I've long been under the impression that Illinois is easily the ugliest state in the union, with the possible exception of Oklahoma (1 of only 6 I haven't been to). Even uglier than Indiana. But I realize I haven't really explored it much beyond Chicago, and when I have gone outside the city, I've mostly stuck to the main roads -- highways and state routes.
Yesterday I went straight from the airport to this cool outdoor antiques show out in DeKalb County, which I've been to dozens of times over the years. But this time we just meandered our way back along the backroads, going from town to town and ending up in Geneva. It's a fun way to travel, like with the Starved Rock trip, seeing places like LaSalle, and driving the little farm roads through Kendall County. There are actually some rolling hills out there, and trees and other cool things.
It was the perfect distraction after a stressful weekend. This world is simultaneously cruel and beautiful. You heard it here first.