Back to St. Louis

Having gone to bed pretty early the previous night. I awoke not long after five. I lounged a bit, listening to NPR. By 5:30 I had managed to get clothes on, the curtains open, and myself in the driver’s seat.

Google thought that I was twenty hours from Knoxville. My goal was to make it to St. Louis, a bit more than halfway. It would be a long day, but I figured that worst case I could make it halfway and pull over and sleep at a truck stop or a Walmart.

I started making my way through the last several months of This American Life. I have the podcasts downloaded automatically and copied them to a USB drive that I stuck in my car stereo so that I would not have to worry about spotty data coverage. With the dulcet tones of Ira Glass’s stories, Kansas came around surprisingly quickly.


The stories continued. There is a whole lot of nothing between Ft. Collins and St. Louis.


Eventually I made it to Missouri. Though there were road signs that would imply that something might be nearby, I am pretty sure they are just suggestions that there is something far away.

Mom, who had been following not only my travels via Google Latitude, but also traffic patterns along my projected route called to tell me that there was a huge storm front coming my way. It looked as if I would hit it soon and would be in the rain all of the next day. This seemed like all the more reason to push on through as far as possible on this day.

Thankfully, it was very late in the day when I hit the rain. I saw it coming, though and wildly snapped shots of it through the window at sixty miles per hour. I finally pulled off the highway and took a few shots. It was a full 180 degrees, and for a good portion of it, the second rainbow was also visible. Were I a real photographer, I would have a wider lens and could have gotten the whole spectrum in all its beauty.


Backward from the way I learned it in the Bible, soon after the rainbow, the sun went down and the rain started. When I first got Walden I did not like driving at night or in the rain. The headlights were miserably dim and the faulty seal on the windshield allowed water to drip on my feet. Pretty early on I figured out that the window gasket was the problem and I coated it with black caulk. Then, last summer, I installed an awesome light kit, which included relays allowing me to almost double the wattage of the bulbs and also instructed me to improve the ground, allowing even more juice to illuminate my path. The new headlights are twice as bright as the originals. Now driving at night in a pouring rain was not so bad.

I called ahead to the Schlafly taproom to see what time the kitchen closed. Nine O’clock. I thought I might make it, or maybe I could be close enough that I could call and order something a few minutes before my arrival. That was not to be, however, it was close to 10:30 when I pulled in to the Schlafly parking lot. It was a long day.

I closed the curtains and made the bed. By the time I emerged, the rain had stopped.

That day was a long drive. May 30

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