The temperature finally dropped today and we warmed up the camper when we awoke using the diesel cabin heater. We are reminded again, this is not “camping” the way we had defined it to ourselves for all of our previous experience. We sipped hot, fresh brewed coffee, in our cozy cabin while still in jammies watching the sun light up the sky for another day.
When we fueled up in the morning we struck up a conversation with a neighboring truck driver who happened to be a farmer, fueling his big rig for hauling harvest out of the fields. We asked him about all the dried corn still standing in the fields and he commented that this summer will yield a bumper crop of corn, soy and barley throughout the mi-west and the weather has been perfect for letting the plants mature, die, and dry before harvesting. He is looking forward to the governments plan to unify fuel used for all military vehicles to a bio-diesel blend – thus affording him even greater market and growth of the bio-diesel infrastructure. He assures me the farm lobby is working hard on this initiative.
We drive the endless seam of concrete and asphalt leading us steadily westward. The land is slightly rolling here, with occasional rises affording a view over the vast landscape. This has become the land of big sky, with the eastern haze dissolved, and a deep blue canopy viewable horizon to horizon. The farms have grown so now its mostly fields with scattered farm structures – getting larger and larger as the elevators and silos must accommodate ever greater concentrations of this bio-mass being produced. The slender triangular cellular phone towers are as ubiquitous as the corn silos and have been since we left the east coast. For some reason, this style of tower has not made it to California. The wind is buffeting us mercilessly as we cross these wide open places so we sowed down to stay on the road. The wind seems to be a fairly constant factor in the local eco-system as we’ve passed several very large wind generators piercing the skyline.
We crossed the mighty Mississippi River in Iowa and the Missouri Rivers crossing into Nebraska, then swung south and crossed the Platte. The major rivers bringing to memory the heroic explorers then settlers who used these rivers as major transportation arteries before jumping off westward in their wagons and mule trains. What a different landscape this was then, covered in prairie grasses and carved by the great rivers. Now in a blink of the eye, we have spanned the rift, whereas before crossing the river was a major undertaking, requiring long swings off-route to find the appropriate ferry for your conveyance.
Tonight we dined on clam sauce pasta while the sun was setting, exactly the same time in central, as it was two days ago in eastern time zone. The campground here at Branched Oak State Park is deserted except for one other party. We picked a wonderful site, fronting on the lake, with a great view.
Tomorrow, we pass into Wyoming and the large landscape we long for – beyond the reach of the corn farmers and up into higher country.
I definitely did not bring the camera cable as now we have searched each compartment twice. Oh well. The really important stuff made it to the duffels. I’ll add a few pictures once we get home.