After driving from Myrtle Beach and sleeping over in Cookeville, TN, we were back on the road. We were ready for heavy morning commuter traffic through Nashville but didn’t expect the bad dream to continue throughout the day. A light sprinkle deteriorated into a heavy rain, driving us into a virtual car wash. The thin, grey ribbon of highway, lightened only by the golden smear of the surrounding autumn trees, slipped in and out of a heavy mist.
The Sweetie stayed behind the wheel for twelve hours battling the relentless rain, poor visibility, and 18-wheel road beasts, in full spray mode. We slowed frequently for warning signs and mile after mile of orange and white striped cones but there wasn’t a sign of road work—presumably the crew was staying dry in a nearby Starbucks.
We spent the night in Blue Springs MO, drove north around Kansas City, then on through Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota. Dark clouds threatened a repeat of yesterday’s deluge but produced only a benign sprinkle as we passed through the ominous grey overhead and continued west into cornflower blue skies. Maybe it was the sunshine or the lack of traffic, or maybe I was remembering all the years I spent there, anyways I wanted to give the Midwest a big hug. It’s so darn friendly—no looming forests, lots of sky, and very polite drivers. Although there was this sign…
South Dakota regulations allow farmers to rent billboard space—Tractor Museum Ahead!, Wall Drug—Only 250 Miles To Go!, 5¢ coffee!, 10¢ pop!, 99¢ buffalo burgers!, Reliable Transmission Repair!—so farmlands, black, jelly-bean cows, tumbleweeds stuck in the fences, and hays rolls stacked neatly for winter were frequently interrupted, and in the background blew the consistent wind that drove pioneer women screaming into the prairie.