On Day Nine, we prepared to exit Webb City and begin the last section of our 2012 road trip. We had very few stops planned on this eight-hour leg and hoped Missouri would grant us the courtesy of safe, expedient passage.
After bidding my in-laws farewell, we detoured for one last sight in town — giant praying hands that stand tall down the street from Ozark Christian College. We took comfort in their presence and prayed they were a good sign that our journey would be under watchful, merciful eyes.
No one likes to see their hopes answered hours later with an ill omen.
Even if this wasn’t a sign from the Devil warning us how horribly things could still go wrong, we already knew at the very least that the faraway burning sensation would mean stopped traffic and a delay reaching home. When you’ve lived on the road for over a week, few things sound more inviting than returning to your own home and bed. Anything standing between you and the end of car-happy homesickness is cause for hard tension and dying a little inside.
The closer we neared the source of the smoke, the more despondent we grew as traffic continually decelerated with each passing mile marker.
Much later than we would’ve preferred, we reached the scene of the despicable crime of Delaying Our Arrival Home, an offense punishable by our collective scorn for a full day. We hoped no serious injuries resulted from the burning truck that was the epicenter of the disturbance, but it was hard to hear our sympathy over the sound of our selfish frustration.
This was the best possible shot my wife could snap of the Event while I tried zooming past as efficiently as I could under the gridlocked circumstances.
Two other accidents occurred in our immediate environs on the way home, none documented on camera, all creating varying degrees of traffic logjam. We weathered it the best we could and tried not to snap at each other during our extended incarceration inside the rental car.
Even though we really, really wanted to be home, we still had to allow for a few breaks from our cramped cockpit to get some fresher air, stretch our legs, look at something besides each other for a while, and verify we weren’t passing anything fascinating.
As it turned out, this glorified warehouse containing a combination of souvenir shops and small-business craft stands did not qualify as fascinating after we concluded our interior inspection. Its plethora of billboards along I-44 were a pale imitation of the millions of I-90 billboards that lead to famous Wall Drug in South Dakota. They raised our hopes much higher that they should’ve been, all the better to dash said hopes on the ground and laugh at them.
One roadside attraction didn’t allow us a chance for simply parking and appreciating. This mini-monument nicknamed “Stubby Stonehenge” was built from 160 tons of granite and situated on the campus of the Rock Mechanics & Explosives Research Center at the Missouri University of Science and Technology. If there was a place for tourists to stop and check it out on foot instead of crawling by it at 5 MPH, we never found it.
Ultimately, the rest of the answer to our prayers was wordlessly communicated and we crossed the remainder of southern Missouri unharmed. From there we sped through Illinois to reach our Indiana home.
To be concluded!
[New readers and completists: be sure to check out the 2012 Road Trip checklist for the ultimate MCC road-trip reading guide. You can also add your name to the MCC Facebook page to receive notifications of new posts (if you know the proper workaround) and lend your voice and support to MCC in general.
Today is also Day Two of the seven-day WordPress.com Daily Post’s “Just Do It!” Weekly Writing Challenge, in which WordPress bloggers have been dared to post-a-day for the next seven days. So far MCC is two for two.
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