Quite recently, The Cajun and I took a road trip, combining a number of work-related jaunts into one big journey, and adding in some visits with old friends and (for me, anyway) a bit of sight-seeing. Our first stop was in the lovely metropolis of Olney, Illinois, because part of The Cajun's ultra-glam job as an executive involves scuba diving near municipal boat ramps**.
|Adventure lurks beneath.|
But Olney is not just famous for its beautiful boat ramp (actually, I suspect that it's not at all famous for its boat ramp); what brings people there is the white squirrels. Olney-ites are very proud of their squirrels, to the extent that they actually count them every October. Personally, I counted 8 squirrels as I walked around town - only one of them was white, but he gets extra points for being on a tree right on Main Street, across the street from City Hall.
|He is rather cute, isn't he? Worth driving 1000s of miles for? Maybe.|
So Olney has a boat ramp and white squirrels. But, wait! There's more! Olney is also the home of Gnomeville. What is Gnomeville? Well, we're not entirely sure. It's a mysterious little area on the side of Route 130, near the golf course, that seems to have attracted a certain... specialized population.
|It's Gnomeville. What did you expect?|
No official signage, no nothing. It's just there, randomly, on the side of the road. The Cajun found it on his last trip a year ago, and since then, it's grown from one household to four.
|Population: 30 or so.|
All kidding aside, Olney is a very nice little town with a cute downtown area, friendly inhabitants, and a courthouse that's a dead ringer for the one in the Back to the Future movies. Book your trip now.
* I still haven't managed to say "y'all" out loud without a sense of irony. But I'm working on it. Promise.
** Can't tell you why; it's classified. But if he's going to keep doing this kind of thing, I'm going to recommend that his next installation be in some place with clearer water, like the Caymans or Key Largo. Or someplace else that isn't southeastern Illinois.