Today was the leg of the trip that has been making me grit my teeth for months. Any way I mapped it, I still had to get across some square states, and the best way to do that seemed fast. No offense to the fine people who populate the great states of Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, and Nebraska, but there’s only so much farmland this hillbilly can take. You’re fine people, I’m sure, but flatland makes as much sense to me as a pop-tart with no icing. (And if you still think I have something against farmers you’ll have to take it up with my Southern Illinois wife – the finest crop her daddy ever raised!)
Anyway, after yesterday’s ride through the flames of Hades, I landed in a half-star hotel, and arranged to meet my cousin and his wife for dinner in downtown Eureka Springs, Arkansas. The tight valley filled with historic stone buildings provided a great setting for us to all to get to know each other. Thanks Terry and Lynn! You guys helped me recover and have a new start this morning.
A pre-dawn roll through the darkness of the Ozark valleys kept fogging my windshield as I dipped down, then clearing it as I climbed the next hilltop. The first bit was exactly what I had hoped to find in Arkansas.
And, even though after I left the hills I could steer by compass points, the day was a fun ride. Apparently, people in the straight road states have a very liberal attitude about posted speed limits. I followed some trucks, some Harley riders, and even thought about falling in with a pack of 12 motorcycle police riding in formation (I didn’t, but I thought about it …Oooh, I thought about it).
But, other than the zippy progress of 600 miles rolling by today, the highlight was a stop at Joe’s Kansas City BBQ. Thank you Pat for suggesting this stop! I got there early for lunch, and that was a good thing.
The next good thing was the lunch special of burnt ends with a side of dirty rice, or as the guy at the counter yelled it, “One burnt and dirty!” I thought for a second he was talking about me.
I left feeling full, and slightly envious of the experience these people were about to have.
Today wasn’t nearly the challenge I thought it would be. The straight-line miles gave me a lot of time to think about how grateful I am for this opportunity, how grateful I am for my family, and how grateful I am to God for giving me a life with purpose and meaning I could never have imagined.