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The Midwest is not a flyover zone


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I just got back from a week in the Midwest. Basecamp, northern Missouri at Mom's house. Driving miss Daisy, we went on to Wisconsin to celebrate her birthday with her twin.

I wish I had more photos. We followed the great river road ad much as practical.

It's an amazing, beautiful drive. Whether the Mississippi is to your left, or your right, it's just beautiful.

I can never get enough.

Sherry

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And, then, there is that wonderful huge prairie sky. Like this, on my way to Moline, to fly home to Florida

 

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The sky goes on forever, as does that silver ribbon of road. I just had to watch for tractors....

Sherry

 

 

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Been there, and I have no plans to return:

 

The horizon is way too close.

 

The rivers and streams are sluggish, unattractive and full of brown muck.

 

There are too many people.

 

There are too many big rigs crammed onto the main roads, going too fast.

 

The air is thick and wet.

 

There are too many biting bugs.

 

The weather is violent and unpredictable.

 

The camping opportunities are limited, commercialized, and way too expensive.

 

The freeways and bridges are rough and decayed.

 

It is so darned FLAT.

 

There is a very cool train museum in downtown Omaha, gas is really cheap, and uhmmm, that's about it for me.

 

I was born in Iowa and grew up in St Louis and Nashville. I got out of that part of the country in 1981 and have no regrets about leaving, nor any plans to travel east of Denver any time  in my lifetime.... I picked up Mouse in May and nothing I experienced during the 21 day trip did anything to change my mind.

 

Bah humbug. Come out west for a visit. You need to add a few Rockie Mountain states to your travel map. ;)

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA

 

 

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"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder"  I have not been in a state or a Providence that I have not found places that were interesting or that we have not enjoyed. Now I do pick and choose the time of  year to visit Death Valley is far more attractive to me with a Feb. superbloom that July heat wave. Now Big cities and traffic are not my thing so I will drive miles around Chicago , New York etc. we do enjoy the differences.  Thanks Gary

 

 

 

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Good point, Gary. We also find beauty in every region. Sherry's picture stirred good memories of the many times we've driven across Kansas on our way to and from home. Having lived in a dozen states from Hawaii to New York there's not a region we wouldn't go back to!  Mike

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John's points are well taken: bugs, humidity, close horizon, etc.

 

I am a Westerner and had not been as far east for over thirty years as we were this past June to pick up our Ollie. However, I feel the same way as Gary and Mike: I have never been in any region of the country that I have not found interesting or as having its own beauty. I still remember the enchantment, for instance, not far from Hohenwald, of waterfalls and fireflies along the Natchez Trace Parkway at dusk--pure magic. On the other hand, it was so refreshing to cross the continental divide on the way back to our SE nook in Arizona: towering peaks; wide vistas; clear, dry air; sparkling clear, rushing water. (I do miss those fireflies.)

 

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By the way, we now live about 100 miles from the location depicted in Gary's photo. My photo was taken at Lake Scott State Park, an oasis in the otherwise dry--and very flat--terrain of Western Kansas.

 

--Jeff

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I still remember the enchantment, for instance, not far from Hohenwald, of waterfalls and fireflies along the Natchez Trace Parkway at dusk–pure magic. (I do miss those fireflies.) 

 

If you travel a little further east, you can see the fireflies in all their glory, North Carolina - Blue Ridge Parkway - June timeframe

 

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That is Trumpetguy's stomping ground, maybe he'll chime in.

 

 

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What a gorgeous photo. I, too, love the fireflies. Heading back to NC soon...

Saw them last week in Mom's back yard. I miss them, too ...

Sherry

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A big part of my fascination with the Midwest is probably my upbringing on the Minnesota farm. Seeing and hearing the corn grow, eating tomatoes and peas fresh from the plants in the huge garden.Riding the tractor with Dad, tending chickens with Mom. The amazing smell of new cut hay. Riding my pony, and the odd calf... Fording the usually shallow creek between us and nearest neighbors, chasing butterflies, finding tiger lilies and lady slippers in the woods..

The barn dad built from lumber he cut and milled himself still stands. He always told me I helped, but all I did was paint very low boards, and pull nails for him... I was six.but I sure loved being there with Dad.

Life on the farm was pretty simple, but rich. We depended on each other, our family, and our neighbors. None of us had a lot, but we all had about the same...as my childhood friend Rose says, we had no idea others had more, so no big deal

Those farm years, before we moved to "town", gave me a huge appreciation for life, green, and simple. I'd love to go back to those days. Easy, no. My parents worked unbelievably hard. Satisfying, certainly.

And that big prairie sky... I remember laying under the oak in the pasture, watching the clouds. Imagining the rest of the world on the cloud figures.

Since then, I've been lucky enough to see a lot of the world. But, you know, those cornfields are pretty darn amazing, too.

 

Sherry

 

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Born & raised in Michigan. I can relate to what Sherry is saying. In the 70's, before Clair & I were married, we started our travels in Michigan. We had both spent most of our life very close to home so it was exciting to get out & tour our beautiful state. When we moved to Florida we spent a lot of time traveling within the state & then branched out to see most of the eastern side of the US. We shy away from cities, preferring to travel back roads & visit small communities. So far, we haven't found a state without beauty or interest. Sooo...we know that there's so much more out there to experience & enjoy!

 

Thanks for sharing Sherry! Clair was just talking about taking a trip up into Wisconsin & over to Minnesota to visit a friend of ours. Adventures await!

Kathy

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Well, unless you enjoy winter camping, and cross country skiing, ice fishing, and snowmobiling, Minnesota is probably off the radar...

My friends had their last sailing regatta last weekend in the freezing temps in the twin cities. The frostbite regatta... The lakes aren't frozen yet, but it won't be long.

 

Sherry

 

My sister's garden a few hours after the first snowfall last week. Pretty, isn't it?

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Spike and Randy -

 

If you are REALLY into fireflys then you have just got to see the blue ones.  Yes, blue instead of the normal green/yellow.  Google it.

 

Bill

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So, Bill, I've added another item to the bucket list. Blue fireflies. I read a little. Looks like the Dupont forest in early summer is the place to see them.

Our camping property is not that far from there, but we've never seen the blue ghost flies. The yellow white in abundance in the summer evenings. I'm grateful for those. We have none in our part of Florida.

Sherry

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Sherry - when they are in season I'll try to remember to drop you a note.  Sometimes those areas that are known to have these fireflys can be very crowded, but, I know of a place where you can have them all to yourself - as long as you don't tell anyone where it is.

 

Bill

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I'm sorry.  I just don't get this aversion to the midwest. I grew up in New England,  wentbto school in Colorado, worked fro Wyoming Game and Fish in the Tetons, grew oysters on the coast of central California, worked in the Turks and Caicos Islands for 2 year, run a pan-Caribbean ngo, and have worked for Florida Fish and Wildlife doing marine research in the Florida Keys for the last 35 years...all beautiful places...and I think the plain states are absolutely gorgeous. Have you seen the buffalo grazing in the tall grass prairie? Or watched a thunderstorm rumbling across the horizon? The thousands of cranes on the Platte? With all due respect, perhaps you could stop along the way from somewhere to somewhere else. You may just be surprised.

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On 8/9/2017 at 2:05 AM, John E Davies said:

Been there, and I have no plans to return:

 

The horizon is way too close.

 

The rivers and streams are sluggish, unattractive and full of brown muck.

 

There are too many people.

 

There are too many big rigs crammed onto the main roads, going too fast.

 

The air is thick and wet.

 

There are too many biting bugs.

 

The weather is violent and unpredictable.

 

The camping opportunities are limited, commercialized, and way too expensive.

 

The freeways and bridges are rough and decayed.

 

It is so darned FLAT.

 

There is a very cool train museum in downtown Omaha, gas is really cheap, and uhmmm, that's about it for me.

 

I was born in Iowa and grew up in St Louis and Nashville. I got out of that part of the country in 1981 and have no regrets about leaving, nor any plans to travel east of Denver any time  in my lifetime.... I picked up Mouse in May and nothing I experienced during the 21 day trip did anything to change my mind.

 

Bah humbug. Come out west for a visit. You need to add a few Rockie Mountain states to your travel map. 😉

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA

 

 

I will say, nothing compares to the mountains, rivers, shorelines, geology and deserts of the western states . . . . . but then I am prejudiced, having lived most of my life in California, Oregon and Washington.  We did spend an awesome night camped at Chimney Rock in Nebraska last summer.  Had quite a thunderstorm go through during the night . . . . . you could hear the "boomers" coming from miles away . . . . . and then there was wind. . . . . . . and trains . . . .  all night long . . . . . and a rattlesnake that rared up and scared the you-know-what out of my husband as we were exploring the Pioneer Cemetery at the base of Chimney Rock. . . . . . . It truly was an amazing trip 😁

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Ray and Susan Huff

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Gosh - my place is better than yours. Ha. Perhaps I am unique - I grew up in Cali, NJ, Del, TX, LA.(The Bayou), and GA, and as an adult, employed in TN, MI, MO, MS, KY, NY, and LA.  I have my own preferences, but honestly find joyous places everywhere we go - Although the slog across Kansas can be hard - I do love  the straight- almost perfect Interstate....

I had a great time biking down the thump thump thump Route 66 in OK, and had a great beer n pizza  in the HH stay in MO, and, and, and -  well - not to mention all the other - from here to there, and back again.

Honestly - the crowds this year put a big damper on the summer trips. If it weren't for the Oliver's great boondocking  features, it would have been much harder to enjoy many of the places we like to frequent.

The US is great from coast to coast- border to border. When the C-19 is behind us - I plan to spend more time exploring  all of it - some twice, Bilbo won't have anything on us. If I'm lucky, I Might even stumble across Mr. Bah-humbug - somewhere in the west - as I would love to see some of the improvements JD has  made on his Oliver.  The Seattle area is a long haul for sure, perhaps western WA. 

Enjoy all.

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Every state has something to be proud of, surely.  I do have a least favorite, but I won’t say which one so as not to offend Oklahomans. 

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During numerous trips across the Midwest on motorcycles I had this opinion that it was flat and unappealing - just something that must be endured in order to get to more appealing areas.  However, once I slowed and gave myself more time to realize that this area is not flat ( or at least TOO flat ) nor was it necessarily unappealing.  The sky, the rows of corn and sunflowers, those t-storms (as long as I wasn't in one).  The quiet nature of both its small towns and its people.  Its vastness offset by its safety and friendliness and warmth of spirit.  The knowledge that this area of the world feeds so many people.  And, besides these big picture things there are smaller gems that can be found by asking and looking - Fort Hayes (Hayes, KS) and a Buffalo Bill statue (Oakley, KS) located just a couple of miles off interstate 70 are just two examples. 

Bill

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5 hours ago, BackofBeyond said:

Gosh - my place is better than yours. Ha. Perhaps I am unique - I grew up in Cali, NJ, Del, TX, LA.(The Bayou), and GA, and as an adult, employed in TN, MI, MO, MS, KY, NY, and LA.  I have my own preferences, but honestly find joyous places everywhere we go - Although the slog across Kansas can be hard - I do love  the straight- almost perfect Interstate....

I had a great time biking down the thump thump thump Route 66 in OK, and had a great beer n pizza  in the HH stay in MO, and, and, and -  well - not to mention all the other - from here to there, and back again.

Honestly - the crowds this year put a big damper on the summer trips. If it weren't for the Oliver's great boondocking  features, it would have been much harder to enjoy many of the places we like to frequent.

The US is great from coast to coast- border to border. When the C-19 is behind us - I plan to spend more time exploring  all of it - some twice, Bilbo won't have anything on us. If I'm lucky, I Might even stumble across Mr. Bah-humbug - somewhere in the west - as I would love to see some of the improvements JD has  made on his Oliver.  The Seattle area is a long haul for sure, perhaps western WA. 

Enjoy all.

We try to avoid Western Wathington . . . .  too much traffic and a long stretch of densely populated cities until you get north of Seattle. . . .  Eastern Washington, on the other hand is worth exploring.  😁

Ray and Susan Huff

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53 minutes ago, Susan Huff said:

We try to avoid Western Wathington . . . .  too much traffic and a long stretch of densely populated cities until you get north of Seattle. . . .  Eastern Washington, on the other hand is worth exploring.  😁

Gee I meant Eastern, I've done both, prefer less population density.

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In 2006, I rode my bicycle unsupported across country to celebrate my 50th birthday. Sure it was repetitive and God-awful long across the prairies, but those are some of my fondest memories of the trip. I remember with great affection the flint hills of Kansas, camping under infinite skies, combines to the horizon, golden bales of hay. I suspect that creating these unanticipated memories are why many of us got our Ollies in the first place. 

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8 minutes ago, KeysConchs said:

I remember with great affection the flint hills of Kansas, camping under infinite skies, combines to the horizon, golden bales of hay. I suspect that creating these unanticipated memories are why many of us got our Ollies in the first place. 

I suspect so, too.

 

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Paddled a canoe from Fort Lupton CO to Phippsburg ME long ago. As a young man from New England, I was blown away by how endless the sky seemed to be. I’ll never forget it..I can’t wait to visit as many places as possible, regardless of where they are once we pick up our new Ollie in November..
 

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Paddled a canoe from Co. to Phippsburg.  Did you go through Panama? Imagine that was a rocky trip otherwise.

Time is getting close, how you holding up? Rugs all made?

Hoping one more trip to St. George.

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