont and Syngenta brands of GMO seeds.

In Missouri along with the continuation of the huge corn and soybean fields, we see wooded areas. All of this area from the Atlantic to the plains was a vast thick woodland until it was cleared for farms.

Ever since we left the tinderbox state of California we have seen lots of fireworks stands. William has fond memories of bad tricks done with fireworks as a kid. Here in Missouri I see one fireworks stand labeled Factory Outlet. Do they sell seconds and rejects here? How safe is that? But then how safe are things like M80's in perfect condition?

William went on a long walk around the developed and undeveloped parts of the RV park. We had to pull on the other side of our electric plug in so we would not be getting out right into the face of the neighbor's chained up dog. They are long term residents with a rusted out truck with gun lover bumper stickers. While William was on his walk he ran into the neighbors walking their dogs. He was told that the big dog was a rescue dog that was not well socialized yet. While they were chatting he discovered why there is no internet for us. This guy and 3 others are internet gamers. Also the neighbor has an internet business. Probably the others do too. So they suck up the free internet, leaving none for anyone else. The park will catch on after a while.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Traveling East: Nebraska

We left on Tuesday morning the 26th. Our first night was in Wells, NV. Then on to Rawlins, WY. Wyoming was very cold and we broke out the down comforter. Glad I washed it after Ben and  Toby borrowed it camping at Fallen Leaf Lake.
Today we caught up with the storm we have been following . Heavy rain and poor visibility in Wyoming. We see lots of huge oils tanks and a Sinclair processing plant in Sinclair, WY.
The land looks like it does not usually get this much rain, short grass and scrub, occasional black cows, one group of long horns and some dusky gray horses.
We hope for sun as we enter Nebraska, but it is still overcast. Out of the rain for now.
Lots of fleet trucks on I80 and all of them are hiring drivers. William says long haul truckers often don't last long.
This is a trailer tail. We see them on a few trucks. Something to improve aerodynamics.
Seems like most of I80 is under construction. At least a quarter of the time we are traveling on a two lane road.
Corn as far as the eye can see and then a feed lot.  The corn does not look too tall and the plants are very crammed together.
We stopped at a rest stop in Ogallala for lunch. Warm and humid here and lots of flies. A little lady Fed Ex driver admired our Pleasure Way van. She was on a break, driving a double trailer truck back and forth across the country. Said most of her social life is at truck stops or rest stops. A hard life.
As we pull out I spot the flies tap dancing on the table searching for crumbs.
Tonight we are in North Platte NE. Grandpa Al came from here, but we don't know anyone who lives around here anymore. Just saw another Pleasure Way pull in to the Holiday RV Park.
Our Pleasure Way, the PW.