The road less traveled...and the Packers
Green Bay Travel Blog› entry 7 of 7 › view all entries
I awoke at rest stop around 6:00am after pulling over around 4:00am somewhere near Winona, Mn. on I-90. I awoke to a sunrise that can't be duplicated with my camera or inadequate photography skills. Nevertheless, it was still inspiring while slumbering around in my stupor after only two hours of a restless sleep in the very confining space known as "Driver's Side Seat in a Compact Car." The sleep was filled with the tango of my knees against the steering wheel and of my neck against all odds of achieving the state of comfort.
I quickly hit the highway with Green Bay Wisconsin as my target destination. If you view this trip on the map, you'll see that this is my backtracking part of the trip. Trying to see many of the things you might want to see on a trip like this will unfortunately have to include a few periods of backtracking. This is the biggest spot for me. I originally didn't route this trip in this manner, but as most of you know by now, I have rerouted my trip, thus creating this backtrack
This was my first long stretch of driving that didn't include interstates or major four lane highways. A lot of my trip from LaCrosse, Wi. to Green Bay was on a two lane, middle of nowhere highway. It was quite nice and relaxing. While the locals sped past me in an attempt to exceed the speed limit of 55mph as much as they could without actually losing control of their vehicles, I found it quite nice to set the cruise at 55mph, throw my right arm up over the passenger seat's headrest, and look around at the colors of the trees, the nice farm land, and to reflect on what life must have been like in these parts years ago. I don't know if there are many more places better for reflecting than the car during a long stretch of highway. It seems as though a good song on the car stereo in conjunction with the serenity of the country surroundings can put one's mind in a state of heightened thought.
I passed countless country creeks, cornfields, and dilapidated farm houses that showed signs of a prosperous past. I found myself wondering what happened to the people who left these farms. Judging by all the abandoned homes, barns, and silos; it was quite evident that many people had flourished here before. Has the growth of corporate America taken over the farmland only to leave the small farmer without a spot in the market? Maybe, these people passed away and the family never picked up where the job was left undone? I don't know, but many of these back roads appeared to be set for a future of archeological excavation.
I mentioned the creeks and farmland, but another feature of these country highways that seemed to be intriguing to me were the countless dirt paths that were once the mainstay drives for people to their homes, work, or family and friends. These dirt paths, or roads, now made for a scenic drives that were sheltered by the overgrowth of trees trying their hardest to shadow what is left of the entrances to yesteryear. Much to the dismay of the the locals -who felt it necessary to reach their destination before the second hand on their watches circled around one more time- I felt it necessary to slow down and pull over to the side of the highway. My intention was to go for a short walk in hopes of finding a picture that could best translate to all of you what I was feeling and seeing. Unfortunately, this was not possible. The landscaping was not one of perpetual "awe," but an influential, thought provoking feeling that would "set-in" while inhaling the air and hearing the sounds.. I'm sad to say that this day would be filled with incidents such as this one. I know future scenery will be captivating to the camera's lens, making it easier for all of you to see what I'm seeing, but for now, the camera and I are not able to collaborate.
Green Bay was an interesting town. It somehow has been able to combine the business and convenience of a larger metropolitan area while maintaining the small town charm and feel. It's a no wonder that the people from Green Bay love their Packers so much. I have been through many NFL cities, but no city has had the same feel as Green Bay. Every business marquee in town had a "Go Pack" or "Bring on the Cowboys" proudly displayed on it. The only thing that I could remotely compare it to would be a very small town high school game. Everybody in the area was completely pro packers. It brought on a feeling of unity that would make anyone proud to be part of the community. I think people often forget the power of little things that unite a community. Spending the afternoon in Green Bay reminded me of just how powerful that feeling of unity can be. Lambeau Field is unique in that is surrounded by middle class homes. Most stadiums are surrounded by neighborhoods of extremes, either poor or wealthy. In some cases stadiums are also set in the city center, only to be surrounded by corporate America's skyline.
Green Bay is different. Kids ride their bikes and play in their yards under the shadows of the stadium that houses one of the most historical sports franchises in American history. Much like my feeling of appreciation for country music in Nashville, I felt in awe of the pro football's history in Green Bay. If not for the cold of Green Bay, I would probably have to seriously consider relocating.
I left Green Bay in hopes of getting as close to Minneapolis as possible. I wanted to spend much of tomorrow afternoon in the "Twin Cities" of Minneapolis/St. Paul. Even though I was in a bit of a hurry, I kept telling myself to pull over and get a picture of me next to the corn, but this section of travel was a major four lane highway and it can be a little cumbersome to pull over in the midst of traffic. Eventually, I saw my opportunity, it was a road up ahead on the right. The fields were plentiful and traffic wasn't tailgating me. I turned onto a side road and drove for about a half mile before I found what I thought to be a great spot for a picture.
It was a little embarrassing when people from down the road were driving by staring at me as if I was a leper, but I didn't care, I was here for my moment with the corn and the looks of discouragement were not going to deter me.
I can only imagine what the older gentleman driving by me in a "made for farmland truck" must have thought when he approached me pulled off to the side of the road in a compact car with a tripod and a camera sitting next to it. He must of been laughing or scared when he saw me pushing a button and running at light speed towards the corn.
It's not every day that you see a man of 300lbs get out of a compact car, set up a camera and repeatedly run towards the corn field while hurdling the weeds in a ditch, only to get up next to the corn and pose for a photo, all in ten seconds or less? I only hope that he saw my out of state plates, so that he may have a little compassion for my ridiculous actions.
What a day it has been, viewing the country, seeing a large community unified by a sports team, and reflecting while driving on the "Road less Traveled."
Tomorrow, it'll be back to the city life as I head downtown to Minneapolis to see yet another NFL stadium, visit the largest mall in America, and stumble across other thought provoking gems that remain unbeknownst to me as of now.