When Jeffrey came outdoors this morning to load our bags, he found that Sam already had photographed the Sprint 26 and posted his pics on Instagram and other media, complete with hashtags.
Sam is in town to sell car parts at a classic car show. His badge reads, “Haywire & Co. LLC” and “Exhibitor”. Sam’s first language is Farsi. He is very supportive of refugee rights.
David and David brought one of the many classic cars we saw in the neighborhood.
The David on the left was stationed at Niagara Falls during the Cold War, guarding missile sites. He has been in Jeffrey’s native Thousand Islands region and said its beauty is unsurpassed . . . if one can stand cold winters. Friendly people. They listened to why we’ve come to this area. (You already know why.)
We had a headwind all day, and the sun was hot, but occasional clouds provided some relief. The countryside is beautiful, much like the rolling hills, tiny burgs (see Halltown City, population 173), forest and farmland where Jeffrey grew up. But here in the south, there are no birch trees.
What are these large flowers we saw at the edge of pastures? We have no idea. But they are beautiful.
Near Pond Creek, we were passed by a black Camaro convertible with California plates. A man leaped out and pointed his camera at us. It was Freddy Langer, travel editor of Frankfurter Allgemeine, which one might call The New York Times of Germany. At press time, we don’t yet have his photos of us, but we can share some photos of him. He took the Sprint 26 for a quick spin and loved it!
Freddy and Jeffrey talked about their travel experiences, about politics, and about refugee issues. Freddy wondered aloud whether some of the million Syrian refugees now in Germany, might prefer to go home. Jeffrey is sure they would, if they had safe homes to return to. The U.S. doesn’t have a Syrian refugee problem, because our refugee quota is tiny and almost no Syrians have been able to reach our border to apply for asylum. Our comparable problem, on a much smaller scale, is people fleeing persecution (in thousands, not millions) in Central America. So far, despite the efforts of good Americans and of groups like Human Rights First, U.S. policy looks cruel compared to that of Germany. How times have changed.
While Freddy and Jeffrey talked, State Trooper Bryant M. stopped—twice!—to make sure we were OK. (So did a couple of other drivers.)
The trooper answered some of Jeffrey’s questions about Missouri vehicle and traffic law. He warned Jeffrey about upcoming State Highway 96: one lane in each direction, little or no shoulder, 65 mph speed limit. Then he told Jeffrey—in what seemed like a friendly warning—that people in SW Missouri love their guns, and that many people carry them, openly or concealed. Jeffrey said he decided not to carry pepper spray on this trip out of fear that if he sprayed an attacking dog, an armed owner might retaliate. Jeffrey told the officer that he supports the Second Amendment, yet that he doesn’t think ordinary people ought to walk around with pistols in their pockets. (For the record, we have heard gunfire in rural Missouri—probably target practice—but no one has shown us a firearm, and the only threats have come from the occasional badly driven motor vehicle and the ubiquitous unchained dogs.) The trooper and the cyclist wished one another a safe day.
The trooper wasn’t kidding about Highway 96 (old Route 66)!
This does not look like a 65 mph road. The shoulder was impassable for many miles; due to the rumble strip and our 3 wheels, we had to stay left of the white line. Still, most drivers slowed down and/or gave us a wide berth. Eventually the rumble strip disappeared and we moved right.
As soon as we could, we took farm roads, often badly paved, but traffic was sparse.
At the outskirts of Carthage, we interrupted Stephanie’s gardening to ask her about the beautiful houses.
There is a Fortune 100 company headquartered in the area, which may account for the town’s prosperity. Stephanie told us to check out the grand old courthouse, and asked why we are on the road. Stephanie worked for many years for the local sheriff’s office and for county prosecutors; she listened politely; she knows how important it is for people to have lawyers even for small matters, much moreso for life and death issues involving refugees and asylum. She said she will pray for us on the road. Jeffrey thanked her, saying her prayer will be a tailwind.
Sixty-seven miles brought us to this Carthage neighborhood. In more ways than one, we are a long way from NYC. And the way is getting longer.