After spending about nine months out on the road, we came back to see our son in Chicago, my brother Ron and wife Cathy in Seneca, and other friends and family back here in LaSalle County, Illinois.  We are staying at a campground just north of Utica, Illinois, soon to be a frack sand pit next year. Small earthquakes rock the RV park as they blast next door.  LaSalle County’s earthquakes.

You know I never really thought about the area I spent almost 60 years in, but now after looking at the the towns and small cities here I realize what a stable area we used to reside in. Most of the towns here in LaSalle County have held on to about the same population all the way back to the early 1900’s. Housing costs fluctuate little as technology and business changes have rocked other areas of the country. Large industry has come, gone, down sized, but now mining has risen with the demand for frack sand.

Most of the residents here are of European descent. I remember growing up in a land full of little league, basketball, football and parents screaming at umpires and referees. The many small family restaurants still thrive here and are some of the best places to gather with friends to enjoy the greatest food in the country.  Summers were hot and humid and winters were cold and snowy. Children mostly grew up and moved to areas with better job prospects. Enough of of them stay around to maintain the the population of the area towns and small cities. LaSalle County is a place to raise children to be sound and level-headed citizens to hold on to the foundation of a great country and keep it on a even keel for future generations. The folks here are simply the ‘salt of the earth’…or ‘sand of the earth’ since LaSalle County has the largest sand deposits in the world.  In fact, Sally’s Grandfather, Ralph Rutledge, was the man who dug the US Silica pit off Boyce Memorial Drive and died getting on his Harley to go home after work.  They paid $35 in death benefits.  Can you imagine that?

Sally and I have decided to move on to new places and will likely settle in a warmer climate after  we scope out the rest of the US. We dare to leave the comfort zone of a place we grew up in. It’s something that most of the people we know would not undertake but seem to embrace when we visit with old friends. For us, life is and should be an adventure as we realize how short a time we have on this earth. So far this has been a dream come true for both of us. Stay tuned in…we will have many adventures to share as we explore our country!  Thanks for tagging along.

 

~ Kevin

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