Saturday, July 21, 2007

Classic American Heartland

July 18, 2007
Mulberry Grove, IL to Indiana Beach, IN

240.6 miles
Hazy to Drizzle

I'm beginning to think hazy skies are the norm here. And serious muggy! But at least the wildflowers like it. The roadsides are thick with many colors and sizes of flowers, so I'm happy!

Passed a billboard advertising the Corvette and VW Beatle Museum of America!?? How could someone even think of grouping Corvettes and Beatles in the same sentence, let alone same museum??

Saw a number of oil birds (you remember oil birds from a previous post??) around the town of Effingham, IL., as a web page says "surrounded by scenic Illinois farmland. . .numerous "stripper" wells still stubbornly pumping oil." I can't find anything to indicate that it's a big business here.
Entering Effingham, IL, the first thing you'll see is "The Cross" -

a 198' high cross built at the junction of I-57 and I-70, that is intended as a "beacon of hope to the estimated 50,000 travelers who pass the site every day".

One of the more affluent areas I've seen in some time is in the town of Mattoon - large elegant houses on a golf course. Can't figure why here - there doesn't appear to be a city for which it might be the suburb - whatever, it's really a lovely area!

Drove into a light drizzle around noon - stayed mostly cloudy for the balance of the dayl But it's obviously rained hard here recently, because the ground is very muddy, fields are often flooded.

I've been looking at hundreds of miles of corn for several days now and decided to look up corn production. I mean, I eat 2 or 3 ears of corn once a year, slathered in butter, whether I need it or not. I love fresh corn, but know it's not real good for me, especially the way I choose to eat it! So, corn -

The United States is, by far, the largest producer of corn in the world. Corn is grown on over 400,000 U.S. farms. In 2000, the U.S. produced almost ten billion bushels of the world’s total 23 billion bushel crop. Corn grown for grain accounts for almost one quarter of the harvested crop acres in this country. Corn grown for silage accounts for about two percent of the total harvested cropland or about 6 million acres. The amount of land dedicated to corn silage production varies based on growing conditions. In years that produce weather unfavorable to high corn grain yields, corn can be “salvaged” by harvesting the entire plant as silage.
According to the National Corn Growers Association, about eighty percent of all corn grown in the U.S. is consumed by domestic and overseas livestock, poultry, and fish production. The crop is fed as ground grain, silage, high-moisture, and high-oil corn. About 12% of the U.S. corn crop ends up in foods that are either consumed directly (e.g. corn chips) or indirectly (e.g. high fructose corn syrup). It also has a wide array of industrial uses including ethanol, a popular oxygenate in cleaner burning auto fuels.

and How much is a bushel?
1 bushel is 1.25 ft3.
1 bushel of shelled corn at 15.5 percent moisture weighs 56 lbs.
1 bushel of ear corn (shelled corn equivalent) occupies 2.5 ft3.
1 bushel of ear corn at 15.5 percent moisture weighs about 70 lbs.
1 bushel of shelled corn contains about 80,000 kernels.

and What is silage:
Fodder (livestock feed) prepared by storing and fermenting green forage plants in a silo.

So, now that you know more about corn than you ever wanted, I traveled on thru the town of Tuscola, which is definitely an amish community, with veggie markets and crafts stores and meeting halls, but I didn't get to see any horse drawn buggies!

I did start seeing billboards and Burma Shave type signs (no where near Tucsola, mind you) promoting - interesting website trying to resurrect the 2nd Amendment from where they seem to feel our government has buried it.

This was an interesting day of driving through classic small town America - the unforgettable two story house with a large front porch containing rocking chairs and/or a swing. Norman Rockwell again! Perfect!

Indiana Beach, where I spent the night, is a huge playground, with several large camping facilities on the water. A serious family oriented playpen!!

The Animal Rescue Site
LogoThere is
person with my name in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?