This day I drove across the top of Illinois toward Iowa. Starting out flat, the terrain gradually became hillier. Nearing the Mississippi River the farmlands spread over rolling hills interspersed with green woodlands. Crossing the Mississippi always seems to be a milestone on a trip. To me it’s a marker between the East and the West. I wish there could be places to get out and take a look at the river, get some photographs, or make a sketch. At the two places I crossed the river this trip there was nothing to do but drive quickly and move on.
The gentle hills continued into Iowa. As I’ve frequently mentioned, I love farm landscapes. It’s hard to speed by and not want to draw or paint every one of them. Most roads provide little space these days to pull off to take pictures, let alone enough room to set up and draw. Shortly into Iowa I caught a glimpse of old tractors. “Hmmm, those would be interesting to draw” . . . I kept speeding away from them. . . . “I should go back” I thought. A mile or so later I entered a town that also caught my attention. Some interesting old building boarded up or closed, a few cars, but no people in sight. There was a good place to park so I stopped and took photographs – drawings coming later. But, since I stopped, it was an easy decision to turn around and go back to the tractor parking lot. Old tractors are fascinating and these seemed pretty classic. Yes, stops like these make my progress slow, but my journey richer.