Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Road trip, end of day 6

This morning I reversed my path through Minnesota on I-35 back down to the place in Iowa I had stayed on Sunday night, and then I veered east through Iowa, down to the Quad Cities, and down past cities like Peoria and Springfield, to a desolate exit on I-55 near a town called Staunton, and another Super 8 motel, this one in a somewhat unnecessarily grand building that I suspect was originally built as a Holiday Inn. When I checked in, I turned on the TV, and this is the first motel I've stayed at which didn't have the Weather Channel as the first thing that popped on.

It was snowy all the way down, snowy on the ground that is. The sky was perfectly clear all day long, brilliantly sunny and windy and cold. I saw a couple more spin-outs, one of them along a strangely unplowed mile of freeway in Illinois. That short stretch was the only part of the nearly 600 miles of freeway I drove all day that was covered in snow and ice.

The countryside didn't vary that much today. It's either very flat and covered with snow, or rolling hills covered with snow. Today the rivers and creeks I saw in Iowa and Illinois were not frozen, as were all the rivers I saw Sunday and Monday in Iowa and Minnesota. The other surprising thing is just how much rural countryside there still is in the U.S. I feel like I've seen fewer than expected suburban housing developments, like the kind you see in California.

I've driven more than 2700 miles so far and I'm just over halfway through the 11 days of my trip. Tomorrow I'm going to check out my old home town of Edwardsville, Ill., which I have only been back to once since I left in 1970, and that one time was 15 years ago.

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