Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Corn Tour

Yeah, that's right. Corn Tour. I take for granted what the Midwest looks like. In fact I get to be pretty darn sick of what the Midwest looks like. But there are folks out there that consider what I see every day to be a picturesque novelty. So in the interest of getting some more riding in before the end of Summer, I concocted a silly ride report of my day trip through Western Illinois and Eastern Iowa. "Is there corn?" One might ask. Oh yeah, baby. We've got corn and plenty of pictures of corn. Enjoy! Today started as most days do for me. At home. But I didn't have to go far to see some corn. Just a quick ride to the West. From there I made a quick stop at Jubilee College State Park. I learned something while there. The purpose of all those purple things hanging along the roads in the trees. Apparently they are keeping track of certain insects this way. Then I was off, heading further to the West in search of more corn. This corn is fairly tall considering late start it got this year. (It rained a lot in the Midwest this Spring.) This farmer is shipping out the what is left of last year's crop to make room for this year's CORN! Why are there two wagons and a semi-truck there? Those wagons have augers to move grain out of themselves and into a truck quickly. The farmer is filling the wagons while the semi is gone to unload, then when the semi gets back the wagons are full and the truck can get loaded faster. Apparently the truck got back early that trip. Farmington is a town West of Peoria.
And this is a test plot. A whole bunch of side-by-side comparisons of various corn hybrids and soybean varieties. This corn isn't much taller. As I got closer to the Mississippi River valley, the flood damage to fields and buildings became more extreme. The following shots were taken on the Illinois side of the Mississippi near Burlington, Iowa. The first picture is of a corn field that is still flooded and probably has been since early Spring. Then I hopped the river into Iowa and visited Burlington for a while. The Iowans are ready to repel any Illinois invasion across the Mississippi. No one shot at me on my way across... Then I turned South towards Fort Madison, Iowa. Where they have constructed a fort! Those Iowans seem pretty serious about defending their Eastern border. I crossed back into Illinois and made my way North-East towards Galesburg, Illinois. It isn't uncommon to see an old building out in the country that has been painted by local high schoolers. Often these are near the boundary between one school district and another. Apparently this year a class decided on an Olympics theme. Having turned more or less East I was getting closer to home.   These collections of buildings are often part of a grain broker's business. We call them grain elevators and this is a place where farmers will deliver their grain during the harvest. A facility like this one is able to unload a lot of grain per hour, move it, dry it, and store it so that it can be sold to an end user at a later date. And then I was home.  Hope you enjoyed the corn!