Sunday, August 06, 2006
Children of the Corn
Day 5 August 6, Sunday 385 miles
Left St. Louis and headed west to Hwy 79 that led to Hannibal, MO, Mark Twain’s home. The road, called the Great River Road, ran north along the Mississippi. All along it there were signs reminding people of the flood of 1993. If it can’t grow in the Mississippi flood plain in Missouri, it just can’t grow anywhere. Corn and soybeans seemed to be the main crops. (I was destined to see nothing but corn and soybeans today it turned out.)
I passed a ramshackle building (they were pretty much all run down) that had “Christian Disposal” as its name. Missouri has a long way to go to catch Colorado, who would figure out a way to recycle old and depleted Christians.
Occasionally, the road would be covered by giant mimosas (the mimosas seem to grow wild very well there) and it almost seemed like I was back down south where the oaks growing on both sides of the road form military wedding salutes with their limbs touching over the middle of the road.
Hannibal was, well, a little disappointing. It’s a tired, worn-out town that looks like it is fooling itself that it can live on the reputation of Mark Twain. However, I did take pic of some famous landmarks.
I left Hannibal and headed north on 61. Soon, I felt like I had stepped into hell. But, then I realized that I hadn’t even reached Iowa, yet! The land was crap, and stayed that way into southern Iowa: dry, burned up, hot. For two hours I repented, promised God, and did everything I could just to survive. If I lived there, I would not own a motorcycle; I’d use all my money for alcohol and drugs!
Then, I hit Davenport and was pleasantly surprised. What really blew me away were the mansions up on the hill facing the river. They were all situated on HUGE LOTS perched high above the water on a hill. I have to think that the home owners have their money from old farm estates, big businesses, or are from out of state.
After stopping into a biker bar, I got some good advice about how to get on up the road. I noticed that hardly any riders in Iowa wore helmets. Hell, if I lived there I wouldn’t either, hoping to get killed.
But, the last hour from Davenport to Dubuque was great. A nice four lane road, with corn and soybeans everywhere. And I do mean planted in every nook and cranny of open space. But as I got further north, there were more and more places that were not under active cultivation. The land rolled gently, with the light colored green plants and trees becoming a darker green as they flowed down the slopes toward the water in the hollows and draws.
But, god I can see how they made a movie like Children of the Corn. All those fields are just downright spooky. I could imagine getting lost in those fields of green. Speaking of green, that is the ONLY color you see. There is no red, purple, or blue. Only green in a million different shades.
Dubuque looks to be very quaint. The highway dives down between bluffs and runs into the town, which is situated on the Mississippi. I think there are the usual gambling (I mean, “gaming”) boats, but I couldn’t tell for sure as it was getting late. I did, though, notice blocks of townhomes, much like you’d see in the older towns in the east, around the streets close to the heart of town. I’ll check it all out in the morning.