OK, I’m exaggerating – only 770 miles today.
Indiana and Illinois both suck, IMHO. Sure, we only saw the extreme northern parts, so I should reserve judgment, but I won’t, because that’s how I roll after 16 hours of driving.
Indiana’s smell never improved, and in fact got even worse near the steel plants in Gary.
Illinois smelled much the same, and Chicago was astonishingly hideous. A perfect example of what a century of unimpeded progressivism can do. Traffic was surprisingly easy on the approach, which suckered us into a huge traffic jam near the airport. We wasted more than an hour in that mess.
Illinois didn’t improve at all after Chiraq. Flat and filled with monoculture fields of GMO corn, and there were more miles of road that were under construction than not. In fact, I’d say easily 30% of the miles we’ve covered have had lane closures for construction. Brutal. And the roads that weren’t being worked on were in worse shape than New England roads.
Wisconsin – the first state on my tour that I had never been in (I flew into O’Hare once) Nice place! Geographically, at least – way too many Obama bumper stickers for comfort. But the land was gorgeous – rolling hills wrinkling the flatlands, and mile after mile of cropland. All King Corn, of course, with the occasional field of alfalfa rotated in. Plus we ran into some cranberry bogs just before getting to…
Minnesota – meh. Nowhere near as lovely as Wisconsin, although the high prairie we just came through was nice. Minneapolis was just another gross city, with the same crappy traffic problems. Crossing the Mississippi this far north was anti-climactic – after years of dreaming about seeing the river that separates me from the west, it was like driving across the Connecticut River in Massachusetts. Once we crossed, again it was mile after mile of corn. That surprised me; I would have guessed this would be wheat country. Maybe tomorrow as we cross North Dakota after spending the night in Fargo, which is a surprisingly large city with an unexpectedly young feeling.
As an aside – Sirius satellite radio: Best. Invention. Ever.
That’s all for now. Easy day tomorrow – only 8 hours to Billings. Sleeping in and taking it easy.