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.

About Bo Mackison

I’m a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place – a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I’d love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It’s my gift to you.


  1. There is something fascinating about this image.

    • Bo Mackison says:

      I love the juxtaposition of the train and truck, Anita. The app gives it a bit of a different color cast, but I liked it.

  2. Hi Bo. Was wondering if train/truck was taken with a filter. The etheral green sets background wallpaper which makes the red on the truck pop…. down the lonely stretch of road. Great picture

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Hi, Sharon. I used an app for the iPhone called Hipstamatic. Mostly I use it for on the run photos when there’s no time to set up a shot. I’ve had some great results. Black and whites turn out really well, too.

  3. love the photo. I’ve read your travel blog in reverse. Very enjoyable

    • Bo Mackison says:

      If you read the trip in reverse, you won;t need to read my blog when I return to Wisconsin. Oh, wait — I;m taking a different route… hmmm.

  4. I am so impressed! A travel log. A wonderful concept that I shall endeavor to duplicate when the hubs and I begin our cross-country journey later this year. Love the photo!!!

  5. Bo Mackison says:

    I want to read your travel log. How fun to share…

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