The long road home

(So, as Zach Braff so eloquently put it in Garden State, my parents’ house isn’t really my home anymore, but it is a place that has shaped me and is dear to my heart. . . and the title was too good to pass up. So here’s the story of my trip to Missouri to celebrate Thanksgiving. Oh, and I really like telling stories with pictures. So there will be some. Quite a few actually.)

Driving to Southeast Missouri from Nashville is about a 4 hour drive, which is remarkably shorter than most people think.

I got up around 6:30 a.m. I had intended to sleep later than that, but my body had other ideas. I’d also turned my heat way down last night because I was hot. I was freezing this morning though. (I first typed that as “I was not that hot this morning” but I didn’t want to open myself up to all the jokes that could led to.) After meandering around the house for awhile and drinking some coffee, I decided to get ready to leave. That resulted in this:
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I really need to go see Andrea who cuts my hair. I need help. Or just a stylist. Any volunteers? I’ll pay. . . nothing. Yeah, that’s what I figured.

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So a waved farewell to Nashville, all the while searching for my iPod so I could listen to David Mead’s “Nashville” as I was leaving town. But since I don’t have the whole iPod hookup for my car and I thought the earbuds might be dangerous while trying to drive, I didn’t listen to it. I may have sung a little though.

There were even a few holy moments in the car. Like this one:
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(OK, so I know everyone loves “Free Bird” and it’s one of the only Skynyrd songs most people know, but I love it. It makes me happy when it comes on the radio. So happy that I take pictures of it.)

There’s this part of my drive to Missouri that I hate. I call it the Long Boredom. It starts on I-24 around Ft. Campbell and extends all the way to Paducah, KY. There’s simply nothing to look at. Farmland. Trees. Towns here and there. It’s flat and boring. I go a little crazy on this stretch of road and start counting the mile markers and subtracting to figure out how many more miles to certain landmarks. And that says something for someone who hates math. Take a look:
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Hey, wait. There’s a sign for Elizabethtown. I love that movie. So I took a picture.
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Muffin and I stopped at the Sonic in Paducah for a Diet Cherry Coke and a breakfast burrito. Because breakfast burritos, no matter how low rent you think they are, rock my world. I LOVE them. Muffin likes to read the menu when we go to Sonic. Which contrary to popular opinion is not all that often.
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After I make it to Paducah, KY, I get to drive on some beautiful western Kentucky backroads to get to Missouri. I get to drive through Wickliffe, KY, which is location of many of a school field trips. Because Wickliffe Mounds are in Wickliffe. Way back, long ago, Native Americans lived atop the bluffs flanking the Mississippi River. When I was younger, you could see the skeletons excavated from the burial mound. Then, someone (with the help of a lawsuit) realized that displaying the bones of peoples’ ancestors probably wasn’t the most respectful idea and the skeletons were reburied. I think. I can’t remember.
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Then I crossed the Ohio and the Mississippi Rivers. The water levels seemed a little low.

And finally, I was in Missouri. I cross into Missouri near the Cairo, IL/Charleston, MO area. This is not the garden spot of the Midwest, I tell you, but I’m always happy when I reach this point in the trip. That’s because it means Highways 60 and 25 are not far and my parents’ house is close.
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This, my friends, is Southeast Missouri. One of the flattest places you’ll ever visit. (If you ever do.)
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Home is near. (You can’t see it, but my parents’ house is way in the periphery of that pic.
And when I got to my parents’ house, I got to take care of Eli all by myself for about 2 hours. No one died.
Eli
So far, it’s a good Thanksgiving vacation. 🙂

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6 thoughts on “The long road home”

  1. i love taking backroads more than interstates. there’s so much more to see! unfortunately they also take longer, so i don’t drive them as often. the unearthed skeletons sound interesting!

  2. I think they still have a map of the skeletons, but you can’t look at the actual bones. Which is understandable. I like backroads, too, but due to my lack of a sense of direction, I dont’ usually take them either. And I’m usually running late or something! 🙂

  3. My personal favorite picture is of Muffin at Sonic. “Yes, I would like a number 1 with no mustard. Give me tator tots with lots of ketchup and a Route 44 vanilla Dr. Pepper. Rrfff!”

  4. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family!

    Eli is beautiful ! (Maybe I should say handsome since he’s a boy, but he’s still BEAUTIFUL!)

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