Monday, July 11, 2011

Day 40-July 10, 2011- Onsted Michigan

Dearest Readers,
Etta and I crossed into the Eastern Time zone in Indiana. We will not change our clocks for the rest of the trip...sort of feels a little like home already.

We left Chicago around 9 in the morning. It was already cooking up to be a hot and muggy day, with thunderheads blossoming out of the whitewashed sky. “Bye big, creative city, I’ll miss your energy, but not your traffic.”

We drove south around the tip of Lake Michigan, a heavy industrialized area with corridors of high-tension electrical towers, refinery pillboxes, steel mills and factories along the coast. I shot this picture from the car near Gary. As the highway straightened out we headed due east just below the border with Michigan. The landscape morphed into the familiar flatness of the heartland with acres of cornfields and big-scale farms.

We turned north at the eastern edge of Indiana, crossing into Michigan and then traveled east across the lower middle of the state. We discovered 40-mile-per-hour towns with one main street, and smaller farms in a gently rolling terrain. Dollar General stores have returned to the highway. Subway never left it.

We’ve set up our tent at Walter J. Hayes state park campsite in a mixed hardwood forest by a lake and scummy swamp. It’s 95 degrees. The ground is baked, dry, and dusty. They’re having a summer drought up here. Etta rests by the tent, and rolls in the dirt. She sniffed at the edge of the lake, and slopped herself into the green slime hunting smelly water-critters. The lack of trash cans at the campsite probably reflects the budget crunch. There's one dumpster 1/4 mile away for 100-campsites.
All across America the truck weigh stations are closed. I don't think I saw one that was open. States saving money?

I’m relaxed tonight, surrounded by the now familiar mix of campers and RVs at state parks. There are a few tents set up with an RV, but none solo. I arrived early (gained an unexpected hour with the time change). I’ll be able to read some...maybe see a night sky full of stars. It won’t be particularly quiet. Country music and some 80's glam rock wafts in the air. Voices, laughter, barking and truck doors slam. A pickup crunches gravel as it sweeps its headlights across my tent.

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