Trucks and Trains Across the Plains

New Mexico, Trucks, and Trains

Trucks and Trains ©2012 Bo Mackison

The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land. ~ Gilbert K. Chesterton

When I travel and I am the passenger, not the driver, I jot down a log of the trip. Filled with facts and figures, sure, so I can tabulate the trip costs but also filled with mumblings and questions and observations, and, in capital letters for emphasis, I note the places I would like to explore further.

Then, in an amazing feat of organizational skills typically not found at my level of expertise, I actually return to these notes when I plan another trip. Since there are only a few trusted routes from my Midwestern home to my Tucson home – at least when winter weather can ruin travel plans – we seem to travel some of the same roads.

A few of the highlights, thus far:

Left Illinois at 4:04 am, crossed the Mississippi at 4:08. Wonder what the people who have always lived in the arid west, those who have never seen large rivers but only banks that run dry (except when filled with Monsoon seasonal rains) would think of a wide river like the Mississippi. Always tumbling over itself in order to get to the Gulf of Mexico as fast as it can.

Missouri. First stop: Ayers for coffee. 4:10 am. Didn’t need gas but regular is $3.35.

4:15 am. “I am going on a trip to Arizona and I’m going to pack my ATTITUDE!” My good attitude – that’s half the key to good travel. Maybe more.

Palmyra, MO: Flashing signs on four lane highway. WATCH FOR FARM VEHICLES. HARVEST SEASON. Gas is $3.23.

Orion’s lights are brightly shining, lighting the sky. Rural house/barn lights are flickering on – early morning on the farm.

Monroe City, MO: Birthplace of Mark Twain. I didn’t know that! I’ve been to his boyhood home and all the other Twain sites in Hannibal a dozen times, but never knew his birthplace was another 20 miles away.

South River
North River
Salt River
Mussel Fork
Turkey Creek
Muddy Creek
Locust Creek
Higgin’s Ditch

5:05 am Clouds moving eastward. Stars are disappearing. Windy – the flags, and there are many, are standing straight out (at attention!)

Bevier, MO  Driving past we see that regular gas is $3.14
Ethel, MO No place open for breakfast.
Lingo, MO No place open for breakfast.

Exit to General Pershing’s Boyhood home Hmm.

Exit to Locust Creek Covered Bridge. Too bad it’s still dark.

Hickory Creek
Parsons Creek
Muddy Creek
Medicine Creek
Leeper Creek
Blackwell Creek

billboard: KO THE FAT. What the heck? Oh, Sherpa explains it means “Knock out” the fat. Of course.

In Chillicothe, MO. We try 3 different coffee shops — all either closed or they have disappeared. Get gas and bananas. Gas is $3.10. It is the HOME OF SLICED BREAD. Must Google later. Chillicothe looks like a nice town. There are quite a few murals on buildings of the main streets — still too dark for photos. Sigh!

Raccoon Creek
Grand River
Brushy Creek
Shoal Creek

6:45 am. Dawn and now there is light so we can see. And there’s a place for breakfast just ahead . . . to be continued sometime after breakfast..


Bo Mackison is a photographer and the owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. She loves travel logs.

Nebraska – From East to West

Nebraska Shed and Skies

Nebraska Shed and Skies ©2008 Bo Mackison

The skies are wide, the grasslands rolling a bit, lots of rural buildings in Eastern Nebraska, and we keep heading west. Always west.

Orange Train Engine

Orange Train Engine ©2008 Bo Mackison

Not only are we heading across Nebraska. The trains are traveling too. Every half hour or so, one comes hurtling down the tracks, mostly heading east with full cars of coal, or occasionally heading west with empty grain cars, soon to be filled with this year’s harvests.

Goats in Nebraskas Sandhills

Goats in Nebraska’s Sandhills ©2008 Bo Mackison

And how many of you are as surprised as I am that part of Nebraska looks like this! Yesterday afternoon  we drifted off the Interstate so we could see more of the back country – and we found this. As we drove near Broken Bow in western Nebraska, the land turned into sandhills covered with grasses and we saw a herd of grazing goats. We also saw plenty of beef cattle on the grasslands, and on the sides of the road there were a few sandhill cranes, pheasants, hawks. Even five white-tailed deer that ran right in front of our car. Seems no matter where we go, the deer consider our car a moving target worthy of aim.

Another hundred miles of Nebraska today (Sunday) and then we head west across Colorado where snow is expected in the upper passes of the Rocky Mountains. Hopefully we will just run into rain.