Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Calhoun County

It's August 8, 11:30pm real people time. There was a 3 hour delay to our flight due to some issue with the cockpit window. I thought I would stay ahead of the game and just sleep the whole way, but going to bed at 8 is a lot harder than anticipated. I'm going to be dragging serious ass all day when we land, but until then that's just more time for adventure scribin'!

I visited my friend Brittany in Calhoun this weekend. Now, when she first told me she lived in Calhoun, I of course looked it up on Google Maps because I hadn't heard of it. I had a hard time finding it because Calhoun isn't the name of a town, its the name of the whole county. I think its kinda cool that the place is so sparsely populated that they don't bother to be more specific.

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Calhoun is nestled between where the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers meet, creating a little peninsula. Which brings me to what is possibly both the coolest and most annoying aspect of the place: the ferry. There are several ferries that connect Calhoun to the outside world. Its a classy way to get around, but it makes Calhoun ridiculously sensitive to rainfall. A big rain shuts various ferries down until the river subsides, making getting in and out a big pain. This scenario really reminds me of racing to the dock in Jurassic Park only to get lost and eaten by various monsters. I take the Golden Eagle Ferry because its the most convenient, and it's a $15 round trip. A couple of the others are run by the state and are free. If you'd like to hear a country love song written about the Winfield Ferry in particular (and who doesn't?) you can jam out here.

Another thing that sets this place apart from the Illinois that I am familiar with is the shape of the land. It's really really hilly. Its an uncommon sight driving on a road cut through hills with corn growing on them. The Calhoun area apparently escaped being scraped flat by glaciers like the rest of the state. Being in the country in Illinois usually gives me a bad case of the yawns, but this place is different. There's a romantic quality to the hills and the rivers. Both times I've been I've seen large groups of cyclists and motorcycle gangs roaming around enjoying the scenery.

I always need help getting around in Calhoun. The roads are hilly and there's so much tall corn that its exceedingly easy to get lost. This latest time I was following a car, it was super foggy, and the road was really curvy. I ended up nailing a raccoon. That may be the first animal I've ever killed with my car.

Brittany works at the Cedar Hill Resort right on the Mississippi. It has its own dock so people playing in their boats on the river can stop by for refreshment. The food is pretty killer. I especially like the egg rolls and crab rangoon.

The kebabs are excellent as well.

Most of these pictures were taken through my moving car window, so forgive their crappiness. I'll write a little something about London in a bit. Boom.

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