Still, I'm going to give my own personal opinions and highlights on every state we drove through, because for all of their undeveloped "ruralness," they were each unique and had their own unexpected surprises.
|Sunset over the cascades|
2. Idaho -- Since we only drove through the tip of the state's panhandle, Idaho barely warrants an entry except to say that it had very pretty mountains. The only other memorable part of the drive was the sign for the small city of C'oeur D'Alene. That's because even long after we had crossed the border into Montana, that was the only major city posted on signs for hundreds of miles. And just so you know, C'oeur D'Alene could hardly be considered a "major" city. Major Impression: Beautiful scenery, but be especially grateful for any human contact you might make, because once you're in Montana, you won't be getting any.
|The whole state's a prison...|
|If you feel like you can't take any more Montana, you're halfway through it|
Montana is like someone getting an expensive boob job only to become a nun. In other words, for all of its good looks, it just felt like a big bunch of unused space. And no, I'm not saying they should erect all sorts of chain stores and restaurants. That would be even more depressing. I'm just asking for a sign of life, people. Something that tells me that you're not all business and no pleasure. Major Impression: Unless I develop a fly fishing hobby or decide to become the next Unabomber, I think I'll stick to visiting the vistas of Montana in a coffee table book.
|Follow the red clay road...|
|South Dakota: A Little Bit of Everything|
|See it only because it's there|
7/8. Illinois/Indiana -- These states were similar enough that they can share the same slot. We entered Illinois under the cover of dark and severe thunderstorms, but suffice it to say there wasn't much to see. We hit our first real traffic jam since leaving Washington in Peoria, so that was saying something. The drab weather did nothing for the look of Peoria, but I can't use that as a judgment of the city alone. I could feel the population growing denser around me the further east we drove. That is until we hit the corn belt again. And let's just say that central, IL is every bit what you might have expected Iowa to be if you had never been to Iowa. Flat, featureless farmland, and if not for the lively lightning storm going on overhead as we drove, it would also have been dangerously soporific. Indiana went by in a blur. Well, except for the whole Indianapolis part. The entire city's freeway system was a mess of construction, and because of giant retainer walls keeping us trapped on the freeway like gerbils in a concrete maze, I saw nothing of Indy itself. Outside the city limits, however, it seemed RV dealers and fireworks factories were the main industries. I didn't care about any of that, however, because after four days of driving, all I had my sights set on was:
And let's face it, I'll be reviewing this state in various ways for quite some time.