Greetings from the Heartland

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View from outskirts of Prairie de Rocher, southern Illinois

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mark, Jun 29 2006 1:07PM

wow. that's unbelievable moon-like (except for the sky of course). i didn't realize southern illinois was that desolate.

how tall are those bluffs?

Alice Marie, Jun 29 2006 9:32PM

Hey Mark,

These are actually two ridges in a vast pile of gravel lying beside the entrance of an abandoned mine. They are quite tall, maybe about 150 feet or so, as well as quite old, judging from all of the birds that have burrowed into the loose rock to make shelters. The sort of hazy desert aspect is due to the silica mist that still hovers over the town of Prairie du Rocher because of the few active mines in the area. Southern Illinois is full of weird sites like this. As for the nearby town, the only operating tavern in Prairie du Rocher is a pretty rough looking place, from what I could see on the outside. I've stuck my nose in the trough in many a watering hole, but I can't say I was anxious to pop in for a cold one when I passed through. In the tiny grocery store, there are pieces of notebook paper taped on the wall above the cash register. On each, and written in red marker, is the name of someone who has overrun their tab and can no longer shop on credit...and how much they owe. This in not the Illinois I know. In fact, I try to hide the fact that I'm from Chicagoland when I'm down here.