I haven’t always hated big cities. In my younger years and at the apogee of my professional life I reveled in the urban pace, the sophistication, the where-corn-don’t-grow culture. I can’t recall ever wanting to live in the city, but I savored each moment of every visit.
Times have changed. So have I. These days I don’t even like to drive in the city.
So today’s drive began unpleasantly — we plowed right through the heart of St. Louis, Missouri during morning rush hour. It couldn’t be helped, a white-knuckle ride on I-44 and I-55, past The Gateway Arch and across The River into Illinois, where we picked up I-70. That highway will bring us within a few miles of Second Chance Ranch tomorrow afternoon.
Once clear of St. Louis our day was smooth, agreeable and uneventful. We made good time and, even losing an hour at the Indiana border, we arrived at our campground shortly after check-in time.
That’s our style.
As we rolled Ernie up to the park office we couldn’t help but smile — this is where we stayed 320 days ago, the very first stop on our journey. Deb claims that Dipstick asked specifically that we spend our last night here, so that he could visit a friend he made back in May.
See, he and one of the campground donkeys really hit it off that day. Their reunion this afternoon was kinda cool.
We’ll relax this evening, get a fresh and early start tomorrow morning and do battle with another big city (Indianapolis) before drawing a bead on Columbus. As much as we wanted to leave the place this time last year, now we’re strangely looking forward to getting back.
The familiar. It’s a powerful thing.
Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.