Passing Thoughts and Unofficial Observations

Illinois has thus far been the flattest state with the darkest soil though parts are hilly and woodsy.

Farming here is on a massive scale - big tractors, big acreages, big money.

Almost all the towns in Nebraska, Iowa, and Illinois have fancy new signs at their city limits. It is a part of a revitalization project. Unfortunately, it doesn't change the core and some are destined to become modern ghost towns.

Cowboy hats are gone. They seemed to be popular from Eastern Oregon all the way to and including Nebraska.

Though foreign cars have made inroads - domestic brands still rule in the Midwest.

Those ubiquitous plastic bags are a bane and a pain. They get hung up in trees and brush but are particularly annoying when they (and larger plastic) get caught on fencing and flutter in the wind as semi-permanent eyesores. Can't they all now be disposable?

It's always nice when my cart fits through the motel door of my room.

It is no wonder that we as a nation are obese. Everywhere there seems to be little choice of healthy food. I am currently frustrated by the near monopoly over my choice of prepared foods. It's always the same franchises over and over and over again. I don't need to list them - you can name them yourself.

I saw a red fox jump from a ditch not 10 feet away. I also saw my first gray fox. Did you know that gray foxes climb trees?

More clotheslines are used in the Midwest - this may seem retro but it's always good to use the free sun. An extra bonus is that the wind acts as a fabric softener.

Illinois roadways are surprisingly clean even though they do not have a bottle or can deposit. I would say they are as clean as Oregon's ranking only behind Iowa.

One thing I hadn't thought about until today - I have not seem anyone on a street corner asking for money. In Oregon they are quite common.

The mosquitoes are all gone - really.

Most states offer multiple styled license plates and as a result it has becomes more difficult to identify a state with it's plate.

When leaving one state going into another, there is usually some physical demarcation - a river, a mountain range, a drop in elevation - something. Not so between Illinois and Indiana. If if you didn't see the "Welcome to Indiana" sign you would think you were still in Illinois for almost 50 miles until the terrain starts to change to rolling hills and woodsy farms.

Oregon is the only state I have walked through that requires motorcyclists to wear helmets.

People in the Midwest like their cardinals. Football teams are cardinals, license plates have cardinals, artwork contains cardinals, and several states have the cardinal as their official state bird.

The roadside litter has increased in Indiana. What's up with that?

I've noticed big variations in prices while on this trip depending where I am. People can only charge what others can or are willing to pay.

It is a joy to see the beautiful autumn leaves cover the forest floor.

I give the Illinois drivers good marks. They seemed much more patient than Iowans.

Can I say I'm tired of the "Support Our Troops" signs. I'm not really sure just what the phrase means and it seems to have become a stale cliche. I cannot think of anyone that does not support our troops. If we said "Remember our Troops" or "Support the Constitution" it would make more sense.

Autumn has passed its peak and the woods are starting to take on a "get ready for winter" look.

No more coyotes that I've noticed. I read that they they traditionally did not haunt east of the Mississippi River but that they have now moved eastward - so who knows?

Midwest lawns are large. People do not have to water lawns here so they are easier to maintain - especially with a riding mower.

I've stayed in too many motels recently and need to return to camping a little more. Its alway's fun to be under the stars and motels can bust the budget.


  1. Interesting, that you are not seeing panhandlers. Seems like there are so many, at least here in Eugene. Wonder why the difference. Keep up the determination. I am also watching a blog of 2 nurse friends, who are climbing Mt Kilimanjaro. I have so much admiration for both of you.
    Berts's sister

  2. More panhandlers in Oregon ..... duh .... it's a MECCA for those types due to the tax-payer-funded entitlements.