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Northwoods or southern Illinois: Join the debate

Joyce Truby made case for southern Illinois as getaway with phoOhio River from balcony her cabin. | Courtesy Joyce Truby

Joyce Truby made a case for southern Illinois as a getaway with a photo of the Ohio River from the balcony of her cabin. | Courtesy of Joyce Truby

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Updated: July 25, 2012 6:33AM

The Grand Canyon and
southern Illinois rarely share the same paragraph, but Joyce Truby drew a sharp analogy
when discussing my column last Sunday about southern Illinois vs. the Northwoods as a getaway.

It was one of a multitude of responses. Most favored the Northwoods. My reason for doing the column was more than just a north vs. south comparison.

There’s real monetary impact at stake. As Tod Todd posted on Facebook: ‘‘Keep your tax dollars here.’’

Truby made more than an economic argument for southern Illinois. She drew a picture.

‘‘My husband and I discovered southern Illinois a few years ago, when we were looking for a quiet cabin in the woods away from the maddening crowd,’’ she emailed. ‘‘I Googled ‘cabins’ and found one that looked exactly like something we would like. You’re right: The ride down south is not very interesting — something like the ride from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon — but the destination is a complete surprise!

‘‘We were amazed at the size of the Shawnee Forest [didn’t know that was down there]. There aren’t masses of tourists roaming around, prices are pretty reasonable and the people are friendly. We recommend it to family and friends who want to escape Water World, etc. In other words, it’s probably more adult-friendly then kid-friendly.’’

In the other direction, Ken ‘‘Husker’’ O’Malley of Mokena summed up the habit, history and ambience of going north.

‘‘It’s that time of year again when the kids get out of school: Time to head up north,’’ O’Malley emailed after returning last week. ‘‘Weather was great while we were up there. Picture-perfect, I would say: upper 70s and no rain for nine straight days. Water temps were 62 when we arrived and 71 when we left.

‘‘If I could describe the fishing, it would be awesome: 50 to 60 bass a day. Kids had a blast with the ’gills. Walleye were a little slow, though. Managed to only get the smaller ones that were just shy of legal. Not going to complain as my thumb was sore form lipping bass all day! And what better way to enjoy an awesome day of fishing but to chill out on the dock and have an ice-cold Leinie’s. . . . Guess the only disappointing part of the trip is that our black-bear cub Koda from last year has not been at the cabin yet.’’

Frederick Ungaretta posted one sure reason the Northwoods is and will be favored: ‘‘No contest in this heat and humidity!’’

And I think many of us simply feel something almost indescribable, as Jim Mordacq posted: ‘‘There seems to be a touch of the wilderness ‘up north.’ ’’

But Don Gasaway countered: ‘‘I moved south and got more for my money.’’

He meant more than stuff being cheaper, which it generally is in southern Illinois.

‘‘Within a one-hour drive of my house [are] 40 major fishing areas and over a half-million acres of public hunting land,’’ Gasaway posted. ‘‘That is a bargain in my book.’’

The final word goes to John M. DeCillo.

‘‘Heading north is always a pleasure,’’ he posted. ‘‘Coming back is always a P.I.T.A. You can fly all the way to the Illinois line, but, no matter what time of day, you always run into heavy traffic.’’

That brings us back to earth or the Chicago area, whether returning from the north or south.

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