Nothing says "independence" in America more than getting behind the wheel of an automobile and driving - and driving - and driving. This morning I climbed into my trusty Saturn Vue at 0730 hours for the long drive south and east. I was ending my visit to Tim and Erin and Olive in Roeland Park, Kansas and heading back to the little farm in West Plains, Missouri. The trip is roughly 275 miles, and I managed it with only three brief stops.
The first stop I actually did not even get out of the car. I pulled through the drive-thru at the Wendy's just down the street from where the Roeland Park Macy's live. I got a good, healthy breakfast to go and then headed out toward the highway. Unfortunately for morning people, many Wendy's do not serve breakfast - which is a shame because their breakfasts are really good. The eggs are cooked fresh while you wait, the biscuits taste like real biscuits - not ones that have been frozen, and the menu has a nice variety of items - many of which are not carried by the other chains. (The artisan egg sandwich with bacon is my particular favorite!) I always stop there when I am in the Kansas City area - often multiple times.
From Roeland Park I drove about seventy miles to Clinton, Missouri before stopping a second time. There I filled the car with gas and stretched my legs a bit. As I started the next leg of the trip, I came upon the perfect pace car - a shiny little green Camaro with out-of-state plates (Scott County, Kentucky) that was traveling a bit too fast - though not dangerously so. I slipped in behind the lone male motorist and proceeded to follow him as he leisurely passed most traffic that got in our way. I wound up following the guy all to way to Springfield, across Springfield on the bypass, and then on east via Highway 60. We were on the other side of Seymour when I finally broke off our relationship by pulling into a Casey's for a bathroom break and lunch.
For the final leg of the journey, seventy miles or so, I used a Lexus mini-van with a canoe strapped to its roof as my new pace car. That driver was a bit more reserved than the guy in the Camaro had been, probably fearful of losing the canoe if he got too carried away with his speed.
The trip was basically uneventful, which is the way I prefer my travels to be. The Highway Patrol was out in force, and I saw them ruining the holiday for several motorists - but fortunately I was not one of them!
I'm not sure what my next outing will be, but I have been invited to head west at the end of the month to attend Aunt Mary's 90th birthday party in San Diego. I had literally dozens of aunts and uncles as I was growing up, but am now down to just two. I am going to try to make it out to Mary's party and wish her well as she begins another decade.
(Floyd Sreaves of Seneca, Missouri is the other survivor of my parents' generation. He was my mother's youngest brother. Aunt Mary was married to my dad's older brother Wayne. He died of leukemia in the 1950's.)
For all of you holiday revelers and firecracker fiends, party safe on this Independence Day!