Saturday, June 26, 2010

Long Road Home

Day Map, Thursday 24 June 2010 Part 2

We left New Orleans about 7 p.m.  We headed north on the dreaded interstates for speed and time.  We wanted to get home in time for me to rest up for my early morning at work on Saturday.  We really pushed it to get at least half way to home by morning, which ended up taking us to a truckstop at a small town in the Missouri boot heel.  Mississippi is a long boring drive normally, and even more so at night.  I've taken this route several times in my life.  The first time was in January 1978.  The BeeGee's were constantly driveling on every radio station and disco was in full swing.  I also remember Paul Simon being played a lot and there was a song -- 50 ways to leave your lover, that kept being played over and over again.  We stopped over at a cheap motel in Sardis Mississippi, and I remember it having the softest nicest bed I've ever slept in.  The next morning we all got up to an ice storm.  The weather got worse the farther north we went.  We had lunch in Sikeston Missouri.  Somewhere south of St. Louis, Mom and Debbie, my sister, who were following us in the 74 Ford Gran Torino spun out at a slick spot and got nearly stuck.  Dad, the dog Rebel, and I were in the 72 dodge pickup in the lead.  We bypassed St. Louis, which I've noticed is a path we took today.  We stopped at another truckstop somewhere midway between Kansas City and St. Louis for dinner.  I remember that truckstop food was good back then.  I also remember how hard it was snowing, which was novel for us who lived primarily in the south where it rarely snowed.  I stood under an awning at the truckstop and a big pile of snow fell off the eave and landed on my head to my amusement.  As we headed farther west, the Dodge truck's heater started failing.  I and the dog, Rebel had to curl up together for warmth and try to sleep.  We got into Kansas City early in the morning and the temperature was twelve below zero.  We checked in the Holiday Inn at Harlem, which was a run down neighborhood by the downtown airport just north of the river.  I remember it being unbearably cold and the city seemed depressing and grey.

    Thirty two years later, Suyen and I made the same trek, in another Dodge truck, with our dog, Tima.  We didn't check into that motel in Sardis, though I did glance over to see if it was there.  We stopped over in Steele Missouri after blowing through Memphis without stopping, and Arkansas -- definitely without stopping.  All the rest areas in Mississippi were closed, except one.  Arkansas didn't have any rest areas.  I didn't feel like stopping anywhere close to West Memphis anyway.  We slept in the truck in a truckstop in the Missouri boot heel.
Day Map Friday 25 June 2010
   We got up the next morning, took off, and I stopped at a Caseys for breakfast pizza.  We passed by Sikeston, and I looked for that truck stop.  I think it is long gone, replaced by chain motels.  We only stopped once after that, south of St. Louis for fuel at St. Genevieve.  We bypassed St. Louis all together on ring highways, which was alright by me.  St. Louis is not much to look at from the interstate and traffic there is a nightmare any time of day.  We blazed across I-70 back to familiar territory.  We stopped in KC at a gas station so Suyen could pee, and we got home late in the afternoon.  Not bad for being in New Orleans the evening before.

We had treked across the heartland of the former Confederacy and had seen many pine trees.  We didn't hit the major touristy spots in Florida, but we had a nice relaxing good time.  You know you've had a good vacation when you are happy to be back home.

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