The bells ring at a railroad crossing in the middle of an open field. The sound echoes off of the bales of hay rolled up in an empty field, ‘ding ding ding’ it chimes forewarning anyone in the surrounding area that a train was about to pass by. During the cold stark and empty winter months these fly over states look abandoned, the combination of cold and ripping wind has stripped the land barren of life and left a cold frozen touch.
In a world of corn fields and wildflowers during the dead of winter you are able to see a side of the country that many never pay attention too. It is either because they are too close to the situation (living and working on the farm) or they are too far away. But in the simplicity of life out in the country I always tend to appreciate the wide open space, I know that when I go back into the city I will be missing this wide open space.
I couldn’t believe how bad the wind was out here though! I knew that we were getting close to the Windy City but I didn’t realize how bad I was going feel the wind driving the bus. Just because of the weight and the height of the bus it completely changed everything I knew about driving a vehicle during heavy winds. When I got out of the bus at a stop we made I nearly got blown back into the bus the wind was so strong! It felt like I was standing on the bridge wing again on Mesa Verde when we were going full speed ahead with a strong head wind.
I always get a little chuckle when I see a tractor going down the road, it always reminds me of the song “International Harvester” and since I am now driving a bus, getting honked at and passed daily I feel for the guys driving the tractors.
As I drive down these back highways I can’t shake the lyrics to the song “Fly Over State”
A couple guys in first class on a flight
From new York to Los Angeles,
Kinda making small talk killing time,
Flirting with the flight attendants,
Thirty thousand feet above, could be Oklahoma,
Just a bunch of square cornfields and wheat farms,
Man it all looks the same,
Miles and miles of back roads and highways,
Connecting little towns with funny names,
Who’d want to live down there in the middle of nowhere,
They’ve never drove through Indiana,
Met the men who plowed that earth,
Planted that seed, busted his ass for you and me,
Or caught a harvest moon in Kansas,
They’d understand why God made those fly over states,
I bet that mile long Santa Fe freight train engineer’s seen it all
Just like that flatbed cowboy stacking US steel on a 3-day haul
Roads and rails under their feet
Yeah that sounds like a first class seat
On the plains of Oklahoma
Where they windshield sunset in your eyes
Like a watercolor painted sky
You’d think heaven’s doors have opened
You’ll understand why God made
Those fly over states
Take a ride across the badlands
Feel that freedom on your face
Breathe in all that open space
Meet a girl from Amarillo
You’ll understand why God made
Why you’d want to plant your stakes
In those fly over statesAs I have now driven through Indiana, rode across Texas (not this trip but previously), watched the sunset through the windshield like a watercolor painted sky, seen the horizon of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, gazed at the skylines of some of the biggest cities in America and above all laid under the Northern Lights in the untouched north of Alaska.
These are the experiences that you take with you for the rest of your life! The places you see and the people you meet along the way…it isn’t the destination it is the journey.
Traveling Photographer Out!