After two and a half days on the road we are safely back in Oakwood. Along the way I learned a few things. First of all, don't try to fight your way up I-35 through the San Antonio, Austin, Waco, Dallas/Fort Worth mess on a weekday. Austin is the worse traffic bottleneck I've ever seen. As one trucker warned us," If yawl take I-35 inta Austin at rush hour, yawl just stay thar forever." Taking no chances we followed the professional's recommendation and took the express tollroad. "Express" was a little misleading. It was an hour of stop, go ten feet, stop, go ten more feet. I cannot imagine what the slow route was like.
Things were not all misery. At lunch time on day two we rolled off the Interstate ramp into the small town of Perry, Oklahoma. Lorna's cousin, Fritz goes on long backroads trips on his BMW in search of real America. As we searched Perry for a likely looking local cafe, Lorna remarked, "Fritz would just love this one." Yes, he would have. We found the Kumback Lunch, serving the people of Perry with food at the same location for 85 years. Just an offhand observation, if you survive in the food business for 85 years, you are doing something right. And they are.
This is Lorna's chicken fried steak. Mine was similar except the whole meal was covered with white gravy.
An observation to be noted later, the people in this cafe were not noticeably overweight.
Later, day two: We made good time across Oklahoma through the Flinthills of Kansas, then east to Kansas City and around, eventually running out of daylight and energy at Cameron, Missouri, where we booked a Comfort Inn for a bed. Remembering the Kumback, we asked the clerk, a frightfully overweight young man, where the locals ate. He directed us to a nearby truckstop, advising us that it wasn't fancy, but the food was good.
Nelly's Restaurant and Lounge was certainly not fancy. Like I told Lorna afterward, it was like walking into a scene of a Stephen King movie. Lit by naked fluorescents, the place was nearly full - locals and truckers - a few very large family groups and a number of couples. It looked like a casting call for Deliverance II. Men in bib overalls with t-shirt sleeves torn off to highlight the tattoos, women in too tight jeans and t-shirts, everyone in dirty baseball caps. Please understand that I am overweight myself and I'd like to think I could be at ease with almost any blue-collar crowd. I was wrong. We were very uneasy. These were not my people. Virtually everyone in the room was extremely obese. Extremely. I had just came from living in a part of Texas the U.S. government considers to be the most overweight county in the nation. Well, they ain't never been to Cameron, Missouri. It was the kind of place where even a discreet photograph would have been unwise. Instead, I leave you with the list of churches in the city of Cameron, Missouri, pop 5000. Look at it. It is an amazing document.
I could live in Perry, Oklahoma.