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Illinois

Come on feel the Illinoize. We are starting make some progress. Join us by the power of the picture as we head through the corn-belt towards the Mississippi and St Louis.

Arriving in Illinois after crossing the Wabash River. It was still early in the morning which is why we dont look too happy about it.We had had a taste of the flat open country of the cornbelt in Indiana but the first day in Illinois were immersed in it. The sun was bright, the soy had been singed golden by the summer and the horizon was dominated by an armada of flat, broad clouds stretching for miles into the distance.Walkingthestates went down to this crossroads to sell its soul for super-natural powers over blisters.We had had a taste of the flat open country of the cornbelt in Indiana but the first day in Illinois were immersed in it. The sun was bright, the soy had been singed golden by the summer and the horizon was dominated by an armada of flat, broad clouds stretching for miles into the distance.There are oil fields dotted through Southern Illinois and the rusting derricks and tanks make for interesting forms on a largely flat landscape.Big Hill Road. Mid-West humour?Tom and Janet Martins home stood atop the first ridge of the foothills that go on to form the Ozarks. It was a beautiful place with fantastic views all round and all that a tired walker could ask for (including a hot tub)Stuart at Tom Martins shortly before I suffered a perforated ear drum.Playing pool in Toms garage.(Its an Austin Healy.)Ask Jesus into your heart. Shawneetown Il.
A Mighty Harvest. Shawneetown, Il.Dairy Bars everywhere we go.The wide, windowless silver turrets of the grain elevators are the dominant landmarks on the landscape, clumped in fours and fives like cornbelt castles.As we approached the Southern corner of Illinois, the landscape began to change. We started to see trees and hills again. The glaciers that ground flat  the arable lands of the rest of the state halted near Shawneetown and left folded the ridges of the Ozarks through which the Ohio and Wabash Rivers flow.Hay barn, Southern Illinois.Garden of the Gods, amazing rock formations perched high on a bluff overlooking the Shawnee forests.Gorden of the Gods, detail of rock.We stayed at the beatiful home of Pam and Mike during our hike through the Shawnee Forest. Fortunate timing as a huge storm began to loom overhead.A great evening with Pam and Mike after some delicious venison and local wine.We stayed at the beatiful home of Pam and Mike during our hike through the Shawnee Forest. The first thing I did when I got up was to go and take pictures, it was such a photogenic spot. I would love to be there when the colours of the trees turn in Autumn.
We stayed at the beatiful home of Pam and Mike during our hike through the Shawnee Forest. The first thing I did when I got up was to go and take pictures, it was such a photogenic spot. I would love to be there when the colours of the trees turn in Autumn.We stayed at the beatiful home of Pam and Mike during our hike through the Shawnee Forest. The first thing I did when I got up was to go and take pictures, it was such a photogenic spot. I would love to be there when the colours of the trees turn in Autumn.Car 1 Turtle 0. 

From the Walkingthetates Roadkill Gallery, to be premiered in full in the Winter months.Dennis warned us of the rattlesnakes in the woods. He is showing us rattlers from snakes he has killed.Trailer home, Southern Illinois.Joanne, Baxter, Stu, Charlie, Cassie. Mount Mariah, Il. After a breakfast that put us on the road in great shape.Some of the less scenic parts of the trip - the highways heading into Carbondale (on a diversion off the ADT.)Satish, originally from India, stopped us to see if he could help us in any way and insisted on giving us $20 each for lunch. We had been talking the previous night about missing Indian food so we are going to find an Indian restaurant in St Louis and do Satish proud.Keeping ourselves warm around the fire, camping by Devils Kitchen Lake.It is a rare occasion that I am up and about before Stuart but the prospect of a sunrise over a lake will do it. Devils Kitchen Lake, Il.
It is a rare occasion that I am up and about before Stuart but the prospect of a sunrise over a lake will do it. Devils Kitchen Lake, Il.In Carbondale we decided to further our cultural immersion by attending a college football game. Southern Illinois University versus Indiana State University. The home team (SIU) won by a wide margin. I was as interested in the sky than the game.We decided to further our cultural immersion by attending a college football game. Southern Illinois University versus Indiana State University. The home team (SIU) won by a wide margin. I was as interested in the sky than the game.Out in Carbondale after the game.We were invited to a house party in Carbondale and had a great time into the early hours.We were invited to a house party in Carbondale and had a great time into the early hours.Stu Stable Full Hamilton.Free-styling at a Carbondale house party.Free-styling at a Carbondale house party.Carbondale, Il.
Early Sunday morning walking home, Carbondale.Early Sunday morning walking home, Carbondale.Packing away in the morning - Stu checking he hasnt left anything in his long johns.We had the absolute fortune to run into Linda at a supermarket in Carbondale after a big night out. I think our dishevelled appearance and curious odour piqued the Mothering instincts in her and we were invited to spend the night with her and her husbanc John at their beautiful home. It was a great evening - Linda tells a mean story -  and they were incredibly generous with their hospitality. Thanks Guys.Between Carbondale and Chester there is not much at all. It can be hard to find a place to camp as pretty much everthing is covered in corn or soy. We spotted a flat, grassy area and wandered up to the shack up on the bluff to see if we could pitch up for the night. The land belonged to Nick who was sat drinking with his friend Gary. Nick immediately offered us some beer and corn and pork chops that had just been cooked on the open fire they were tending. It was delicious and the start of a fantastic evening.Gary drove us on a whistle-stop tour of his and Nicks land in an incredible vehicle that climbed the steep slopes of the bluff with ease. We went up to the top of the bluff and got our first glimpse of the Mississippi River as the sun went down over it.Stuart putting up his tent on Nicks property before we rejoined them for some more beers and a long, hilarious evening of chat.Hanging out with Nick and Gary in Nicks hunting shack where he could get away from things. One of my favourite evenings of the whole trip.Chester, home of Popeye. Sadly, he wasnt in.
We started to set up camp in a roadside rest stop and attracted the attention of its other, less permanent, residents - cue more unbelievable generosity. Tony and Dana gave us a huge lemon cake which we demolished and then the Mulholland family got chatting to us and decided to drive to the nearest town and back to bring us burgers - unbelievable (sorry guys the picture I took was rubbish.)Walking the last 50 or so miles to St. Louis we were in the wide, flat valley of the Mississipi, flanked on the East by high, steep wooded bluffs and ten miles over in Missouri by the similar hills. The rich land in between was almost entirely planted with corn and soy.Getting licked by a frisky Barry on the road to St Louis.As the corn is harvested the landscapes become more barren.Nearing St Louis on the Illinois side of the River we followed the lines of the many train tracks running into the city and the landscape changed to one of industry, dominated by the power stations and slag heaps. You can see the Arch just behind Stuarts head, about 4 miles away at this point.Nearing St Louis on the Illinois side of the River we followed the lines of the many train tracks running into the city and the landscape changed to one of industry, dominated by the power stations and slag heaps. This one looked like a wierd industrial Ayres Rock.Approaching St Louis from the Illinois side of the river, we were in an industrial landscape right up to the bridge. It was an unusual way to approach a great skyline across the water and one that few visitors to St Louis would see.   

E-mail: stu@walkingthestates.com and dave@walkingthestates.com | Phone: (00 1) 301 538 0308