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Wednesday, June 12, 2013


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Through the city of PONTIAC, Illinois, runs the fabled cross USA Highway: 

ROUTE 66.  It is known by locals as Route 66, but thee are no road signs to identify it to passersby.  Our motel sat next to Route 66...and for the first two miles walking and rolling North on SR 23, SAM and ME were actually on Route 66.  Route 66, paralleling Interstate 55 (I-55), heads Northeast to Chicago...only 80 or so miles distant...while SR 23 continues North to our destination, DE KALB, Illinois...also about 80 miles distant from Pontiac, Illinois.

SR 23 passes through flat farmland, through which a number of small streams flow Northeast toward LAKE MICHIGAN (and Chicago).  In addition, there are huge "earthworks" along SR 23...mostly "land fill" (i.e., Garbage Dumps).  The land is FLAT, so the Garbage Dumps are piled high above the surrounding landscape...18-wheelers coming and going on poor ole' SR 23, which is taking a beating from the heavily loaded trucks and trailers...i.e., broken asphalt.

Between Pontiac and our destination for the day, STREATOR, Illinois...some 28 miles distant, lies the only town:  CORNELL.  There is one - and only one - additional business along the way:  4 MILE CORNER.  4 Mile Corner lies 4 miles South of Streator, Illinois, where 4 Mile Corner Restaurant is located.  SAM and ME stopped at 4 Mile Restaurant, where I had a most interesting chat with two employees and a local resident.  Regretfully, I was so engrossed in our conversation(s), that I completely forgot to take and photographs or gather apology to all.  I was "gifted" two glasses of Ice Tea.  I was VERY hungry and was offered a quick dinner from the extensive menu...but a weather front was due within the next I continued to push SAM the final 4 miles to our destination...only to find that Streator is stretched out North and South for many miles...with all facilities (I was seeking) at the far North end of town...another hour walk.

In the end, the weather front did not show up!

CORNELL, Illinois...a town of about 4 blocks long through which SR 23 passed.

Cornell did have a CASEY'S Convenience Store...the only one in 28 miles.  It was exceedingly HOT walking to Cornell.  Took out nearly one hour at Casey's to refill our water bottles and eat a single slice of Pizza.

Please say HELLO to KATHY and KRISTEN. 

Kathy and Kristen both worked at Casey's in Cornell.  In addition to having an interesting visit, both Kathy and Kristen were like a Mother Hen...with me as their objective Chick.  Instead of water, Kathy filled our empty water bottles with ICE.

In preparation to crossing the hot, lonely, desolate stretches of the vastness of North Dakota and Montana - which we will reach in about 2 weeks, I have been experimenting with ICE...i.e., how long Ice remains in the hot environment - surprisingly, when in a "double" drink container which is shielded by a blanket and SAM's plastic top cover, ice lasts more than 2 hours...add water to the ice reduced lifetime to about 1.5 hours.

Kathy and Kristen also filled Penny's gifted ice bag with ice, which I protected from any direct heat source (the SUN).  Plenty of hard ice remained when I unloaded SAM at our new motel in Streator, Illinois some 5 hours later.

Will experiment further.  Will incorporate INSULATED bags and "Survival Blankets" wrapped around our ice containers...and add water only when taking a drink.  I am looking to have Ice cold water (Power Drinks) for at least 8 hours while walking SAM across the north land in temperatures hovering above 100 F.

The above is the VERMILION River, crossing under SR 23 on it's way Northeast to LAKE MICHIGAN.  For running through nearly FLAT country, it flows rather quickly...meaning the entire landscape apparently leans toward the Great Lakes...also meaning this entire "basin" was recently most probably part of the current Great Lake fresh water system...receding about 10,000 years ago as the recent Ice Age melted...a melt which continues to this moment...attribute to the nearly disappearance of ARCTIC SEA ICE this year (2013)...which, by the way, appears to be the major cause of the unpredictable devastating weather (STORMS) the Central Plains - all the way to the Gulf of Mexico - have been experiencing this year.

Crossing North Dakota and Montana, I fully expect to be caught out in the open flat lands by severe storms sweeping across the Canadian Arctic that the Arctic Sea Ice is no longer covering the cold waters of the Arctic Ocean.

A few of the flatland streams...all flowing Northeast toward Chicago and Lake Michigan.

First appearance of the BNSF:  Burlington Northern Santa Fe...railroad...the very same which serves the Pacific Northwest.

Farming Equipment of many types use SR 23 to travel between remote fields of crops.

...and yet, we again meet up with the VERMILION River.

SR 23 as it drops off the Vermilion River Bridge into "South" Streator.  From this point, SAM and ME walk an additional hour to cross to the Northern outskirts of town where most new commercial activity - including motel and restaurants - are located. 

Impressive ST. MARYS HOSPITAL from SR 23. unknown Cathedral Spires as seen from SR 23.

Sometimes, I would like to stop walking for a couple days.  Passing through America with hardly a hesitation, means we miss so very many interesting and historic places...not to mention the many people I would love to meet and chat with...a slower trip would, I believe, make for a much more interesting blog.

Alas, my $$ restraints dictate SAM and ME keep moving.  I often daydream as we walk and roll...just what we would need to do a proper journey...but then, I am so pleased to be out here at all.

Only one of many many impressive homes along SR 23.  Just imagine the wealth of information slipping by un noticed...un seen... could be America a whole different image.

In the morning (actually, it is now 6:30 am, Wednesday June 12, 2013) SAM and ME will continue our journey North on SR 23.  The remaining miles to DE KALB are going to be a bit difficult as the towns are becoming fewer and farther between.  SAM and ME may yet be forced to put up our tent very soon.

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