Its a balmy 15 degrees with overcast skies, and the landscape is a mix of leftover snow and brown stubbly grass – a typical winter morning in the Midwest. It’s the kind of day that it takes courage to leave the warmth and comfort of your soft bed and toasty home. But, it’s also a wonderful time to travel and a great way to avoid the dreaded cabin fever, so prevalent this time of year.
So, it was with some additional excitement that Paul and I loaded up the car with our essentials – cell phones, snack items, water and emergency blankets and set our course to our next destinations: a the tiny town of Santa Fe, and Florida Missouri, birthplace of celebrated author, Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens).
We being the day by fighting with Google Maps, who wants us to take highway 63. After all, it is the fastest way to reach out destinations. But we ignore her repeated “suggestions” (oh, for God’s sake, shut up already!) – and take Paris Road, which leads out of town and eventually becomes Missouri State Route B.
Dusted with a powdery snow, the landscape has a magical feel as we approach Hallsville, The Small City with the Big Heart. From here, B turns into Missouri Route 124 East and less than 10 minutes later, we arrive in Centralia, the city Anchored in History. Small towns like these have a real sense of togetherness that larger cities are not able to replicate, along with a sense of pride is much more than a tag line.
Missouri Route 124 becomes MO 151 North and before long we take a sharp right onto Missouri State Route C – one of those no shoulder, rural roads with little wiggle room, so prevalent off the beaten path. It also appears that C is the home of the world’s largest cell phone tower…
As we turn right on onto Missouri State Route T, the sun, struggling to reveal itself, is nothing more than a yellowish smudge in the overcast sky. Although we have seen a few cars up to this point, by now we are completely alone on this Sunday morning. This is one of the things we both love about our back road trips; this feeling of total isolationism is soul renewing. Better than a doctor’s prescription for what ails you, and we recommend it wholeheartedly.
Apparently we are in the land of giant towers. As we take our next turn – left onto Missouri State Route E – I had to practically climb out my window to get the full effect of this Guinness-Book-of-Records-worthy!
Our journey on E is short-lived and soon we merge onto Missouri Route 15 North.
On winter trips, such as today, we are constantly reminded that Nature paints some of her most beautiful scenes this time of year. However, we also discover beauty in the stark contrast between nature and man-made structures.
But for now, it’s time to return to the task at hand and concentrate on reaching our destination. Five miles to go on 15 North before a final right turn onto Missouri State Route D, which will take us into Santa Fe.