Tonight we are in Joplin, Missouri, birthplace of Langston Hughes. Checking the weather forecast this morning from central Kentucky, we found a large brightly colored weather-radar blob in our path and dramatic TV news pictures of large flooded areas in both Missouri and Arkansas. We had hoped to camp tonight in west-central Missouri, but the prospect of pitching our tent on sodden ground in the rain was not inviting. So we decided instead to drive clear across Missouri today so we can reach Palo Duro Canyon, near Amarillo, Texas tomorrow afternoon in time for a late afternoon hike. But I have gotten ahead of myself….
Lorrie and I left our home in Bethesda around mid-day on Monday, did a few last minute errands, and then headed towards Batesville, Virginia to visit our dear long-time friends Stevik and Robert. Batesville is a lovely old Virginian village nestled close to the foot of the Blue Ridge, near Wintergreen ski resort. Stevik and Robert have a great house and garden on a hill just above the Batesville Market, and they are active members of the community. While Bethesda was hot and sticky, we arrived in Batesville just ahead of a severe but short rainstorm that broke both heat and humidity. The night was clear and cool, and the sky full of stars. And we had a fun-filled evening with close friends. What a great beginning to this new chapter of our lives!
On Tuesday, we drove to Steve and Brenda’s historic 1850s farmhouse near Louisville, Kentucky. Though we hadn’t yet met, we have heard so much about Steve and Brenda from their daughter Stephanie and our son Dylan that we felt we already knew them. Sure enough, we got on very well over a delicious meal and drink, and we talked late into the night about many common interests beyond our two terrific kids now living together in our Bethesda home.
The Kentucky sky was clear and blue this morning, but increasingly overcast and rainy as we drove west. Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri. We passed through lots of green farmland with alternating flat and rolling countryside. By the time we reached southern Illinois, we began to see big impromptu muddy lakes that didn’t show up on google maps. I snapped a picture of the gateway arch in St Louis as we crossed the Mississippi river. Road signs in St Louis indicated a big stretch of interstate 44 was closed, necessitating a wide detour, but we arrived safe and happy this evening in Joplin, Missouri.