And Then It Was Winter

And Then It Was Winter

Out to pasture on a backroad in Arkansas near the Missouri state line. © Jim Hinckley’s America

I believe it was Charles Kuralt that said the interstate highway system made it possible to drive coast to coast and see nothing. That is an opinion that I share. And it was an opinion verified on this trip, until today.

After several days spent on the interstate highway, with occasional detours on to Route 66 and into Route 66 communities, we took to the back roads of northern Arkansas and eastern Missouri. Travel on the interstate highway is generic and sterile.

Travel on the two-lane highways and the little county roads is a voyage of discovery that reinvigorates the spirit. Stops at the chain motels and restaurants, fast food joints, and corporate truck stops that are nestled at the off ramps along the interstate highway stifles the spirit of adventure.

Dan’s Steakhouse in Pocahontas, Arkansas

Today, with the passing of each mile, we could feel the stress and frustrations of the past few weeks melt away. We savored a delightful grilled catfish lunch complete with hushpuppies, and the snippets of conversations from the American heartland that surrounded us.

People were talking about fishing and deer hunting. Daughters were treating their mother to lunch and reminiscing. A young man was teasing a grizzled old man wearing a Korean War veteran hat that his son was smitten with his granddaughter. The waitress was friendly and showed a passion for the hometown as she answered our questions.

The old alignment of US 67 is now signed as business loops. It is a scenic wonderland of twists and turns through the mountains adorned with bright fall colors, and through villages where the line between past and present is blurred.

It is this rich tapestry of sights, sounds, tastes, and tangible links to history that make give travel an infectious obsession. Falling into a rut of complacency where there is a comforting illusion of a comfort zone is easy, and soul crushing. Severing these chains and restoring the soul is a challenge, but the rewards are only limited by the imagination.

Providing inspiration for the adventure is our stock in trade. And so, we are again on the road in search of adventures that we can share.

A delightful lunch of catfish and hush puppies in Pocahontas, Arkansas

And so, here we are far, far from our comfort zone. Here we are in the Ozark Mountains awaiting a brisk 21-degree morning when we set out for a speaking engagement in Atlanta, Illinois.