Last week, I drove to Buffalo, New York (aka almost-Canada) to attend the retirement ceremony for a an old friend, about which more later. It’s an 800-mile drive; fortunately I was able to stop off in Pennsylvania to visit my grandparents on the way.
Expedia.com’s mapping service would have had me drive to Peoria and then take the interstates all the way through, but I’ve had enough bland, boring interstate driving to last me several lifetimes. I enjoy driving through small towns and farmland, taking a peek at how others live, and eating at something other than franchise food. The occasional delay caused by farm equipment is more than compensated for by, largely, the absence of flocks of 18-wheelers intent on getting from Point A to Point B as fast as they can.
After looking over the road atlas, I chose to take the smaller state highways to Peroria, across northern Illinois and Indiana to Fort Wayne, angle up toward Cleveland, and then take the Interstate from there to Erie, Pennsylvania. I brought the camera along to take a few clicks along the way.
Coastal sophisticates often turn up their noses at the heartland, dismissing to it as “flyover country” and writing cliched short stories about the oppressive conformity of rural areas — even as the writer wears the piercings and store-brand uniform of non-conformists.
In truth, however, people in rural areas tend to let others let live so long as they pose no harm to others. Instead of relying on clothing or body art, farmers tend to express their viewpoints or sense of fun three-dimensionally.
You know you’re closing in on Fairbury, Illinois when you see this in the distance:
What is that? Some odd form of irrigation equipment?
No….. An ode to grandchildren? Or, did someone make one too many trips to the auction?
Entering Fairbury, Illinois, I spotted The Antique Shoppe. I almost didn’t stop, as I’d already had my fill of “antique” shops for the day, but the display of architectural items outside lured me in.
Inside, I found an amazing collection of vintage and antique quilts located throughout the store — and at very fair prices. Owner Kathy Kupferschmid was very friendly, letting me take lots of pictures and stroke the quilts as long as I wanted. Located about two hours southeast of Chicago, this store is well worth a day trip. Kathy and her husband also sell at Chicago’s Antiques Fair and will bring quilts & tops if asked. (Phone: (815) 692-3379)
And I’m trying to justify buying this, but the Studmuffin isn’t taking the hint:
The store reflects excellent taste, and you will not have to wade through assortments of lower-end collectibles.
Sigh. All good things must come to an end, and I had to hit the road if I was going to make it to Fort Wayne that evening.
How surprised I was as I crossed into Indiana and the open farmland turned to this:
Here’s a little more individuality:
At some point I must have
passed across a Congressional district boundary line, because the narrow two lane suddenly turned into a divided four lane in the middle of nowhere. No, I’m not implying anything; I’m saying it straight out: Oink.