The deaths of my parents left me with six weeks per year that I always spent with them. Usually, I flew to Missouri but seven years ago, I decided I wanted to make the very long drive from Houston to St. Louis. This is my version of Jack Kerouac's On The Road. It is taken from June 28, 2006.
I made it to St. Louis! About an hour ago, I pulled into my folks' driveway after putting eight hundred miles on the Corolla. Tuesday, I couldn't sleep so I got out of bed at 2:45 AM and left Houston at 4:00. Driving is such a different experience from flying- I hadn't realized just how much. As I recover from sixteen hours in a small car, here are a few observations and highlights.
1. There must be a Dollar General store on main street in every little town between Texas and Missouri.2. I wish my Toyota had a CD player and cruise control. HOWEVER, it did get 36.1 miles per gallon on the trip!
3. I heard an NPR feature as I drove. The topic was the interstate system and it made some great points I had never considered about its construction and its affect on the United States. I made terrific time driving on I-30 but it wasn't as much fun as being on US 59 and US 67, both of which cut through the middle of every tiny village in their paths.
4. There are so many great things about small towns. I can't get enough of water towers that, after the town name, proudly announce HOME OF THE BOBCATS. Or LIONS. Or TIGERS. Or any of a number of other kind of fierce beasts. I also love the signs at the city limits: WELCOME TO JONESVILLE: State Football runner up, 1981.
5. You can run the scan button on your radio, both AM and FM, and not pick up anything for thirty minutes for two thirds of my trip.
6. I wish they would put rates on motel marquees. I stopped at the first place that had their per night fee listed.
SUPER 8 MOTEL Poplar Bluff, Missouri $45 per night single Five Stars7. McDonalds and IHOP have the best coffee.
8. A plane, a yellow crop duster, took off right over my head in Corning, Arkansas. The runway ends at US 67. It was exciting!
9. In tiny Swifton, Arkansas, I saw two little girls, probably about six or seven, walking together down the highway which doubles as the main drag. In Houston, that would be considered child endangerment. In Swifton, it's just the small town way of life.
10. Town squares are great. I pulled into Fredericktown, Missouri, (population 3,930) for lunch today. I found a Subway store where a pretty woman smiled at me...and blushed! I bought a meatball sandwich and ate it in a park a block away. The city is set up around the courthouse and all the traffic flows in a circle around it. My hometown tore down our historic courthouse- not efficient enough was the explanation. Bless the communities that keep their historic markers and buildings for the next generation!
11. Diet Dr. Thunder, the Wal-Mart generic version of Dr. Pepper, costs only $1.88 for a twelve pack and after the first five, I can't tell the difference!
What if Paul had written a blog on his mission trips? He never would had time to preach! As I need to be reminded of often, the Lord gave us a beautiful country in which to abide. It's hard to tell at thirty thousand feet from the window seat of a Southwest Airlines jet, my normal mode of transportation. It's good to see it again at eye level. The scenery from Houston to Missouri is a beautiful, sometimes breathtaking, landscape populated by beautiful and down to earth people. God bless America.
Applicable quote of the day:
"The traveler sees what he sees. The tourist sees what he has come to see."
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