Local flavor. Local stories. Missouri’s back yard.

In the aftermath of the tragic events of 9/11, folks wanted to stay closer to home, closer to loved ones. They didn’t trust travel, especially airline travel, until airlines started offering round-trip fares for fifty bucks. Then, magically, people felt safe to fly again.


On a conference call with state tourism leaders, I suggested a new tack: invite Missourians to “Rediscover Your Missouri.” Sounds simple, but before 9/11 the state spent all of its tourism budget in markets outside Missouri.

Following my own advice, I began a 13-year odyssey. My car and I traveled every mile of every road on Missouri’s highway map, a 250,000 mile journey to discover the real America beyond the interstate. Real people. Obscure places. Forgotten stories. In three books, the journey unfolds in Missouri, but it could be about any state, any traveler who drives into America’s hidden heart.

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