08 July, 2010

Day 1

Today was essentially a driving day.

My usual method on these trips is to spend the first day or two getting the bulk of the driving out of the way. Since I live in Chicago, even the closest areas of what I would consider "the West" are at least a good days drive away, and the areas I like to frequent (Wyoming, Utah, Arizona) are another good day beyond that. As just a straight roadtrip, you can do it in one continuous drive -- from Chicago, Denver or Cheyenne are only about 15-16 hours away. But with children and towing a camper, that isn't practical.

No real sightseeing today, unless you count whatever it is one can catch by looking outside the car window.  We crossed the Mississippi River at Davenport in the early afternoon, and the Missouri River at Omaha at about sundown.  Illinois along I-80 is mostly flat and green, but Iowa at least has the virtue of rolling hills and occasional valleys.  Much more interesting a drive west than taking I-90 through southern Minnesota, a route which I consider to be possibly the Most Boring Highway in the United States.

Windmills are sprouting up everywhere in Western Iowa.  It wasn't so long ago (3-4 years ago) that the only windmill you could find along I-80 was a towering one at Adair that never seemed to be working.  I'd often wondered what the deal with that windmill was, since every time I drove by it I never saw its arms rotating, just frozen stock still.  The only purpose I could ever see it performing was to advertise the town along the busy highway, since you could see the thing for miles before the exit.  But nowadays, not only is it working at generating electricity, but there are dozens -- perhaps even more than a hundred -- of similar size standing right along with it in the Adair area.  And not only Adair, but further west in and around the town of Walnut, another wind farm is sprouting up that looks like it may grow to be just as large.  Walnut -- which I've been visiting for years, since its better known as having the largest concentration of antique stores and antique malls in Iowa -- appears to be becoming something of a boom town, a rare thing these days.  The Wind Rush is on, and it looks like towns like Adair and Walnut are looking to capitalize, with still more towns joining in as well (truck convoys carrying those huge windmill blades have become an exceedingly common sight on I-80 through Iowa; I counted four on today's drive alone).  I wish them all good luck, though I am still skeptical that wind power will ever amount to anything more than a drop in the bucket when it comes to fulfilling our country's energy needs.

Tomorrow we head across dusty Nebraska and into even dustier Eastern Colorado, with the ultimate aim being the town of Limon and its KOA.


Anonymous said...

Nice fill someone in on and this fill someone in on helped me alot in my college assignement. Say thank you you on your information.

DeTroyes said...

Err, thanks... I think.