I traveled back to Nebraska last weekend for my 10 year class reunion from Nebraska Wesleyan. When I first moved to Texas I was flat broke and spent a lot of time on the road when heading back to Nebraska because I couldn't afford to fly. I would get in the car, jam to tunes in the tape player, dream up a lot of good stuff, and drive straight through. Times have changed and I can now afford to fly, but something compelled me to get back in the car just like old times and get things figured out.
This time around I was able to meander, and I stumbled upon Lindsborg, Kansas, and took the time to drive through Concordia. Not sure why Kansas was my state to explore, but I'm guessing it's because I've had such a disdain for the plain state since growing up a boundary line to the north. Either way, I was enchanted by these two towns, and on another whimsy could certainly see myself there. Amidst the exploring, the cruise control was set, music pumped through the ipod and I was able, for the first time in a long while, to hear myself think. The only problem was it was really hard to take notes when driving.
The most appealing thing about driving anywhere in the country is that you truly get to see the state of the economy. A profusion of wildfire scars blanketed a large part of Oklahoma. Every other truck I saw was loaded with hay. There is a major drought in the south and the ranchers have exhausted their hay resources. It's now being shipped in from the north. I saw an abundance of hitchhikers. I couldn't help but wonder if it was the economy or just people out wandering the country. In the north, the farmers have seen a lot of rain. They were in the fields, presumably thanking the rain for the abundant harvest, but maybe secretly hoping it wasn't too much. More mom and pop shops were closed while corporations that can undercut prices have popped up in their place. Oil wells, and natural gas lines are scattered across the landscape as we as a country try to find more resources at home. A lot can be seen from the view of the drivers seat.
It was a great trip, full of nostalgia. More thoughts on the 10 year reunion to come. All the photos above were taken from the drivers seat. To see a bigger view with an explanation of each one, visit my flickr page.