Saturday, July 20, 2013

Road Trip through the Ozarks

Christian County, Kentucky, to Hickory County, Missouri

Recently, I took a few days off from the usual humdrum and made a fast trip west to visit my family. I drove to Wheatland, Missouri, and picked up my sister; then she rode along with me to Kingman County, Kansas, where we spent several days visiting with my brother and sister-in-law. Then I took my sister home again, and came back home myself. The entire trip was about 1500 miles.

Here are some of the sights from the first day, as I traveled from Hopkinsville, Kentucky, to southwest Missouri.

 This gas station in Wickliffe, Kentucky, is a familiar landmark just before the long approach through the swamps to the Ohio River bridge.

There was no traffic on the bridge over the Mississippi River, so I drove slowly, put my camera out the window, and blindly took some pictures. Most of them were out of focus and wildly tilted (not surprising,) but this one isn't too bad. The trees are growing on the extreme southern tip of Illinois. The Ohio River is on the far side of the trees and the Mississippi River is in the foreground. The two rivers come together in front of the trees and continue as the Mississippi to the ocean.


Much of the land in the Missouri Bootheel was cypress swampland until the 1890s. It was considered a great engineering accomplishment when nearly all the trees were cut and the swamps were drained and converted to farmland. Today, it's a very productive agricultural area, but a rich and complex ecosystem has been lost forever.

Most of the hay harvest this year in southern Missouri and southern Kansas was put into big round bales like these. We did see a few big square bales in Kansas. We speculated that they could be packed closer on a truck than round bales and that they would be more stable during transport.

In a gas station, I saw this stuffed bobcat and bird (I think it's a quail.) I don't think they'd win any taxidermy prizes, but they certainly were attention-grabbing, especially for little children.

The other end of this shop in Van Buren, Missouri, was more modern and less cluttered, but I really liked the look of this end. Van Buren always has something interesting to see. I took a few minutes off to drive around town and look at the Current River.

My next stop was at Winona, where I pulled into a gas station to study the map and plot a route across the Ozarks. I had finished my map reading and I was waiting at the stop sign to get back on Highway 60, when a woman in a Ford Explorer rear-ended my car. She was apologetic, but she didn't explain to me why she did it. My car didn't appear to be damaged, but I got her insurance information anyway. "Just in case," I told her.

I pointed my camera at the road as I went down some of the big hills. Here are two pictures that turned out all right. I'm thankful for Highway 60 which is all four-lane these days, but I always enjoy the point in the journey when I turn northward on a two-lane and head across the Ozarks toward Wheatland. I've seen some great scenery from the two-lanes in the Ozarks.

I usually go through Lebanon, but I decided to take some blacktop county roads (about 50 miles of them) and go through Buffalo instead. (This information is for those who really know their southern Missouri geography.) That's how I happened to pass through Conway, and by the way, it was the first town I'd seen in quite a while.

I finally arrived at my sister's house a little before sunset. When I opened the trunk of my car, I couldn't close it again. Once opened, the two parts of the trunk latch were misaligned and impossible to connect. So I called the woman's insurance company and made a claim that night.  (Lesson: Always get the insurance info, even if the car does not appear dented at first glance!)

For the rest of the trip, I had to fasten the trunk with a bungee-cord. We put most of our gear in the back seat because it was more convenient. When I got home again, I took the car to the body shop for an estimate, and the guys there bent it back enough to close it properly. Now, I'm just waiting for the appointment in about a week to get it fixed for good.


Anonymous said...

Another winner "old friend" would like to offer one comment on the round bales of hay.
Thanks and Cheers,

Genevieve Netz said...

Thanks, Vern. That's a great question. :) And by the way, I hope you are having a great birthday!

Stitchy Mc Floss said...

Loved the post. It's always nice when you take us along on your trips.

Ok, Vern is so cracking me up with that "how will they get a square meal..." thing. Very cute.

Wishing you a day filled with many blessings.

Collagemama said...

My sister and I were reminiscing about a trip when we couldn't get the trunk open. Your not being able to keep it closed is an equal difficulty.

Genevieve Netz said...

A trunk that wouldn't open would be a huge problem -- worse than not being able to close it, I think!

It did rain at my brother's house while I was there. It's dry out there, so they were happy for the .7" they received. I attribute this to the trunk of my car being slightly open.

Genevieve Netz said...

Thanks for stopping by, Stitchy, and blessings to you as well!

John Ruberry said...

I've yet to visit the Ozarks. One day...

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.