Missouri

18 October 2017

As much as I loved the West, I enjoyed the vegetation of the East. The low elevation, available water, and humidity felt familiar. Although rarely welcomed, it was truly a warm return. Trees were blinders along the road, making you feel less lonely and exposed. Their leafy arms reaching out, waving in the breeze. Windows down, you hear insects. You feel surrounded by life. After a solo trip, the landscape was a welcome change. I felt like I had landed back home–deciduous forests in summertime. The delirium of the drive, in recollection, confuses this point of view, but you know what I mean.

 

It was only my second time in Missouri–the first being a nightly drive-through with my dad . It was good to see the state during the day. The rolling hills and Mississippi. The friendly people without noticeable drawls. It was like the Midwest married the South. And my old truck chugged through it all the same. At this point, the mysterious loose wire had blown about a dozen fuses en route. But she wasn’t giving up. She took me all the way to highpoint, buried in a pleasant state park south of St. Louis.

 

I snapped a picture at the peak, a short walk from the parking lot, and stretched my legs. Dusk was falling, and I had about one day of driving before reaching South Carolina. My apartment wouldn’t be ready for another week, and I’d have to fly up to Michigan for my cousin’s wedding soon. So I decided to head north. The heat and humidity didn’t lend itself for a night in the truck, and after days without air-conditioning, I wimped out and got a hotel. But in the late morning, I crossed the border and proved the cranky California mechanics wrong: Old Faithful made it home. They said she wouldn’t make it across town. A box of fuses and weeks later, the truck returned to the elephant graveyard. A job well done.

 

Taum Sauk Mountain. 1772 ft / 540 m. 25 July 2017.

missouri