Saturday, July 31, 2010

Day 2

The end of a full day of driving finds me at an inn in Indiana.  I drove for roughly 11 hours and passed through 2.5 states.  As an agriculture person, I notice the land, plants and animals more than I do the architecture and the like.  Driving across so much land, you notice changes.

When I started driving through Missouri, it mostly resembled Oklahoma.  It seemed to have more variety of agriculture, fewer cattle and wheat, more fields with other crops or livestock.  The big change was the rocks in the landscape, poking out as if the land there were truly rock and the soil and vegetation were a dressing.  The first rocks I really noticed emerged from the side of a small hill.  They were huge, at least 4 feet tall, disappearing into the hill behind them.  they looked like they had been worn smooth by centuries, or millennia, of winds blowing across them, shaping the edges into a curving tiers rather than harsh edged layers, which is what I found as I continued east.  The land became more jagged, as if the exposed rock faces were more and more recent.

I crossed into Illinois through St. Louis.  I didn't see much of the city, but I loved what I did see.  Soaring church steeples, old steel bridges and renovated factories all vied for attention as I whipped through on the interstate, not to mention the Arch.  It would be nice to be able to go back and spend some more time exploring if the opportunity presents itself in the future.

Illinois has corn.  I drove through and was overwhelmed by the seemingly endless fields of corn and soy beans.  For those not familiar with the practice, soy beans are rotated with corn to help try to increase soil quality because corn is so demanding of soil nutrients.  The fields were not large as such things are measured, but every mostly flat piece of land was growing one or the other of those two crops.  There were very few trees or other plants growing, there were even some 'wild' corn plants growing in the median.

The change from Illinois to Indiana was subtle.  There was still lots of corn and soy beans growing, but there were other things too.  What I noticed most were the trees.  There were trees again, occasionally thick enough to hide the large fields behind them.  The number of fields being grown in Indiana seems to be fewer, but the scale seems larger.  The fields in Indiana are any where from 2 to 4 times bigger than what I saw in Illinois.  There are also more fields with signs indicating that they are testing new varieties of hybrids.  Indiana seems to have a more industrialized agriculture base than Illinois.

So, tonight finds me hanging my hat at an in somewhere in Indiana.  I hope to reach my parents' home in Virginia some time tomorrow.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Day 1

I'm off on an adventure!  Today, I left the comfort of friends and familiar places for new and wondrous sights.  My eventual destination is the famed Emerald Isle, known mostly for its potatoes and leprechauns. However, I am not heading there directly.  After all, isn't half the fun getting there?
My first day of traveling hasn't taken me very far.  I started the day on campus at Oklahoma State University.  I took care of final paper work that I needed to turn in before leaving campus, said good bye to friends and coworkers, and checked out of the dorm.  Tucking the last of my worldly possessions into my crammed little car, I hit the road in the late afternoon.  I drove almost 3 hours, through Tulsa construction, to reach my grandmother's house.  Tonight, with some calls to family members who are much smarter than me and to the service provider, I managed to get her internet working again.  Tomorrow morning I think I'm going to have to re-shuffle some things in my car, due to my grandmother adding a few items to my load and the fact that things kept falling on me on the drive over here.  Unfortunately, my allergies also decided to kick in today, so I will either have to keep blowing my nose at 70 MPH or find a store with allergy medicine in the morning as well.
I will worry about that in the morning.  Now, I am to bed.  I have another long day in front of me tomorrow.