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!