Trip Report – Southern Illinois… Give Them a Break..

I have several interesting posts to do on my just completed micro-RV trip into southern Illinois. As usual I managed to avoid interstate highways for  all but four miles of the 700+ adventure.  Anyone even vaguely familiar with Illinois know that the vast majority of the state’s population resides in the extreme northeast around Chicago. I can hereby attest that there are almost no people in the southern half of the state!  OK, maybe I am exaggerating a little bit but only a little.

I must have gone through 100 small towns during my two day visit. Almost none of them had over two or three hundred people. There was most often only one business left open in each town and that was a post office.  It was most often surrounded by abandoned buildings!  I can just imagine in my mind’s eye the post master in that building with cobwebs around him while sleeping on the job.  Which brings me to the main topic of this particular post.

S Illinois.jpgThe post office is having a terrible time trying to exist given the rules and regulations legislated at the national level. This fact is one of the glaring examples of how federal intrusion can skew normal business practices.  Why in the world does a post office need to remain open in a town where there isn’t even a grocery store? If the residents can’t, or maybe won’t support a place to buy groceries why does there have to be a local post office?

If it is necessary to go to another town to buy a can of beans why not postage stamps too? We should make some kind of rule to that effect even if it is only “when the last store closes in the town the post office also closes.  Now I’m not talking about ceasing mail delivery, that can be done from another location. Closing seldom used post offices  would probably save billions of bucks for USPS. If they were allowed to use normal business practices such as UPS uses I’m sure they would not be in the trouble they are. To carry this one more logical step make it a rule that the nearest local post office is in the county seat. That’s where most of the businesses and I’m sure WalMarts are now.

I think the real reason for all these unnecessary buildings and employees to occupy them is mostly political. Your local congressman is just too afraid that some might vote him out of office if he dared to eliminate their post office. It’s mostly political….

Give them a break!!  They have a hard enough time justifying themselves here in the 21st century as it is.  About 95% of what I now get in my mailbox is junk mail. Everything else come to me over the Internet.  Let’s shut down post offices in low density areas and use the money to improve Internet services in those same areas.  Lord knows that most of us in rural areas could use some decent Internet speeds.   Everyone would be better off with that approach…


New Harmony

This is a needed “lighten up” day so I thought I would give you some more facade pics of my recent uRV trip to New Harmony Indiana.  When so many small towns are piling on the dust bins of history  it is nice to see that some are almost flourishing.

(as usual click on any image below to see a larger slideshow version)

Small Town Life


Ennis Cafe.jpg

ISOA Banner   You don’t know America if you have never eaten at a small town cafe. This one in Ennis Montana like so many others is proud of its heritage. We had breakfast there, a big place of sausage gravy and biscuits so didn’t have a change to try their strawberry pie… The biscuits were kind of hard but the gravy was very good.

Small Town America…

Small towns like Orleans in Orange County Indiana were once thriving towns.  I can imagine that the domed top of this building was the major attraction in the area.  Like most building of this era some of the windows have been bricked over and are no longer occupied.

On The Road – Council Bluffs Iowa (Day 2)

Here I am sitting in our hotel room in Council  Bluffs Iowa. But unlike last night I am sitting here alone.  No my wife didn’t get mad and leave me; she is instead in a casino about 100 yards from our hotel room.  Unknowingly I chose a hotel for the night in a casino complex. Gambling is just not my thing but Yvonne does like to play the nickel slots when she can. I’m not sure when she will be back. She said I wore her out today so she doesn’t think she will stay long.  I don’t worry about her losing too much as she has more sense than that. But if she is not back in a couple of hours I will likely go searching for her.

Now on to today’s adventures. As was the case yesterday most of the day was spent in the car. But after my post last night about all the small towns we went through yesterday we decided to explore a little deeper on two towns that were on our trip route.  The two towns we chose were Shelbina and Clarence Missouri.  They both have a population of around 800 people and are about ten miles apart.

Shelbina still has some signs of life as shown in these pictures. There are about four streets in town with a still existing business on each street.

Clarence has pretty much had its vitality snuffed out without much hope for any real revival. About the only thing still open is a bank and a restaurant. Everything else is pretty much abandoned.  Most buildings still are filled with the stuff from the last business.

I would write more here but it is just getting too depressing. It is a shame what has happened to small town America.