Male Western Tangier
This is a very wet year. The entire Mississippi River valley is in flood. The height of the Great Lakes are expected to be at record levels. As our gaze turns westward, the implications of this very wet spring are also becoming apparent. When the spring rains and expected higher than normal summer temperatures combine, the rain will fuel vegetation growth, which will become fuel for fire. We saw this last year in Glacier. It rained most of the days that we were there, but come August the place was a tinder box and many notable landmarks were destroyed. Our planned visit to Rocky Mountain seems to be similarly cursed. At least we’ll get to see this “Notre Dame” before it too is burnt.
Today was an epic day of driving, almost 900 miles. Much of the day was spent dodging yellow thunderstorm boxes or not. This weather was all across western Kansas. The most interesting episode entailed having to emergency break on ice. It had hailed, but to such an extent that it looked like snow. Anyway, we made it. We won’t be camping in the Rockies. It’s too cold. The motel is inexpensive, but nice. We saw the tangier in the parking lot after dinner. I’m ready to leave the Midwest storms behind. We’ll explore Boulder and the mountains tomorrow.
We’re listening to Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. The thought is what better story for a roadtrip than a book about a roadtrip. Kerouac’s story even covers some of the geography that we traveled today. We’re only a quarter of the way through the book, so there are still many more miles to travel yet on the road. Long day.
Tobacco Curing Barn
One of our last stops along the Natchez Trace was this period tobacco barn. In it tobacco bandeliers were hung from the rafters to cure and dry. Although, website photos show it decked out with bundles of tobacco, there was only one still hanging when we were there. Anne posed her suspicion that kids might have stolen the rest, but I think that that is just the teacher in her blowing smoke.
I had a dentist appointment this morning, which meant that I had to drive out to far west county, or just east of Kansas City. On the highway out, I was treated to a spectacle. Rolling Thunder the Vietnam veterans motorcycle organization was passing through town, eastbound, heading towards our nation’s capitol and their Memorial Day appointment there this weekend. The police were treating them like a presidential motorcade. They had stopped traffic on all of the highway entrance ramps. The front of this parade was a phalanx of motorcycle cops, with lights flashing and sirens whirling. Their V-formation was similar to that used by Canada geese. Behind this tip were hundreds, nay thousands of other motorcyclists riding in a loose continuous stream that filled all three lanes and ran on for eight miles. At the very end was another bunch of motorcycle cops and three MODOT trucks, each sporting a large LED sign that I read in my rearview mirror, “Do Not Pass”. Saint Louis really does love its parades.
I enjoyed seeing the motorcycle version of Rolling Thunder. I’m not so sure how much I will like mother nature’s tonight. The weather system that has been roiling Texas and Oklahoma is scheduled to hit town tonight. The Blues hockey team is playing in town and they hope to clinch a Stanley Cup playoff berth for the first time in fifty years. Plus, the Cardinals are also playing in town tonight. We have dinner and a show at the Fox tonight, so it could all prove interesting.
Fire Dragon Rhapsody, Ricky Tims, 2004
Fire Dragon Rhapsody, Ricky Tims, 2004 – Detail
It had rained in Nashville, the morning that we left. This probably caused the wreck on I-24. Google circled us around the north side, just as it had done the south the night before and we eventually got out-of-town. It was only a couple of hours to Paducah, where we stopped at the quilt museum. Anne had been there before, but this was my first time. In the past, I would take the boys down the road to an amusement park and let Anne enjoy the art and there was some fine art there. For some reason there was a heavy horse racing flavor in the collection on display. Unlike the quilt show, which is just bonkers, the museum is a much more manageable affair. Also unlike the quilt show, there were no women hitting on me, “We see you, you can’t hide from us.”
After Paducah, it was only a few short hours to home. We unpacked, kind-of-sorta, because you know the next trip is only a few weeks away. The lawn is a lush jungle, which has been my two-year goal. Anne is now fully enrolled in Medicare and I have my card too (A&B). I’ll transmit this info to our broker Colton and get him going for me. I want to get this wrapped up, before we hit the road again. Things to do: treat the porch, hang pictures and hack at the vegetation are a few of the things that I also want to get done.
We lunched yesterday, with Don, DJ and Ron. We met at the Granite City Brewery, which is in Creve Coeur and not on the eastside as you might expect. They offered a Broad-axe Oatmeal Stout, of which I partook. This put me in mind to catch up on Game of Thrones. I endured the long dark, very dark night, just in time to avoid SNL spoilers and I’ll do it again tonight.
In the vein of dungeons and dragons, I’ve selected the pictured quilt for this post. When Ricky Tims was leaving Saint Louis for Texas, Anne contributed a “boot” block, as in cowboy that she had made and was later incorporated into one of his quilts. A dragon image in iron grill work at an old post office in Pueblo, Colorado caught Ricky Tims’ eye and sparked his imagination to make this quilt. There are 32 dragon motifs in this quilt. Game on!