Maps

My ride and me, we never used a GPS. No compass. No MapQuest. We abstained from sextants. For the first third of this journey, a state highway map was our only guide. Deeper into our drive, untraveled roads became harder … Read More

Locked Out Again

Locked Out Again

Connie stays across the river from downtown Kansas City at the old municipal airport. She’s known more formally as a Lockheed Constellation, the airline workhorse of the 1950s. If you saw her, you’d instantly recognize the plane, with her curvy … Read More

Now Showing

Of the thousands of drive-in theater screens that dotted the countryside, few remain. Many are ghost screens, forever blank. But now and then…

Winter Camping Alone

If you wanted to hide from creditors or a hit man, Lake Wappapello would do nicely. Isolated in rugged hills, wholly surrounded by the thick woods of Mark Twain National Forest, the lake stands apart from the crowd. Driving to … Read More

On Seeds

There are seeds in every abandoned house, in the dry rotted floorboards and the mildewy walls, in the moss on the roof where sunlight doesn’t reach. The seeds are in the windowsills, in the clawfoot tub with as many rings … Read More

A Tale of Two Stacked Ladies

1961. The first photo I ever took. I was much younger than Leonardo in Titanic. But at nine years old I knew this: a cabin-class kid would never make it past a vigilant crew to get to the first class … Read More

Scariest Cave Names Ever

Caves are fissures where evil seeps. They’re named by people who are scared shitless. In Texas, don’t stumble into Toad Frog Falling Floor Fissure, Left In a Lurch Cave, Coon Crap Cave, Putrid Pit, and Big Mutha Caverns. Georgians tiptoe … Read More

Wings Over Columbia

It was the largest crowd ever to invade Memorial Stadium. One autumn Saturday a dozen years ago, thousands of football fans packed together, and their colorful clothing attracted a million Monarch butterflies who rode the breeze across the stadium. From … Read More

But the greatest of these…

Painted olive green, Hartville’s water tower earns style points as it sticks out from the old red brick buildings like a garnish on the swizzle stick in a giant bloody Mary. I know that image isn’t the town’s intent. But, … Read More

Fear and Loafing in St. Jo

The arrow smashed into his jaw, knocking out five teeth. He kept riding. It was his second wound, delivered from his pursuers. He had jerked the first arrow out of his shoulder, and kept riding. Now Pony Bob’s mouth had … Read More