iState Rev 2.0 - Illinois...
The monotony of riding through endless farm country is starting to get to me. Yesterday I was really tired of riding through endless fields of corn and soybeans. In fact, I've given my path a new name, Corn Canyon. The road is often lined with corn fields on both sides. At this time of year, the corn stalks are reaching their highest at 8-10 feet, which makes for a wall of green down either side of the road and very limited visibility. Not that their's that much to see. There's the occasional break in the fields for a farm house and a couple of times a day there's a small town to pass through. Other than that, it's endless fields and flat roads.
In fact, after nearly a month of farm country, I've gotten so that my time on the bike is now spent mostly contemplating topics such as - how to take an artistic picture of crops (not much success on this one), comparing barn colors and architectural styles between states (SD & MN like red, IA & IL prefer white), searching out the courthouse in every county seat I pass through (Elkader IA, Cambridge IL and Pontiac IL all have great ones) and, of course, finding ice cream at least once a day (surprisingly, Subway in Orion IL had really good ice cream and a coffee shop in Henry IL had the biggest scoop yet).
Yesterday, I arrived in Pontiac, Illinois which seems like one of the nicer towns I've been in in awhile. The downtown is bustling, there's a lazy river winding its way through, the houses and historic districts are well maintained. They even have a cobbled street (the first of those I've seen since France last year). The river (the Vermillion) has three wooden pedestrian bridges, called swing bridges, crossing the river. At first I thought the name 'swing bridge' referred to the architectural style, but after walking onto a couple of them, I know it also as to do with the motion you feel when crossing one. Just the weight of one person causes the whole bridge to flex with each step. It was a little disconcerting at first, but kinda fun after I got used to it.
There is also some funny artwork in downtown Pontiac. They have a series of small sculptures of dogs painted in wild colors on many corners in town. I can add this to my list of similar series in other towns (cowboy boots in Cheyenne, WY; buffalo in Custer, SD; and US Presidents in Rapid City, SD).
I added a few pictures to the SD album as well as to the Iowa/Illinois/Indiana album. When I was in the Badlands, a professional photographer was there taking pictures for a tourism website. He took a few pictures of me and I asked him to send me copies. In fact, they've already used one on their website that you can see at: http://www.blackhillsbadlands.com/home/thingstodo/outdoorrecreation/summerfun/bicycletouring You'd never know it's me, but I swear it is!