Driving through this corner of America, off the interstate, is quite the experience. Vast green fields of crops – corn and wheat – fill up the horizon from east to west, punctuated by towering clusters of mute silos that store the crops before they are loaded onto awaiting railway cars for shipment to their destination. Towns are strung out along the way like pearls on a thin black band of highway running ramrod straight from east to west. That is, until it enters a town and needs to make a jog to one side or the other to avoid a school, silo or other building that was there before the highway was laid down. As we approach the upper reaches of the Mississippi River valley, plains give way to hills laden with lush trees.
We finally reach our destination, Winona, MN an island city on the Mississippi, but by the time we get there, the hour is late, we are tired, and humidity hangs oppressively in the dead, still air – unlike the dry, windy plains we had just left. We find a McDonald’s and the hotel, and retire for the night.