Friday, June 24
Mile 1,575. After a somewhat futile effort to swim in the Crescent swimming pool in the early morning rain (first rain we have seen)—shallow end about one foot deep—we enjoy a big breakfast in the somewhat tarnished “Crystal Room” and head off toward Oklahoma where we will spend the evening.
The drive through the Ozarks is beautiful as the rain subsides, the mist rises and blue begins to appear through the clouds. I am reminded again that extraordinary beauty is to be found throughout our vast country.
The beauty subsides as we drive through a small town at the intersection with I-49, the earth begins to flatten out again, and all the in-your-face signs for fast food, motels and gas stations clutter what would otherwise be the last vista of the beautiful Ozarks. How did we allow the junkifying of small town America to happen?
We have three days to make it to Albuquerque to pick up our eleven-year-old grandson, Jasper, in the afternoon. This will be the first of three long days of driving. Several people who are reading the blog have asked that we slow down, which is good advice, but actually we are not as tired as it might appear. At the end of the day we are pretty worn out but have been able to get a pretty good rest overnight and arise fresh and ready to go (more or less). (When I talk about being tired, you can bet I am writing in the evening.)
The highlights are the ever-changing landscape from the green Ozark mountains to vast fields of crops and then pastures and finally gray prairie. Unlike the Eastern U.S. rural areas, there are very few houses and surprisingly few cows or horses to be seen. The traffic on I-40 has thinned out considerably as well, relieving some of the stress of driving. Two things particularly stand out—the vast blue sky with white cloud puffs and a consistent, strong wind. I thought that this part of the journey would be rather boring but actually it is not for me. I am fascinated by the vastness of the landscape.
We pass the border to Oklahoma as the pastures change to plains. Then we pass through one “nation” after another of Native Americans—Cherokee Nation, then Kickapoo, Shawnee, Potatomi, Chickasaw, Pawnee, and Cheyenne. The plains are vast and from I-40 no sign of any settlements. I can’t help thinking, where is everyone?
Evening at the Best Western in Clinton, OK, Mile 1,967 with left over pizza from our dinner at the Crescent.
The big news of the day, of course, is Brexit and what it means for the UK, the EU, and for the U.S. More on that to follow….