August 28, 2001

Last week I drove more than 2,000 miles across the middle of America, taking my daughter and her belongings to college in Iowa. I have a few observations I’d like to make:

The United States is a heck of a big place.

You may have heard that Indiana is boring. Well, I’ve now driven across it east to west on one route and west to east on another, and many years ago I drove across it corner-to-corner (Louisville to Chicago), and I can say without fear of contradiction that yes, it’s really, really boring.

On the other hand, Peoria, Illinois, subject of much mockery over the last several decades, is a lovely little city; if I had to live in any of the places I drove through between Washington and Des Moines, I think I’d choose Peoria.

Someone told me once that Iowa is all flat and boring. It’s not flat. And it’s nowhere near as boring as Indiana. It is full of corn and soybeans — I think there was a stretch of over 100 miles on I-80 between Davenport and Des Moines when we were never out of sight of corn.

And driving the interstate system for three and a half days almost non-stop is a strange, almost hypnotic experience. Try it sometime.

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