Tag Archives: kansas

The River’s Deep and the River’s Wide

For those of you just tuning in, or otherwise not absolutely riveted by each and every post on this blog, this is a part of the continuing series of posts about a trip I took across the country some 12 years ago or so.  Stimulating, yes?  More so than a slideshow at your neighbors’ house circa 1978? Doubtful.  Anyway, there are more posts under the category “LA Freeway” if you want to know what has preceded this.

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I decided before I saw it that I would not spend the night in Kansas.  There may be some wonderful people in the Jayhawk State, but it was a good call not to seek them out.  Having extended my stay in Colorado, I had to haul ass if I were to make it home on schedule.  Why being home on schedule was important is a detail which eludes me.  It seemed significant at the time.  So, I rushed through Kansas taking but the lone picture you see above and buying a shitty Counting Crows live album in a Wal-Mart in Russell.

I happen to like Counting Crows (no “the” correct?) but this album didn’t do it for me.  Something about Adam Duritz is best captured in the non-improvisational state of the studio.  Russell was no great shakes either, although no town should really be judged by the quality of the Wal-Mart out on the Interstate.  Rolling in and then directly out of Kansas City was kind of a bummer though because there seemed to be a lot more to that city than I had suspected.  Blind Will McDowell, the famous bluesman from Troy, NY, is now based in KC, so perhaps I will check him out there at some point.

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It’s funny how you can be in a place, such as Kansas City, and believe you have no connection to it yet find that there is only one degree of separation.  After covering Colorado Springs to St. Louis in 15 hours, I was not up for another slog of Interstate miles on the following day.  As soon as I could, I found a highway that crossed from Missouri into Tennessee.  This crossing was so far out in the boondocks that I was not sure if anyone had ever really lived there.

As it turns out, this was native ground to the Subdude.  I turned left off of the Interstate to cross the Big Muddy.  Had I turned right, I would have almost instantly been in Hayti.  At the time I did not know the Subdude nor had I heard his multitude of stories about growing up in a slowly dying corner of the Mizzou panhandle.  Funny what a small world it can be sometimes.