Driving Through Flyover Country
Flyover Country is the moniker given to the middle part of America that so many people view as boring, so it is simply flown over while going from one coast to the other, to places where much more interesting things happen. From above it appears as a monotonous quilt of sectioned off square miles stretching from horizon to horizon, a grid system envisioned by Jefferson and applied to the landscape through the Homestead Act. What can’t be seen from a plane is the details and the people that make Flyover Country much more interesting than it first seems.
Flyover Country is perhaps one of the most misunderstood parts of America. Some have a negative view, envisioning gun racks, Wal-Marts, and nothing very interesting to look at, except for Mt. Rushmore; alternatively, some have a more romanticized view, one of quaint and prosperous small towns, farmers on antique tractors, and the American cowboy riding a horse into the sunset. The truth is far more complex than a few stereotypes or a Norman Rockwell painting.
This project explores the complex people and places of Flyover Country. There is no one archetype that define the people and places of the Midwest, they are as varied as any large city, though perhaps a bit more spread out. The landscape has a subtle beauty if one takes they time to slow down and appreciate the little details that make the land interesting. Flyover Country, however, does have its own problems; young people are moving out of rural areas, chain stores are replacing traditional Mom and Pop businesses, and the future of the smallest towns is bleak. Despite these issues Flyover Country remains a unique part of America best experienced from the ground, which is why I prefer to drive through Flyover Country.