Monday, January 12, 2009

The Road to Change 1/11: Rollin' on the Roadway

We awoke in Warrensburg, Missouri, a bit later than I had hoped due to the time change (grrr). We had arrived at night, and I must say, Warrensburg is a bit prettier at night. At least there's nice college nearby. When I went to check out from the hotel, the clerk thought I was with a group of fraternity brothers. To her dismay, I wasn't.

Next stop was Sedalia, an otherwise unremarkable town except for its amazingly well-preserved main street, which in this case was named Ohio Street. Sedalia was the early home of ragtime legend Scott Joplin, before he moved to St. Louis and later New York. The Scott Joplin Foundation occupies the ground floor of the ornate Bothwell Hotel, reminding visitors of Sedalia's little slice of history in the midst of grain silos and Wal-Marts.

After driving for what felt like three hours, we realized we had been driving for an hour and were in Columbia, just in time to admire the historic buildings and the fact that every store's title bore some reference to University of Missouri's mascot, the Tigers. They're great!

We had a pleasant chat with employees at the city's premiere independent movie theater, then we ate a burger and left. On the way to St. Louis, we passed Fulton, the site of Churchill's "Iron Curtain" speech, as well as more empty space. The increasing frequency of Wal-Marts signaled the approach of St. Louis, and landing airplanes on the horizon indicated the location of our discount motel. Time to park the wheels and take to the heels, the Gateway Arch beckons.

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