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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Heading South - 2012

We decided to skip the winter in Egypt experience for this year.  We didn't want to take another trip to Cairo and find it interrupted as it was last year.  (See the links to "My Posts From the Revolution in Egypt - January, 2010" on the upper left side of this page.)

We are renting a condo on the beach in the Pensacola, Florida, area for a couple of months beginning on January 11.  We headed out today giving ourselves a week to make the drive from Minnesota to Florida.  Unlike last year when the snow was deep or the sub-zero blizzard of 2003 that held our first day's drive to about 70 miles, this was actually a pleasant departure.

Here is last year's exit on the left and this year's on the right.
Iowa-2011-1 Iowa-2

The Upper Midwest has been suffering quite a drought for the past four months. The lack of snow cover leads to significantly higher than normal temperatures.  This means that we have more than the usual number of cars, snowmobiles, fishermen and even DNR officers falling through the ice on the local lakes.

We left Bloomington at about 10:00 a.m. with the temperature a relatively balmy 30 degrees.  Forecasts were for a possible record high of 46.

By the time we reached the Iowa border, the snow was totally gone from the farm fields and the car thermometer was registering 50 degrees.  Another hour found us seventy miles farther South in Ames with the temperature at a record 62 degrees.  The local radio stations had calls from people on the golf courses, and from others driving convertibles with the tops down.  We saw joggers in bathing suits on the streets of Ames. -- Definitely not your typical January 5th in this part of the country.  But don't worry, this will change!

Here is a look at the fields near I-35 just a couple of miles into Iowa.

Now you may know that those fields grow a lot of corn during the summer.  But this is a very favorable area for steady winds and so they have also been growing a lot of windmills lately.  This seemed like a good time to photograph some.

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