Sorry for the delays! I didn't have Internet until late yesterday, and these things take work, ya know...
Friday, September 14
Start: Springfield, MO
End: Amarillo, TX
Best Thing Heard on Radio:
DN: Well, the Grateful Dead channel had all of a three hour Bob Weir concert…but MM let me listen to all of BatBoy the Musical. Of course some random DJ in Oklahoma randomly said, “you can’t roller skate in a heard of buffalo.” He also opined that “you can’t bathe in a birdcage.” True ‘dat
MM: Reggae cover of “Blowin in the Wind”
Best Thing Seen on the Road:
DN: The Fuel truck for Crist Fuel
MM: Sign that reads, “Hitch hikers may be escaping inmates”
There were some early cool stuff right off the bad in the Show Me state. The road sign for the Road Bunk Café was an early favorite for best thing seen on side of the road, and we were happy to see Marybeth had her own exit. Exit 103 was for routes MM and B.
However, we also took time for our road stop of the day to go to the Precious Moments Park and Chapel. Now you might expecting some pretty snarky commentary from me on this, but the truth is that Marybeth collected these statues when she was a little girl and was interested in seeing the place. That it seemed like the set of a really cool horror movie was just a bonus for me.
The flower garden, fountain area, museum and chapel were nice, in a quiet secluded sort of way. But I couldn’t shake the feeling that these cherubic statues were going to come to life and hack me to pieces. When I told MM that it seemed like a horror movie set, she replied that it seemed more like “Alice in Wonderland.” I guess she never saw the “Don’t Come Around Here No More” video.
One drawback to these statues is that just about all of the girls are blond. Now for a curly haired brunette, it was always sad that she couldn’t get one that looked like her. Never fear, at the Precious Moments Official Gift Shop, you can build your own doll. Green eyes, curly hair, overalls….whatever you want. When you pick the doll its just a bald babyish thing wearing underpants, but you can do with it whatever you want.
Now, I’ve made many mistakes in my life, but one of the biggest was making a crack at checkout about them throwing in the underpants for free. First off, the woman insisted on calling the doll's underwear “panties.” (Underwear free with every doll) The second was she told me about the internal fighting on whether or not to have panties for the dolls. Trust me, this is not the kind of woman you want throwing around the word “panties” in mixed company.
And what was the debate about? Were they worried that people would just stick to a bald doll with panties rather than by the accessories given the chance? Did they really think the panties would make the difference for someone sick enough to want a creepy-ass, bald doll with no clothes?
Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed.
Finishing at the museum, we got back on the road to Oklahoma. There are two things I remember about Oklahoma from before the trip. The first is that it is the birthplace of Michael Rosensaft. The second is Wesley Clarke, having won his only primary, goofily proclaiming, “Oklahoma is OK with me!”
Oklahoma is not OK with hitchhikers however. In various parts of the state, we say brown signs that read “hitchhikers may be escaping inmates.” Well, OK then.
Now Marybeth gave me some trouble about not mentioning a billboard for “foot tall pies” back in Indiana because the sign said “Actual Size!” which of course wasn’t true because even a foot tall pie would be tiny on a big ‘ol billboard. Well, the good people of OK must have thought that a pretty funny sign because a billboard for some steak house also bragged of showing the steaks in actual size. I believe the advertised steak house was the inspiration for a scene in “The Great Outdoors,” because the restaurant claimed you could eat for free as long as you scarfed down a 72 oz. porterhouse in a half hour.
Some weird DJ around OK City responded to a question about what roller rink a caller should go to by opining that “You can’t roller skate in a field of buffalo and you can’t take a bath in a bird cage.” Oh, that heartland wit and wisdom…
About 60 miles from Texas we noted a wind farm and MM made some joke about alternative energy having to be outside of rocket range from Texas. As we learned later, wind power is actually being heavily promoted in Texas, much to both of our surprise. The first rest stop we encountered actually had a whole video presentation on how it was wind power that tamed the west and we’re just re-learning how to use it now. Go figure. Texas.
“Welcome to Texas, Home of President George Bush” reads the highway sign. I bet New Haven has something to say about that. Or maybe, New Haven has given up their claim...Although the sign did explain my sudden desire to clear brush with my spare time.
Also amusing about Texas was the plague of locusts. From about 20 miles outside Texas until we reached Amarillo, we noted there were a lot of dead locusts on the ground and others scurrying around. A plague of locusts, now whatever could that mean?
In an effort to battle Armageddon, the great state of Texas has put up the world’s biggest cross along the side of the road. Enjoy it while you can, because plans are underfoot to overtake it in the cross arms race.
We closed out the trip by listening to a reggae cover of “Blowin in the Wind.”
For dinner that evening we ate at a Texas Steakhouse that had old movie posers along the wall with other western themed mementos. Our favorite was “Africa: Texas Style” with the tagline of “The Cowboy Who Came to Tame a Bucking Bronc Called Africa.”
Don’t Mess with Texas.