Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Corn, corn and Mountains

So begins the drive to California. We are both excited to see so much of the country neither my wife or I have ever seen. Our first day was a short drive to Liverpool, NY. I can't say it was very eventful, aside from seeing the strangest thing. We were driving along the highway in the rain and on the side there was a field. And in that field were about 20 geese, you say whats strange about that? Well whats strange is to see 5 full grown beavers running in circles around the geese like its a game. After deciding we didn't have highway hypnosis we marked that as a weird way to start a trip. 

The next morning we left really early around 4am for a thirteen hour drive to the border of Iowa. Now I really wish I could say there was a lot of great scenery along the highway between Ohio and Iowa but all I can say is....corn. Lots and lots of corn, soy beans and a few grapes. 

Cell phone photo of grapes at a rest stop. Lake Erie can be seen in the distance.

We took a short detour to cross the border of Michigan, pulled in a parking lot, opened the car door and put our foot on the ground to say we stepped foot in Michigan. After a long day of driving we crossed into Iowa around dinner time...minus an hour from the time zone change. Needless to say we were hungry. After having cold burgers at Burger King the night before, the lack of fast food in the area was a blessing and a curse. I'm very OCD about were I will eat outside of my house. If a restaurant looks a little questionable or has under a 4 star review rating I tend to avoid it. I had food poisoning as a kid and it basically scarred me for life. Anyways....we found this pizza place in the small downtown area of Le Claire called Happy Joe's Pizza. After looking over the menu it wasn't even a question on what to get. Taco Pizza. Let me just say for a pizza with no actual tomato sauce, this was the best pizza we have ever had. It was a bean sauce with lettuce, tomato, cheese, taco beef and Doritos on top. We have talked about flying out to Iowa in the future just to get more. (I'm actually serious, it was that awesome.)

Best Pizza Ever..

After we ate we decided on trying to take some photos of the American Pickers tv show store that they show in each episode. I did not know it was right across the street till we got there. Unfortunately it was closed by the time we arrived in Le Claire but we stood outside like weirdos and took photos anyway. 

On the way back to the hotel we noticed the moon was full and rising over the Mississippi River that was in back of our room. This was another pleasant surprise to end the night. So that ends our second day after driving though New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois....and two minutes in Michigan.

Moonrise on the Mississippi
Alarms going off at 4am again. Time for another twelve hour drive. This by far is the most boring drive I think of the trip. Remember how I said there was a lot of corn? Yeah I was wrong. Let me paint a picture, imagine driving 800 miles and having about 90% of the scenery on either side of you be vast acres upon acres upon acres....of CORN. At one point near the border of Iowa I went to pass an eighteen wheeler and went 74 in a 70. I know what you're thinking "no big deal" right? Well the cop who was hidden just beyond my line of sight thought it was. After pulling me over, he didn't even get to the window before yelling out " Don't worry you're not getting a ticket, I just wanted to let you know you were going 4 over!". After checking to make sure we weren't fugitives stealing corn he let us go, but not before saying "Have a nice day and enjoy the next several hours seeing more corn" In New England where we live its common that everyone goes at least 10mph over the limit and the cops don't seem to care. In this case we are pretty sure he was so bored he just wanted someone to talk to that was from out of state. 

He wasn't kidding, Nebraska is literally nothing but corn fields. We later looked it up and found that they are the number one state in the country on total corn crop. 9.5 million acres to be exact so when we crossed into Colorado we were beyond happy to see something else. That something else just happened to be the Rocky Mountains. We stayed just past Denver in a beautiful town called Evergreen. The woman at the service desk warned us to hide any food we had in the car because there have been two bears roaming the parking lot lately. Of course they never showed up so we could see them but just the fact that we had to hide stuff from them was cool enough. I was getting antsy to take some photos after 3 days of driving so I google mapped a little lake about 10 minutes away and we headed there for sunset. The smoke from recent forest fires made the color in the sky non existent but I shot this image anyway. Its not everyday we are in Colorado so I wasn't leaving empty handed....so to speak.
Walk to the Peak
Ending our third day we headed to a place called Illegal Burger, all the burgers are named after criminals from movies. I got the Godfather which it a standard burger with spicy sauce (yum). In the morning we are heading for our first actual destination, Arches National Park. But not before a terrifying drive there, which will be explained in my next post.........

You can find prints of "Walk to the Peak" by visiting stephentopiaphotography.com

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