A ride they won’t forget

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

Souls on sale.

Road trip friends: Amazon is selling Souls Along The Road for lower than it costs the publisher to print it. Order your copy and take an armchair road trip for the price of a bag of peanuts.

Where will America’s new population center be?

Only a few months remain for the little Missouri town with a big name to reign as America’s mean population center. The way a census official described it: if you balanced America’s total population on the head of a pin, … Read More

Smokin’

Coasting into Greentop, I would have bypassed the world’s greatest purveyor of smoked meats, without much more than visual contact with the big red building. But Sam Western had stuck his big barbecue smoker in the parking lot of Western’s … Read More

One of the last little hardware stores in America

Under the only neon sign in downtown Weston, Missouri, is the venerable Sebus Hardware. Your parents remember hardware stores, before the advent of corporate chains. The Sebus claim that “if we don’t have it, you don’t need it” may not … Read More

Outlaws need pants.

Just south of Lawson, in the pastoral countryside, a huge factory, built more than 150 years ago, made pants and sweaters. The factory may have sold pants and sweaters to Harry Truman, who sold pants and sweaters when he was … Read More

Downhill

Fort Leonard Wood demonstrates the discipline you’d expect from a school that cranks out military police officers and crime scene investigators – and engineers, adept at road building. It’s fitting, then, that St. Robert sits on the edge of rugged … Read More

Propeller Adoration

Even from a distance, Conception Abbey peeks above the horizon. The giant 120-year-old brick basilica rises from the pastoral landscape. It’s home to 65 Benedictine monks, who comprise nearly a third of the population of Conception, Missouri. Back in 1893, … Read More

The Chicken or the Egg?

At Boynton, Erifnus swerved to miss the town water pump. There’s not enough traffic through Boynton to justify removing the water pump standing smack-dab in the middle of Route N, protected by heavy gauge railings and reflecting signs. It raises … Read More