Sunday, August 3, 2008

Midwestern Visions

A few visual impressions of the Midwest through the eyes of one traveler.

Carhenge, north of Alliance, Nebraska, is some purty great art, and a pleasant contrast to Stanley Marsh 3 and the Ant Farm's Cadillac Ranch west of Amarillo.

The Sand Hills of western Nebraska, a wonderful revelation, is one of most stunning landmasses I've ever seen.

While there, we managed to squeeze in time to move some bulls to new pasture.

Grain elevators are the true beacons of prosperity in the Great Plains, the tallest structures for miles around.

The Great Platte River Road Arch Way is a multimedia museum built over Interstate 80 that tells the story of the western migration, but triggers instead memories of once futuristic Howard Johnson restaurants built over the New Jersey and Pennsylvania turnpikes.

As surprisingly scenic as southwestern Iowa struck me, the verdant fields of corn also brought to mind the impact of monoculture, making me wonder what this region looked like before it was farmed, and how the nitrogens applied here to make the corn grow end up creating a dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico that is creeping closer to Texas every summer. A small price to pay, I suppose, for the benefits that ethanol, fructose, and $6 a bushel.

The woodlands of northern Wisconsin were a marked contast. The area around Cable is loaded with trails used by cyclists in the summer and snowmobilers and cross-country skiiers in the winter. Fox dig it too.

No comments: