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Illinois...

...where the men are men and the goats are scared!

all seasons in one day 21 °C
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Ah Illinois...land of corn...and fast food. Eating at my Dad's was a highlight to the trip - he cooked chicken in the smoker (a 6 hour process), venison steaks on the grill (from a deer my Dad shot last spring), and served up as much beer as you could drink. Aside from that, the only food options in Galesburg where we stayed were fast food joints and bars - deep fried appetizers, french fries, burgers, etc. No wonder folks in that area seem to be expanding well beyond a conceivable waistline. I often wondered why I get sick every time I go back to Illinois, and I think I've cracked it. It's the unhealthy food! I'm convinced. Aside from at my Dad's, I barely glimpsed a fresh, un-fried vegetable crossing my plate, or feedbag, during meals. Even breakfast was a challenge - I had to order eggs and toast ala carte in order to avoid getting 2 pancakes, 2 eggs, 2 sausages, 2 strips of bacon, a "mammoth muffin", toast, AND hash browns. It's obviously cheap to eat this way, as the big breakfast was only about five bucks...and getting more for less must be a good thing, right? Not exactly. Just ask your heart after eating all that...well, fat. "I'll take the big breakfast....and....hmmmm...well, yes, a cardiac surgeon."

I'm absolutely terrified at the changes in the landscape in the nearly 10 years since my departure from the "Bible Belt", where religious zealotry is rivaled only in, well, any other extremist, narrow minded religious community. But I digress. There are no more hedgerows or fences between fields for that matter, and virtually no trees whatsoever in/near the fields, as they've all been ripped out in order to enslave more of the tortured topsoil to the almighty Corn. It's a big problem. A monoculture is a bad idea, no matter what variety - it encourages disease among the species, depletes the soil (and/or other resources) of certain necessary nutrients, and then requires tons of chemicals to feed it and keep it pest free. ...for the interested reader: The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan (more info here: http://www.michaelpollan.com/omnivore.php). Where have all the animals gone? To the factory farms, that's where - another large monoculture, requiring antibiotics in order to live, and passing on disease to us.

I got to catch up with my friends Monita and Jamie Jo while I was in Illinois - here's a photo from our night out...good times!
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We wrangled up some cold beers at a bar called Crappy's North (!) and sat around a big table with my dad, Mike, and some other people I went to high school with, whom I haven't seen in over 10 years, including Larua Jean Cheline (now Johnson) and Money (his real name is Mike). The band actually finished it's set with Free Bird...I thought they were joking until several folks pulled out their Bics. There's a lot of that going on in Illinois, nicknames, I mean. Scruffy & Bits, Meathead, Moose, Horndog, and HarleyJon to name a few. What a bunch of characters! It was great to catch up with the folks from school, and also friends of the family who came to Dad's on Saturday night - quite a few motorcycles arrived! Also, my sister, her husband and their 2 girls visited, as did my grandma, and my mom came out for a while as well - a good time was had by all.

Posted by kmpossible 08:09 Archived in USA Tagged round_the_world

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