We took a short trip up to Rockford, Illinois last weekend. If you did not know it, Illinois is FLAT, worse than driving through western Kansas. Nothing but miles of corn.
We stayed with a friend who lives north of Rockford, close to Rock Cut State Park. We did not get into downtown Rockford, but stayed pretty much in the Machesney Park/Loves Park communities. We left the bikes at home or we would have enjoyed the miles of trails through and around the state park. They have bike paths in the area, as does Wisconsin on the west side of Janesville. Saturday morning we visited Brodhead, Wisconsin, to find a bike shop only to discover that it had closed two years earlier. We found that out from a number of Brodhead cyclists who were out that morning. The rolling hills of southern Wisconsin were green and beautiful; this was a nice change from the flat vistas of Illinois.
Sunday morning, we talked with our host’s neighbor; he had just finished adding a gas motor to his bike. The info on the motor claimed a top speed of 35 mph and he was working up to it.
We headed home Monday morning and while stopped for highway construction on I-55, I got a picture of this old brick Catholic church, I remember the sign said “St. Paul’s”.
I recall seeing many churches like this one in the cities along I-70 during our trips to Colorado Springs earlier this year. Church buildings like this reflect (I presume) a healthy Christian community in past times. And thinking of days past and the present, I sometimes wonder if the religious community continues to influence our culture nowadays, or if our country has lost something vital to its existence.
Speaking of ‘communities’, we stopped off at The Hill in St. Louis on our way home and paid a shopping visit to J. Viviano and Son’s (west of Kingshighway Blvd. on Shaw Ave.) We also paid a visit to DiGregario’s Italian Foods, which is a couple of blocks south of Viviano’s
When I think of Italian stores, this is what I envision:
Another aspect of The Hill are the rows of ‘shot-gun’ houses. They were built one room wide with a hallway down the side. This design was supposed to help with ventilation during the hot summer months.
Along with U.S. flags, we saw plenty of the Italian tri-color flags. They are proud of their heritage and we love to come back, time after time, to shop, eat, and enjoy the culture. I think this is one reason why I enjoy the Giro ‘d Italia more than the Tour de France.
May the good Lord grant me enough years so that we may return to The Hill, always one more time!