Click for larger imageMissouri:  The Show Me State.  Show me...what?

My plan today calls for a four hour drive from Saint Louis to Kansas City.  I anticipate a quick drive with little traffic.  Who would be out driving across a flyover state on Saturday?  Shortly after leaving Saint Louis, I'm stuck in a twenty mile traffic jam inching along a freeway flanked by big-box stores and car dealerships.  Show me an exit?

Once free of the traffic jam, I'm zipping along at 80 miles per hour and noticing increasing numbers of signs reading: "XXX Movies Here!", "Adult Entertainment!", "COMPLETELY Naked Dancers HERE!", "Strippers THIS EXIT!".  These corrugated metal barns turned entertainment venues beckon from every exit and billboard.  Ah, now I know the reason for Missouri's motto:  There isn't anything Missouri won't show you.

Click for larger imageOne hundred miles outside of Kansas City and I pull over at Stuckeys, a chain of stores I recall from family road trips twenty years ago.  Stuckeys is famous for their blue roofs and pecan logs (a delicacy I can't recall my mother ever letting me taste).  The temperature is nearly 90 degrees outside.  I buy an ice cream cone and stroll around the building looking at the Adult Superstore across the street and the adjacent farmland.  In my reverie, I walk by an occupied truck whose driver is missing more teeth than he still has.  He looks over at me and says with a lewd smile:  "How yoo doin' today?"  I suspect there is nothing I want him to show me.

Click for larger imageI arrive in Kansas City, Missouri, just after four o'clock.  The radio says the temperature is just eighty degrees but the thermometer on the dash says ninety.  I believe the dashboard reading when I step outside. 

Kansas City is another industrial city decaying after the loss of its economic base.  I could swing a cow without hitting another person in Kansas City.  The city center is desolate. Many of the city's buildings sport broken or boarded windows, for lease and for sale signs.  Downtown is filled with blocks of empty, handsome, tall brick buildings waiting for time or machinery to end their life span. 

My hotel seems to be in the one area still occupied by humans.  Someone is conducting a wedding under the hot sun in the plaza across the street.  (I can't imagine wearing a tuxedo in ninety degree heat and humidity.  Does forcing your spouse to recite vows while fighting off Click for larger imageheat stroke foretell the future of a union?)  People in the hotel seem to be wandering from place to place without leaving the building - like computer characters materializing and disappearing at the edge of an arcade game monitor. 

A security guard in the Kansas City Southern Railway Building starts screaming at me when I take photographs of the building from the street.  He waves his arms as if to scare me away while yelling his intention to call the police. I suspect I'm the only other living being he's seen today and my appearance on a Saturday in this section of town must mean I'm a threat to Homeland Security.  You can never be too careful when a nun starts taking photographs. 

Click for larger imageTomorrow I leave Missouri and head to Colorado, whose state motto is "Nothing Without the Deity".  Well, I suppose that is better than California, which sports the motto "Nothing Without the Deficit".  Tomorrow, Denver...

By the way...yesterday's quip about turning underwear inside out was a joke suggested by MUNI Guy, who is now angry I used it with attribution and is threatening to send angry letters to my publisher to have me fired while  Erika Lopez is encouraging to get me to sell the Road Trip 2003 idea to PBS (sort of like Michael Palin but without the cool BBC production staff). 

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Road Trip 2003 Statistics
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Kansas City
Miles to date
Funds Raised
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The Plan - Road Trip 2003
Itís time for a road trip - a really, really big-ass road trip...[More]
The Route - Road Trip 2003
San Francisco to Maine, twenty two states, two countries and 8,000 miles...[More]
The Vehicle - Road Trip 2003
An itty, bitty car with just enough space for a suitcase, GPS unit and...[More]
Road Trip 2003 Captain and Crew
Who would be crazy enough to drive 8,000 miles in a really small car...[More]
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