In July of 2000, we set out to take a look at America's heartland, the breadbox
of America--in other words, states that begin (or end) with the letter
"I" (excluding Mississippi, Idaho, and Hawaii).
Why? Because we cared. Because we're explorers. Because it's there.
But mostly because there was a Sci-Fi Convention in St. Louis that we wanted to
This, then, is a log of our trip. In it, you'll see a lot of pictures of corn,
of minor celebrities, and the World's Largest Ketchup Bottle.
We land in Chicago and take in the Taste of Chicago (entirely by accident).
We make our pilgramage to the site of Sue, the T. Rex at the Field Museum.
Then it's lunch at the Taste of Chicago, and a train ride to the suburbs.
We hang around the RV rental place all day, waiting for our RV to be ready...
After making our lattes (why else would we rent an RV?), we find a doll house
museum and discover the Discovery Center. We discover more dinosaurs in
The Burpee Museum of Natural History! Then we cross into Iowa and finally meet
the Mighty Mississippi where we camp for the night.
We discover why our campsite was eerily deserted and then we set out across
rolling fields (and fields and fields) of corn. We finally stop in the heart
of Illinois for a Fair--with some confusion over exactly which Fair we
are attending. Although we're very certain that we would not want a piece of that
With great trepidation, we get closer to our waste than we care to. Then we're
off to see Lincoln's Tomb, the (future) resting place of a bunch of accordians
and the birthplace of the Corn Dog. We finally coast to a stop in St.
Louis, Missouri (a state that ends in "I").
As long as we're in St. Louis, we decide to see the St. Louis Arch (which
would be more difficult to see if we were in, say, Chicago). We also found a
handy equation if you want to build your own Arch. After a quick trip to see X-Men
(the movie), we begin the Gateway Sci-Fi convention--meeting the folks from
MST3K right off the bat!
We discover "Furries," "mundanes," "Terry
Pratchett," and see the parade of the MST3K robots. Manos
"Hands of Fate" makes an appearance as does an imitation Pearl
Forrester. Robert stands in line to gather up some autographs, and we finish
the day with the Sci-Fi Convention's version of a masked ball. This is one of
the few times in World History that Robert is not (comparatively) outrageously
We contemplate a decrepit hotel, and then visit an inspiring monument to
Freedom of the Press (which we're certainly fond of). Back to the
convention for one last Q&A session with the MST3K folks, and then we
search out and find (with remarkably little difficulty) the World's Largest
Ketchup Bottle. We cap off the day with fireflies!
We finally make it to our last state--Indiana--and barely avoid death by corn
field. Once there, we visit a former commune (now tourist attraction), which
features both a labrynth and a church with no roof. After lunch, we
drive up and down and up and down and finally park the RV in a national
We go spelunking in a boat (hey, our kind of exploring!) and contemplate how
you would catch blind fish (a braile lure?). Then we hunt down the Mathers
Museum for a healthy dose of music and technology (our two favorite
Time to do laundry before our clothes start standing up by themselves. And as
long as we're in town, it's off to The Museum of Miniature Houses.
Finally, we head back to Chicago.