IN DEFENSE OF PAPER MAPS

It happened to Talaura and I when we were in Maine. Most of the time we couldn't get a cell signal while we were out driving around and we'd get stuck waiting for google maps to load so we could figure out where the heck we were. We finally gave up and bought an actual map. You know (or maybe you don't), the paper kind of map that teaches you patience when it's time to fold back up. For those of you who have no idea about paper maps, I am real sorry. My dad had paper maps stashed everywhere. He had a large basket stuffed full of them next to his recliner. The glovebox of his truck was like one of those gag peanut cans but with maps instead of springs. Every truck pocket was jammed full with paper maps and the dashboard would also be littered with them. It drove my mother crazy. 

Michael and I had the same problems with cell service and maps while we were in Wisconsin. Also, that area had gotten a storm a few days prior to our visit that caused flash flooding. Roads and bridges had been washed away. So there was this square of odd and confusing detours that took you down tiny roads that were sometimes paved and sometimes gravel. I took our paper map in with us when we stopped at the Northern Great Lakes Visitors Center and the rangers there were able to highlight a route for us that would take us around closed roads. Sunday morning, when we left Randy and Katrina's, we decided to stay on Route 66 as long as we could and avoid the interstates completely. After looking at maps on my phone for about ten minutes, I said "I don't want to do this one my phone!" I was tired and part of my brain was still gunky from all the limoncello I'd had the night before. So, Michael pulled over and bought one Oklahoma map and one Missouri map and then we proceeded to take the longest possible way home.

It was glorious. We traveled along most Route 66 all the way into Baxter Springs, KS and then followed Hwy 69 up through Kansas and on into the city. We stopped at a roadside fruit stand and bought fresh corn and peaches. We wandered around Ed Galloway's Totem Pole Park and admired a corvette club traveling through from Illinois. We saw a bicyclist pulled over near an old ranch. We noticed that the cyclist was prepared for a long haul with large saddle bags and a small trailer. We turned around to check on him because we'd just heard the weatherman say something about a heat index of 102. The cyclist was an older Japanese man who did not speak much english. We made sure that he was OK and that he had enough water and then we left him there wishing we'd asked him way more questions. It's my biggest regret of yesterday. I regret not getting his picture. I regret not finding out where he was on his trip. Did he start in California or Chicago? I really regret not getting his story. 

We travelled on to Baxter Springs where we stopped in at the Historic Vintage Service Station to buy a pin and a car sticker. We spent some time talking with Dean "Crazy Legs" Walker who was manning the station. He told us how to get out to the Rainbow Bridge and about where to see the original tow truck that inspired Mater. We drove out to the bridge and took pictures and then we headed north towards Ft. Scott. We stopped at the Fort and got stamps in our National Parks Passport and all along the way, we discussed the logistics of doing a scooter trip of Route 66. Michael kept talking about needing some sort of support driving team for parts where we can't ride on 66 and how we'd have to do it two trips. I think he's making it more complicated than it needs to be. We pack light, rent a Uhaul to get us to Chicago with the scooters, ride the scooters to California and the rent a Uhaul to drive them back to KCMO. Done. If that guy can fit all the things he needed for the trip into a tiny bicycle trailer and two bags, we can fit everything on the scooters. 

It took us about eight hours to get home yesterday when usually that's about a four hour drive. We were exhausted by the time we made it home and in the back of my head, I was a little annoyed with myself for not pushing to get us home sooner. I'm behind on laundry and the bathroom needs to be cleaned. We both had things to get ready for work the next day. Instead, we moved at a snail's pace.

And we had the best day.