Road Trip – Again


Gayle and I are off on another road trip – but this time for a very different reason. My Aunt Pat passed away last weekend and we’re in Southern Illinois for the funeral. Illinois is a long state and we drove well over 400 miles to get here. It was a good day for travel with sunshine, temperatures in the mid 80s and humidity levels tolerable for late July.

Shoe sale on Leonard St.

Before we hit the road…a couple of errands to run. Shoe sale today on Leonard St. N.W.- the sale always starts the last Thursday of July. Five pairs for me.

Time for a new suit and some new shirts and ties

Then down to Grandville for a new suit and some new shirts and ties. As for my t-shirt…I am a graduate of the Univ. of Wisconsin. I had a fellow Badger come up and start a conversation at a rest stop.

Flowers in downtown Grandville

Look at the pretty flowers in downtown Grandville…beautiful and free for anyone and everyone to enjoy. A shout out to whomever plants and tends to this awesome display.

Tree covered in a vine full of bird’s nests

This was pretty amazing. This tree was at a rest stop in Illinois. There’s a vine growing up the tree and in the vine there were literally dozens of bird’s nests. I’m sorry I didn’t catch the birds in this shot, but I watched at least ten birds fly in and out of various nests. The park also had a small playground for the kids, picnic tables behind the shelter where it was very shady and a creek on the north edge of the property.

Wind turbine in Central Illinois

We passed dozens of wind turbines. This one was lower to the ground and not turning. In fact, we passed over half a dozen turbines that were not turning.

Corn behind a gas station on I-57

This was a cornfield behind a gas station on I-57. This corn isn’t quite as high as it should be in the last week of July. It needed a little rain as the leaves were just starting to curl and the ground was cracked.

The east part of the cornfield isn’t going to make it. You could tell this area had standing water in it…now it’s dry.

We passed many fields that were never planted, some that were planted in corn or beans and the crop was slow to gain altitude. They’ll have to hope for a late frost and good growing time in Aug. and Sept.

Little behind the gas station included this 50-lb bag of salt

There was a lot of litter behind the gas station, including this 50-lb bag of salt. The Boy Scout it me wanted to put on some work gloves, get a plastic bag and pick up the litter. BTW, we complain about the condition of the roads in Michigan…I sure don’t think the roads in Illinois are any better.

Electric Charging Station at Salem IL

Our motel had an electric charging station. I asked the guy at the motel desk how often it’s used. He said “more often than you might think…mainly rich people from Texas who are driving north to Chicago or Wisconsin”.

Driving down I-57, we saw a huge lot with I would guess over 300 school buses. It was not a factory, mainly must a parking lot. We stopped at a local restaurant (not a chain). The “senior portion” was enough to feed the entire city of Rockford. There were two cats sleeping in the shade of a van in the parking lot. I wondered if they were strays. We saw a lot of trucks on the interstate. I bet we passed 20 FedEx trucks. We saw deer in fields several times – once about 12 of them together. They have cornhole here at the motel. Illinois is very flat. You can see a long way…each town seemed to have a water tower (or two), a cell phone tower and a church with a big steeple. People are very friendly down here. Everyone we passed said “hi”. When we left Michigan, there was a very thin layer of smoke covering the sky from Canadian wildfires…as we moved into Central Illinois, we drove out of the smoke and the sky turned blue.

We’ll attend the funeral Friday, travel back to Michigan on Saturday and I’ll be back on TV on Sunday. This week is the Marion Co. Fair here in Salem IL and the Coast Guard Festival in Grand Haven. The first year I was in the Coast Guard Parade was 1975. We all went to Fracano’s after the parade.

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