´¯`•. June 26, 2017

Illinois:  Little Town, Big Things

I’m not making that up, either.  The town is called Casey, Illinois.  It’s motto is ‘Little Town, Big Things’, and for a very good reason.  It’s got the largest (and I mean LARGEST) collection of super-sized items around.  So naturally it was on my list of places to go while we were exploring the wild and exotic state of Illinois.  And by now you aren’t quite laughing as much about my description – because you have to have noticed… it’s not just cornfields, there!

We left Garden of the Gods and Rim Rock, and headed north up ‘1’.  Stopped for lunch on the way, and to snap a picture of Sasketchuan (there are 9 idential statues around the country, so it’s not unique, but definitely unexpected when you come upon him!).

Mostly we were horrified by the condition of living in Southeastern Illinois.  It’s like a giant hovel.  People just trash everything, and when they’re overrun, they build another shack and start trashing that.  It was astounding.  And so many abandoned homes and buildings.  No jobs.  No commerce.  LOTS of military recruiting signs (‘Where you live is a dead end.  Join us, and get out!’) And honestly?  I can’t think of a reason the kids there wouldn’t.

SE Illinois is hillbilly.  This is a ‘pitcher’ of Dew at Pizza Hut.

And for the next three hours, this was all there was to see.

There’s a LOT of oil drills in SE Illinois.  And abandoned houses.
And houses that wished that they were abandoned.  Or looked absolutely trashed.

Red Hills State Park – our next overnight!  This… um, is… er, the camp office…?!!  It was, naturally, closed, with no rangers on duty. (((Illinois.))))  This was – undoubtably – THE worst campground, yet.  The bathrooms were trashed and painted dark blood red – it looked like a slasher scene.  There was stuff running down the walls.  The trashcans were overflowed and there were piles of garbage on the floor.  It was horrific.

The campground was PACKED – every redneck in the state was grillin’ out with every relative they had.  We’re talking groups of twenty and thirty, congregating between four campsites.  And they were so big, they were using scooters in the dirt to get from their trailers to the firepit.  HUGE people in dirty wifebeaters with coolers upon coolers of beer.  It was skeery.  We camped in the far, far back by a few nicer looking rigs, and kept our distance.

After setting up the trailer at a very busy campground, we took off for Casey – the ‘Little City with Big Things’!  This is the world’s largest pitchfork.  Jump back.  No really – it could hurt.

Have I mentioned I haven’t introduced you to the ‘special’ that is Isaac?
Ethan’s learning from him.  I’m thrilled.  No, really.

World’s largest rocking chair.  It rocks.  (←  Ha.  Ha, ha.  Hahaha… no?)

World’s largest wind chime.  LOVE the symbols!!

World’s largest Mailbox.  You can mail stuff from up there, too!
(When you do, the flag goes up.  How fun!)

More Isaac.  Just… no words.  You will come to understand.

A little town full of big things.  Including Minions.
And weirdos, on this particular day.  ((…Isaac…))

For big test-takers.

Everyone measures up, here.

There were other things, too.  The world’s largest wooden shoes (they were in a shop that was closed.)  The world’s largest knitting needles and crochet hook (also in a shop that was closed).  A giant stalk of corn, a giant cactus, a giant spinning top… the world’s largest golf tee.  There was a trolley that ran from item to item, during the day.  We were there in the evening, though.  It was still fun.  And we had a lovely time, finding them all!

If SE Illinois was a hole, Casey was the town that sincerely wanted to dig itself out.  The people there seemed to care, and took advantage of a good idea and tried to make something of themselves, by way of it.  It was seriously commendable.

Did you know Burl Ives was from Illinois?  (Do you know who Burl Ives *is*?)  We do.  We were geeked to find him, sitting on the side of the road, on our way back to the campground.

We went thru Olney on the way back to camp, too.  Olney, Illinois is ‘home of the white squirrels’.  I didn’t see any, besides this one.  It’s still weird.  Possibly even wrong.  But we did stop in Olney –  for DQ, because they had Orange Julius, and I haven’t had that since I was in high school…!  We ended up trying NINE flavors… it was seriously fun.  And squirrel-free.

But definitely consider Casey, Illinois, if you’re traveling through the midwest!

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1 Comment

  1. A town about 20 miles from us is known as “home of the white squirrel”… I have yet to see one. 😉 love Burl Ives


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