When driving between St. Charles and Kirksville, one encounters over 200 miles of rolling hills, valleys filled with fog, and (during this winter) varying amounts of fresh snow. The drive starts out on Interstate 70, passing the various cities that mesh into one giant St. Charles/St. Peters area before hitting more farms that separate Wentzville and eventually Warrenton. From there, the mountains start (or hills from the perspective of someone actually living near mountains). In the valleys, you get heavy fog that will cover the rest of the state if you keep driving. When the hills start to fade away, you’re left with a whole lot of nothing until you get to Columbia and get passed by every single car with a Mizzou sticker that exists. From there, it’s a hop onto 63, and you’re driving past farms for the next 100 miles, with short bursts of life from Moberly and Macon, with town populations of 10,000 and 6,000, respectively. All along the way, the fog picks up, regardless of what time it is, and snow starts to pelt. The accumulations reduce the four-lanes to one lane each way, and not a single driver cares if they’re driving on the lines. They just care that they’re driving where the snowplough was an hour before. It’s slow, and the fog and snow reduce your vision to even less of the farms around you, giving the drive an extra feeling of monotony. But, eventually, you get to Kirksville with it’s 20,000 population, and it feels like you just stumbled upon a metropolis.
But, if you have some good music, something to drink, and a Taco Bell stop along the way, this is quite possibly the best drive ever. It grows even better with a car full of fun people, and the snow is just an added bonus of beauty and excitement. After all, isn’t it a little fun to drive through a snow storm? I think so.
– – –
This weekend, I went back home to St. Charles partly to clear my mind and also to see my grandmum for her birthday and visit with family. Unlike most of my trips home (that end in fighting and my wanting to immediately leave), this was actually enjoyable, and I made a major point of getting along with everyone. It’s difficult for me, very difficult. Especially with my mum, but I tried, and I won. Granted, I yelled a little on Sunday when I got stressed, but it was an “I’m in a real hurry, sorry!!!” kind of yell. So, not too bad.
My family ended up driving down to St. James, Missouri on Saturday night to attend my cousin’s band’s trivia night. We slightly dominated, though not enough to win any prizes (fourth place out of seventeen tables). The only prize we got was the one for driving the furthest, which I’m fairly certain my aunt set up just for our table since she was in charge of prizes and knew we were coming. All in all, though, it was fun. I enjoyed listening to my grandmum and mum’s conversations during the two hour-long car ride, and it was enjoyable to not have to listen to my aunt whine too much. She only made a jab at my vegetarianism once, and I still shut her up with the now infamous comment of, “well, I’ve lost six pounds and went down a dress size.” It works wonders.
I counted up the hours over the weekend to figure out that I had been in a car for 13 hours, sleeping for 18, and awake and out of a car for only 17 hours. I know that doesn’t quite equal up, but it sounds like a pretty good weekend. So, maybe I’m still in a valley right now, with a lot of freezing fog and snow blocking my view, but I’ve started taking the steps to get back up the hill. And that’s what’s important.