BACK ON THE ROAD!!! It doesn’t happen often, but some days the world just seems to know what you need. Today was one of those days for me, where I found nothing but hugs, smiles, beautiful country scenery, and happiness. After a MAJOR pit stop in Missouri to visit family (nothing better!), Colby and I are back on the road. It was SO hard to leave my parents — as we all get older every day, each visit is more precious. Being unemployed is not all fun, but it was a real luxury to get to spend time with my family without running around buying/wrapping Christmas presents, with the return-trip clock running the whole time. But no matter how long you’re home, it’s always hard to leave.
265 miles. Gas was $3.42/gallon.
First stop today was exactly what I needed. I spotted a crusty old billboard (you know how I love those!) for Hunt Orchard from I-29, and I headed straight for the exit. Just outside of Amazonia, Missouri, the orchard/market was nearly empty when I pulled up. But a lovely young woman named Samantha ran out of the store to greet me and Colby (OK, mostly Colby). When she saw my camera she wanted a picture of her and her mom…and then her and her dad…and then her and her friend. She was adorable and gave me a much-needed hug when we finally left. You really do meet the nicest people when you travel with a dog.
Hunt Grandview Orchard, 14615 St. Rt. K, I-29 exit 60, Amazonia, Missouri, 816-475-3441
Then while I was photographing an old church, a man and his dogs on a golf cart rode by, cheerfully waving. When he saw my car license he yelled out “I wish they all could be California girls!” (a nod to the Beach Boys song, for you youngsters). More positive affirmations in the town of Rock Port, Missouri, where local pre-schoolers and their teachers were creating “happy” art on the sidewalk…