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The trip is the destination


April 9, 2012
Billie Shelton , The Daily Freeman Journal

Travelling by car on an interstate highway is usually the quickest way to get where you want to go. After all, these super highways are designed to insure that, once you get on your way, there's no reason to stop until you get to your destination, except for rest stops and gas. Interstates bypass towns and go around cities, so you don't even have to slow down.

You can always pull off on one of the scenic overlooks next to the interstate if you want to soak in some scenery. You can get food from a vending machine at a rest stop. And, if you get really tired of seeing only asphalt, you can count the number of semi trucks that go barreling down the road beside you.

All in all, interstate highways are perfect if all you want to do is reach your destination quickly. For my husband and me, we find we often want to enjoy the trip more than that, and so we drive on regular, basic highways. That's what we did recently on a weekend jaunt to Chicago. I especially enjoyed the trip home on a clear, sunny, early spring Sunday afternoon. I got to be the passenger the entire way.

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We drove across southern Wisconsin, where there is much prettier natural scenery than the billboards, asphalt, and truck stops you'll find on an interstate. I always like to see Holstein cows, something that are becoming very rare in our state. Not in Wisconsin, where dairying is still an important facet of agribusiness. Working farms are fun to see, especially the farms with cows in a feedlot or a pasture. We saw some big cow herds and others with just enough cows to keep milk on the farm family's table, I expect.

We also drove past a handful of feedlots that were empty, with no animals in sight. Empty feed bunks and cement with grass growing up in the cracks were signs of better days. Or maybe just different days, as I noticed one empty, clean feedlot with only a tricycle parked on it. There's nothing better for racing your wheels than a big square of concrete with no obstacles.

Something else you won't see from the interstate is silos. They go together with dairying, so there were plenty of them along our route on the way home. The most I saw sitting tall and proud at a farmstead was four. It made me think of my dad and riding the tractor with him as he packed down the silage in his pit silo. He always wanted a tall silo but never had one.

It was a good, meandering trip back to Hamilton County along the scenic byways. So often the trip is the destination.



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