But the greatest of these…

Hartville. Welcomed by the café’s official dress code–jeans and ball caps–I felt at home on Rolla Street next to Bullfrogs Pawn, bathed in the aroma of bean soup and the promise of blue plate specials. Betty always dreamed of owning … Read More

Road trip stories

These books are not suitable for everybody. Not good for narrow views or asphalt brains. Keep them away from burning bridges. Avoid gifting to anybody who thinks “my way or the highway” is covered in the Ninth Amendment. They’re not … Read More

Gravy

There’s a sad phenomenon in so many of these precious old towns. Generally, more people lie under the ground than on top of it. I thought back to an experience I had in London. The date was November 11, and … Read More

The Ghost of a Roadside Inn

Took a nap beneath this sign, sharing space with the ghosts of travelers who stopped here long ago to add a sticky chapter to their Route 66 journey. It was a time when cars had crank-down window air-conditioning and tube … Read More

Despite Sheridan, Bison making comeback

General Philip Sheridan’s statue stands on the New York state capitol grounds. Why do we honor this ruthless killer? Missouri’s Highway 13 cuts through a rogue’s gallery of America’s most brazen killers. The most ruthless killer in this area was … Read More

Whistle Stop

The train was late. That didn’t matter to seven men awaiting its arrival. “I’ve learned to be patient,” said Mason, sitting next to me in his prison issue gray trousers and white T-shirt. Earlier that morning, seven inmates had been … Read More

Mass Grave in Jefferson City

This monument stands atop a mass grave in the Jefferson City National Cemetery. Beneath are buried the 147 Civil War Union soldiers killed responding to the Centralia Massacre. “On September 27, 1864, Bloody Bill Anderson’s guerilla gang—including a young recruit … Read More

Pair of Kings

Towering over the Elvis Is Alive Museum, the sixteen-foot plywood Elvis cutout stood resplendent in his high collared jumpsuit and jet-black pompadour, bent toward his interstate fans, holding a microphone to his curled upper lip. As far as plywood Elvis … Read More

Highways Have Souls

Erifnus carried me without radar, sonar, Pixar, Pulsar, Dagmar, Bolivar, Telstar, Avatar, NASCAR or a minibar. We relied on maps. Compared to GPS, maps are lazy and they won’t work on their own, preferring to doze, folded tight as a … Read More