From now on I’ll be a day behind in my telling of my trip, because last night I spent with family, and I wanted to give them all my attention. You understand, I’m sure.
Well, Kentucky was my first new state in a long time, and now I’ve driven through another: Illinois. For the first hour, my only impression was slate grey, because I hit this unbelievable wall of fog right at the state line, as if nature follows human geography. It was quite surreal.
Even stranger was the radio station I landed on. They asserted that humans bred with angels and produced giants, and because of this God sent the flood to wipe them out. I find it rather terrifying that there are people out there who believe this stuff, and that they can vote.
I came across the best business model ever– a gas station that includes a puppy park, and makes a point of informing you of that on the highway. I got gas there instead of its many competitors for that very reason, thinking my dogs might enjoy a leashless romp. But it turned out to be a tease, because they haven’t built the thing yet. So my dogs peed in the corn field next to the station.
Speaking of stops (or actually ones to avoid), I spent a long time reflecting on the fact that I’d be driving right by Ferguson, Missouri, where the riots have been going on. Oddly enough, I saw no sign for this town on the interstate, which gave me the unsettling feeling that I never quite knew where the danger lay. Riots, my God. It’s heart breaking. But to be honest, the way the economy is, and the racial tension, especially with the ever-widening gap between the rich and the poor, it amazes me that we aren’t seeing more riots. There’s a lot to be angry about, and this is a scary time to be American.
Around noon I crossed the Mississippi River and passed Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri. It was strange how insignificant the crossing of our biggest river was. Probably because I was caught in a traffic snarl of old rusty bridges and mostly had to keep my eyes on the road. The arch is beautiful, though, and it means that I’m now officially in the West.
I’ve got to say that this country of mine is massive. I’ve been driving for days and I’m only about 1/3 of the way to my destination. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to be a pioneer. I doubt the average European immigrant had any concept of the size of the journey they were embarking upon. And back then there was no infrastructure, no motels, no highways, no restaurants, nothing but a lot of unknown. I don’t think I fully understood how brave these people were until this moment.
Momentary panic set in when my radio completely died. I have South Dakota and Montana in my future. Imagine facing that in silence. But a simple fuse replacement solved the problem. Whew.
My only other thought is that on my way to my niece’s house, I passed Knob Noster, Missouri. There’s a joke in there somewhere, but I’m too tired to make it.
Next stop: Chamberlain, South Dakota!
Check out part 4 here!