i was sorry to have missed seeing much of anything in chicago
(altho the chicago version of hash browns were fantastic and portillos all it was cracked up to be)
but my first day in rural illinois was great.
the last of the commuter roads into chicago were pretty empty on an early saturday morning.
and soon we were on small country roads and secondary highways
moving thru rolling hills and large fields of beans and corn.
as i have been seeing since new york
many of the low lying fields had been planted late because of the wet spring
and large areas of crops had been damaged or killed by standing water.
after the last 2 days of monsoon rains
many healthy crops were left standing in deep ponds.
i wonder how much more will be lost?
however, not all the news is bad.
the old saying “knee high by the 4th of july” has been obsoleted by hybrid seed and ever earlier springs.
the crops that got planted on time,
and didn’t get drowned are growing like crazy.
the corn on high ground is chest high now.
i bet i see tassels by iowa!
a highlight of the day was a visit from bill, who finished his own transcon in january.
it is special to talk with someone who belongs to this exclusive club i am trying to earn my own place in.
even at this early stage in my journey we had much to talk about.
his number one observation echoes my own;
“people are so nice.”
if i can convey no other message
this is the one i want everyone to hear.
americans are wonderful people.
rich and poor
black and white
city and country
liberal and conservative…
americans are kind, generous, friendly, good people.
every day i get a hundred smiles and waves for every frown;
and everyone who hears what i am doing sends me on with well wishes.
we are all so lucky to live in this place
and this time.
it has been amazing to see all the people who have come out to help an old man chase his dream.
too many to name.
what they probably do not realize is that my dream was to find them.
accomplished, fascinating people of every description
who are willing to take time out of their lives to help out a stranger.
with the inspiration they give me,
i might actually pull this thing off.
if i can hold up my end,
and wet my feet in the pacific
this will not be my transcon.
it will be america’s.