Weekend Winks – Road Trips and Bridges of Terror

Oh what fun it is to decide on a last-minute road trip for Valentine’s Day. While running around the office Friday, trying to tie up loose ends before heading out of Nashville, I forgot the garbage wasn’t my purse as I slung it up over my shoulder…forgetting it was trash but wearing it like it was Louis Vuitton.

Packed and ready.

Stylish new accessory.

Being that it was Valentine’s Day, I must share my two Iowa loves as they celebrated all things hearts.

Double to love.

Double to love.

While my niece typically doesn’t get to indulge in sweets, Valentine’s Day was an exception and her reaction to dessert went a little something like this…

Nothing but love for chocolate. True woman.

Nothing but love for chocolate. True woman.

As I had received news that family wasn’t doing well in Missouri, I embarked on a solo road trip with my fingers crossed I would be able to find my way in the dark, with ancient MapQuest directions (if you were wondering if anyone in the world uses MQ anymore, old school ladies like me do) as my GPS couldn’t connect when I was driving through large metropolises with whopping populations of 907 folks.

Takin' it back to 2003.

Taking it back to 2003.

I was cruising at high speeds of 45mph when I suddenly hit a bridge. A bridge where I was sure to die on if any other vehicle came from the opposing way. A bridge that I was fairly sure flesh-eating zombies lived under. A bridge that took more than four minutes to drive across with what was sure to be a 500 foot drop into the Mississippi River.

Bridge of terror.

Immediate sweaty armpits and white knuckles.

Arriving shortly after midnight in Joplin, MO, I was greeted by my immediate new friend Lucy.

Sweet Lucy.

Not too sure if she likes the Nashville visitor yet…but cute as hell!

I traveled to visit a family member who’s not feeling so hot these days (one who helped move me to Nashville years ago).

Memories

Then.

current

Now.

As I went to settle into my room, I almost pissed my pants seeing the photo display on the dresser, which reminded me of the game…

Which one of these is not like the other?

Which one of these is not like the other...

Clue. It’s the chick in the ultra fabulous suspenders.

For those of you who don’t remember, Joplin had a mile wide tornado rip through the heart of its city in May of 2011. I was curious as to what the path of the tornado looked like presently, so I was given a tour of the remnants.

Shrapnel

A tree stands with snarled metal.

still stuck

Still stuck after three years.

A lone tree in the tornado zone has been painted honoring the victims, the city heroes and the volunteers who came to Joplin after the devastating storm.

Spirit tree.

Spirit tree.

Memory wall by Conoco

A painted memory wall by a local Conoco station.

What struck me the most was a lone cross standing in a barren field, which is all that is left of what was once a Catholic church. During the tornado, the priest was alone, took cover in a bathtub and all that remained after the storm was the cross and the man of the cloth, who survived.

Lone cross and preacher

Rubble and remnants from the church.

While Joplin is most certainly back up on its feet, seeing the devastation caused by nature can certainly take your breath away. Which is why we needed a Starbucks pick-me-up after the tour of town.

Starbucksing it up.

This man loves black coffee like I love Captain Morgan (and Teddy).

After a few days of fun visiting, it was time for me to trek the eight hours back to Nashville. And I was feeling pretty foxy about being able to drive in the daylight until I saw this….

Uh...Houston

That f’ing bridge in the light of day. Way scarier.

The sun shone brightly on what seemed to be a 400 mile bridge that was about as wide as the doorway into my mini manse.

Roller coaster

This feeling equates to the slow course uphill of a roller coaster…

As I was holding my breath, crossing my fingers, toes and legs again hoping to not encounter any oncoming traffic I was so terrified that naturally I stopped to snap a photo.

No semis please

No semis please. PLEASE!

Upon defeating the bridge for the second time in three days (with the need for more deodorant), I turned my scorn toward the snow still on the ground.

SNow?

Snow? At least it’s sunny.

While being all dramatic on the road, I was quickly put in place by my sister who sent me a photo of their Iowa driveway last night.

Shut the fuck up, Southerner.

Shut the fuck up, Southerner.

Two little furry faces were awaiting my arrival home and I’ll let you guess which one is extremely tired of being a host…

Please. Find him a home.

Please. Find him a home.

While I’m not usually a hearts and flowers, mushy gushy kind of gal here I must say that to have your health, you have everything. With recent cancer diagnoses of a close college friend and a dear uncle in California to the illness invading my Joplin family, it’s never a bad reminder to be thankful for who you have and squeeze them tightly.

Teddy’s almost turning blue right now.

Cheers!

CBXB

CBXB!

39 thoughts on “Weekend Winks – Road Trips and Bridges of Terror

  1. markbialczak says:

    My prayers go out to your Joplin family, CBXB. And I must not forget the pastor, his lonely cross, and all the Joplin folks who weathered the tornado and helped the townspeople get through it. Tell Teddy he doesn’t know how good he has it in the mini-manse. New Cat ain’t so bad, considering, Ted. Have a good rest of your week.

    • Hey Mark! Thanks for the well wishes. It was amazing to see just how wide the path of the tornado was – and to hear stories recounted. Makes us remember to be happy with what and who we have – always! I’m giving Ted your message right now. He just rolled over and sighed. Damn cat!

  2. Will light a candle for the kind gent. At least Tedstar hadn’t got the invader to pack a bag in your absence (or worse)!

  3. Glad you’re back safely to your two kids, best wishes for your ailing uncle; did you wave to the airport yesterday while hub was stuck in Nashville for 5 hours due to some kind of weather thing called SNOW? He was gonna ditch the airport and find his way to Ted and hang out, but the plane finally took off so he could pick up a tug in Florida and head down to Puerto Rico.

    • Oh man! I hate that I missed your hub! I did wave as I drove by the airport on my way back to my mini manse. He is welcome to kill time with Ted (and me if I’m around) anytime. I know a good vegan restaurant! Did he make it to FL?

  4. JMC813 says:

    Important road trip and even more important message. My best to all your friends and family in ailing health. And my best to you as always CBXB.

  5. I haven’t even graduated to MapQuest. I still have my paper map books and foldable maps. I love them. I think it has something to do with being to unfold a map and see what’s nearby that might be worth a side trip.

  6. Nancy Brown says:

    All the best to your family and friends with illness in their in lives. Hate bridges, but tornadoes and cancer even more. Love you!

  7. I hope your family and friends get well soon. XOXO

  8. Robert Szarka says:

    Megan

    Everyone that drives in the big cities of the USA are spoiled with several lane wide roads with a median. I learned this quickly when I moved back to Australia.
    The bridge you crossed is really wide by Sydney terms. Just about all roads here have incoming traffic! Many are only as wide as a one way st., two cars do not fit yet it’s two way! So when a car is coming opposite you have to duck into a gap in the parked cars or you would hit them head on. Many times you are driving along in a lane and the lane you are in just turns into a parking lot. It’s really crazy, Sydney roads would horrify you hahha
    I’m very sorry to hear about your family and the cancer it is a very hard disease to face. Look up on google the guanabana fruit and how many large pharmaceuticals tried to artificially synthesize its cancer fighting attributes. Apparently one of the best cancer killers out there! Worth an investigate anyways. I really hope your loved ones get better rapidly!!

    • So basically you’re saying that if I ever have the pleasure of visiting Australia, you’ll be my personal driver? Jeez, just thinking about the driving over there is giving me anxiety. Maybe I’ll just float my Australia days away on a boat? Deal?!
      Thanks for the head’s up on guanabana fruit. I’m going to look it up. Every little bit helps, you know? Thanks for the well wishes! Great hearing from you, as always Robbie! XOXO

  9. What a journey, especially that bridge in the dark. So glad you made it safely. Really sad that this disease is badly affecting your friends and family. All the best to them. Gotta love those two little munchkins smiles. πŸ™‚

    • Oh those two little munchkins! How they make my day with their chubby little cheeks! Being that I have zero sense of direction heightened my awareness of all things scary while driving in the dark – hence my reaction to that damn bridge! Thank you for the well wishes. We’re all hoping for the best!

  10. vudragovich says:

    Did you hit a growth spurt? In each photo with your uncle (?) you get taller than him…
    And you are lucky a troll did not hop out and demand a toll to cross that bridge πŸ˜€
    But with your slowing down and panicing on the bridge, you would fit right in as a Pittsburgh driver e.g. “OH NO! I am on a solid steel structure that has supported traffic for the last 60 years and crossing water! I am going to die!!!!!”
    (Slow down to 15 mph in a 45 or 65 zone aka real cause of death)
    Next time, try a ferry, it takes longer but is safer (just pickin)

    • HA! I didn’t hit a growth spurt, I found out about high heels!
      I was pretty sure that a troll was going to pop out any moment in the darkness AND the light of day. And while I may be like a Pittsburgh driver, there was absolutely no one else around to upset (thankfully – because we both know I’d have snapped a picture regardless!). I’m going to remember a ferry next time!!!

  11. stylentonic says:

    You Iowa loves are suuuuuuuper cute! xxx

  12. Nothing like a road trip to induce contemplation of what’s important…

    We used to live just south of Joplin. No kidding.

  13. Kaufman's Kavalkade says:

    Converting to Amish? Or just resettling Iowa?

  14. The Regular Guy NYC says:

    I love driving over bridges. So sad what happened to Joplin. My best wishes for your ailing family.

  15. kellisamson says:

    Awesome pics! Love the one of the bridge at night (yes, spooky!), the cats, and all of them in Joplin. The grit and will of the people there is amazing, clearly. Such a beautiful tree. Way to bring the love to the people who really needed it!

  16. SerachShiro says:

    The twins are fabulous πŸ™‚ and you and their parents have to be very proud of them ! I feel very sorry for your family and the other people of Joplin, It is horrible after what has caused that tornado looking to that three ! Teddy maybe had a relax but I guess that he missed you in another way too ! ❀

    • Yes, we are so very proud of the twins! They have added so much joy to our family! The wonderful thing about Joplin is, the ability of people’s spirit to move onward and upward. It’s amazing. And Teddy couldn’t wait to get in bed and snuggle!

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