|Westward Ho! for this crew|
We also had our own little "small world" moment on the road, when we pulled up to a car that had stopped and waited for us. Turns out, Jon (from Hitchcock a few days back) had posted our picture on Facebook, and his buddy Jeff saw us on the road and wanted to know if we were the people his friend had written about. Our fifteen minutes of fame!
We continued to ride through corn, soybeans and sugar beets. I know I said I had said my last about the corn, but after riding through corn fields for another two days, I can't help but write a bit more. Where does all this corn go?
Our hosts last night said that this is "field corn." That's in contrast to "sweet corn," which is what we grow to eat fresh. 98 percent of our corn-growing land is devoted to field corn. So this stuff is going to end up not on your plate, but in your gas tank (ethanol), soda (corn syrup), cocktail (alcohol), or perhaps your steak or bacon, since much of it goes into livestock feed. And there are just miles and miles of it! Given the role that corn plays in our economy, it's interesting to me that so much of this is dry-farmed, which is to say there is no irrigation. So it's all subject to the weather. Farmers that we spoke with in the cafes expressed hope that there would be rain at the right time, but really - if there is not - then it dries up in the field and doesn't bring the same price. I guess the bulk of it, the stalks and leaves, are still usable as silage. But it seems such a gamble. I am glad I am not a farmer! It was interesting to see that some farmers are putting wind turbines over their crops. Seems like a good use of the wind around here!
At times, I had a notion that Moses was parting the "seas of soybeans" on either side of the road so we could ride through on dry land! A silly image, maybe, but then after several hours watching it go by, the mind does wander.
The day's report: Montevideo to Hutchinson, 72.4 miles/3,567 to date
We passed a field of golden wheat, honestly, and I started to sing this song. It's probably my favorite of the national tunes.
Katharine Lee Bates - 1913