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Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana

25 Oct

I recently completed a solo 10-day road trip loop around the states. Here are the stats:

I left home in Missoula, Montana on Friday October 12th at 5:40am (camped over night in Medina, ND)

I arrived in Stillwater, Minnesota on Saturday October 13th at 12:30pm

I left MN on Tuesday October 16th at 5:00am and arrived in Bull Shoals, Arkansas later that same day at  6:08pm

I left AR on Friday October 19th and arrived back home in Missoula on Sunday October 21st at 12:19pm (camped over night in Paxico, KS and in Kaycee, WY)

Grand total of miles traversed: 3,834.3 miles

________

Arkansas

Road notes going from AR to MT (in order of appearance in my pocket notebook):

Oh, the comedic irony! I just had to flip around coming out of the gas station parking lot in Flippin, AR.

Wipers on full tilt in Arkansas. A rare occurrence where I hale from.

A few lone trees took autumn’s memo about the slow approach of winter quite seriously and dropped all of their leaves like a fire sale. But the other 99.8% of trees are all like: “Dude! What’s that tree doin over there? He must not be from around here.”

The billboard in Harrison, AR touting an ad for whiteprideradio.com makes me feel strange to be a white person.

I can’t be the only one who finds it strange that there’s a National Tiger Sanctuary off highway 65 in Missouri.

 

Sticker guiding the way on my windshield

 

A tugging of my heart prevails until I grow accustomed to the rhythm of the road. It takes time to lone-wolf it and reacquaint myself with my own company in such concentrated accord.

Cows, election signs, sky, and asphalt joins us all together over borders and across the miles.

Un-tethered from a town or planned route, my breath sputters and shakes as it finds its new norm.

In an act of highway irony in La Harpe Kansas, my two-lane highway turned to four-lanes in precise timing with the speed limit reducing from 65 to 55.

At 5:00pm, six miles from Burlington, Kansas, the sun which hid itself from view all day, revealed itself in royal majesty.

Heading into the sunset, an Ani Difranco lyric sprang to mind: “nothing’s worse than a sunset when you’re driving due west.”

KS is chock full of birds of prey perched on fences, signs, wires, and poles.

Like a picture developed in a dark room, the day revealed itself in stages of increasing light and decreasing darkness. And a field of stars made way for the sun.

The music of Emiliana Torrini makes for a darn good soundtrack for a Kansas sunrise.

The morning sky like the ocean, engulfs my attention in rapture – and just as easily, I become as infatuated as I once did as a young girl when a cute guy would walk by.

Spending time on the road makes it clear: we’re all just tiny boats on the big global ocean of life.

The slow turning of wind turbines backlit with lavender rose skies, cradles and soothes my inner landscape.

Every state has its charm, allure, and beauty. Every state is full of good people.

It’s good to have my views shaken up: seeing painted highway lines squirm, silos have a crooked top, wind turbines be stuck in place.

Like a robust solitary tree surrounded by a fertile field of grain, I sometimes mistakenly feel as though I am without my people.

The stretches of road we leave behind don’t disappear when they vanish from view. They were a necessary part of our journey to the here and now.

Wyoming is a beauty box.

When you’re on your own, little sounds can become huge mental disturbances in the night.

It seemed almost an implausible spectacle to behold, the lights of Sheridan, WY popping and shining in the dark sea.

5:40am. Crossing the border into Montana. I’m no longer an out-of-state plate.

Under the cover of morning’s darkness, I stole away from Wyoming and slipped back into the arms of my home state.

When viewed in the right light, every state, every town, and every person is simply spectacular.

A white-clad mountain range up ahead sings in pinks and purples at daybreak. A fragrant melody welcoming me home.

The soft tender spot of a place, reveals itself at dawn. It cracks open in a way only possible as the day begins.

I feel a special camaraderie with semis. We’re both lone warriors of the highway.

The Madison River lined in amber trees, glows in cobalt blue and silver steel.

At my last gas stop in Cardwell, Montana, I used the bathroom to brush my teeth and read a sign that said: “Please purchase merchandise to help pay for bathroom supplies.” So I bought a Montana sticker at the exorbitant price of $5.39.

When I started out, the electronic sign said: 130 deaths on Montana highways this year. Now, coming home 10-days later, it reads: 132 deaths on Montana highways this year.

I think we stole the proclamation of Big Sky Country from Kansas. Similar to my passenger side rear-view mirror, I think the mountains just make the sky appear larger than it really is. Worry not, though. I brought up this query with Kansas as I was rolling through and it said it was cool.

An excuse for poor driving works both ways: Sorry, I’m not from here and Deal with it, I’m from here.

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Posted by on October 25, 2018 in Travel, writer's life

 

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