This was somewhat discussed in a thread called "The world's most expensive tripod," in which we were discussing the best way to shoot (safely) off the top of a truck. I also live in the midwest, and know the problem that you're looking at; and I find that shooting off the top of an SUV, which will get the camera ~11-12 feet off the ground, helps a lot. The problems are two: safety (if you trip backwards, you'll land on your head for the same reason that the bread lands jelly-side down) and not damaging the truck. I once did archaeological photography, and tried to work ouit a boom system, but eventually gave up. IMHO, a boom would not work well for landscape; seems like it should, but once you get into the details, it doesn't.