Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Road Trip, Part 6

(The School House B&B in Rocheport, Mo.)

The drive west from Missouri was rough. We fought a gale from the northwest all day, and in eastern Kansas, the rain turned to sleet, and then hail smacked against the windows of our vehicle as we rocked down the highway through an ocean of orange grass.
From the journal:
We stopped for gas and to add a quart of oil, and the force of the wind was almost enough to take the hood off. I had to hold the hood with one hand while I poured the sluggish oil with the other. My fingers became numb in just a few seconds.

Our vehicle was a Mitsubishi Montero, the older, boxy 4-wheel-drive model with the straight-up windshield. Against that wind, I figured we were getting barely more than 10 miles to the gallon.
We drove into Russell, hometown of U.S. Senators Bob Dole and Arlen Specter, late in the afternoon. A squall had passed through before us, leaving on the streets three inches of wet snow that melted quickly in the sunshine just breaking through the clouds in the immense sky. Dole was definitely Russell’s choice to be president of the U.S. at the time, even though it was obvious that this poor town had never received a smidgen of pork from its favorite sons in Washington.
At dusk, we pulled off the highway and traveled gravel roads across the prairie to Thistle Hill, a bed and breakfast sheltered from the wind by an enclosure of cedars, about seven miles from Wakeeny (population 2,300). Our brief experience there would be unforgettable.

(The Dream theater in downtown Russell, Kan.)

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