Adventure Begins In -  Wait For It, Wait For It…

Pam Pollock
November 2023

This Spring, Summer and Fall have been busy ones for the Movin’ Out staff.  We’ve attended so many great truck shows, stretching across the USA.  Some of the events required traveling by airplane and those trips were not without challenges and frustrations. I personally had flights being delayed for hours, oversold flights where the airline agents informed the flyers that if someone didn’t give up 6 seats, the plane would not be taking off.  For almost 2 hours, no one budged until the airline upped the ante and offered some serious cash.  I also experienced a last minute gate change – and had to run/sprint/waddle as fast as short legs and bad knees would permit to the other side of the airport. I made it with what I thought was supposed to be 10 minutes to spare but was instead met with the announcement that some of the flight crew did not show up and we had to wait and wait and wait for a replacement crew to be brought in.

When Steve and I were discussing about going to the Guilty By Association Truck Show in Joplin, Missouri, I asked him how long it would take to drive because I was soooo over air travel by then.  Steve consulted his trusty road atlas – yes, he still uses maps – and said it would take us 14.5 hours to drive.  I told him that with both of us taking turns doing the driving, this could be done, especially since it had been taking me 11-15 hours to go anywhere via airplane lately  because of airport check-ins, delays, flight layovers, etc.  He agreed.

We left our house at 4:05  am on September 21st.  Steve started out driving and I snoozed in the passenger seat.  I also ate lots of snacks and surfed the net on my iPhone.  I took lots of photos of the sky and landscape. We crossed over to West Virginia from Pennsylvania and then into Ohio.  I kept asking if it was my turn yet to drive and each time he answered a resounding, “No!” We had lunch at a Culver’s in Indiana and resumed our travels with me again riding shotgun.  Next up was Illinois and yep, you guessed, I was still not behind the wheel of the car.  I definitely did not want to be driving when we came through St. Louis, Missouri and so I was content to snap photos of the St. Louis Arch as we were stuck in traffic.

We have traveled a lot over the years to trucking events and our kids were along for a majority of those trips. The “Old Steve”, who was actually “Young Steve” back then was a fun dude.  He insisted on stopping at every roadside attraction that was advertised on a billboard, no matter how cheesy,  I had high hopes for this 14.5 hour excursion, but alas, “New Steve” has literally become O.L.D. Steve and no long wishes to make detours and side trips.  “Look!” I screeched as we drove across Indiana, “The World’s Largest Pitchfork” is just up ahead!”  The New/Old Steve just kept his eyes on the road and said, “No.”

The aforementioned St. Louis Arch?  Yeah, I was told that I could get photos looking out the windshield because we weren’t stopping.  Missouri has some fascinating – and very strange – attractions.  For at least 150 miles, I saw billboards telling me that I “must visit the Jesse James Outlaw Caves.”  I admit it – I totally wanted to visit those caves – but you-know-who was STILL driving and would not take the cruise control off, nor would he exit the interstate. To console my broken heart, I ate a bag of peach ring candy.  And then I noticed that the billboards were taking on a freaky vibe.  I mean, f.r.e.a.k.y…. They stretched on and on for miles.  “Adventure Begins In – Uranus!”  “Big Fun In Uranus!” Come Explore – Uranus!”  and the freakiest one, “Best FUDGE Comes From Uranus!”  Well, let me tell you, that last billboard hooked me – I mean, who wouldn’t want fudge from Uranus?! Because I was still not driving, I Googled and found out that Uranus is a tourist attraction, visible from the interstate along old Route 66.  Steve did slow down before the exit and half-heartedly said,” You really don’t want to visit Uranus, do you?” So, being a polite person, I replied, “Nah, I’ll just skip Uranus this time.” 

We made it to Joplin, and I said, “Hey New/Old Steve! Did you know that Bonnie and Clyde lived in a garage apartment in Joplin? (My son shared this fact with me!)  And they had a shootout with the Joplin police!  Let’s go see the house!” And yeah… that was a big negatory, good buddy.

The next day was miserable weather in Joplin – thunderstorms and lightning and we had over 750 trucks to photograph.  We were on the parking lots of the Joplin 44 Petro and 4 States Truck before 8 am.  Did I mention that I forgot to pack my rainboots and was wearing breathable tennis shoes?  Do I even have to tell you that my socks and shoes were soaked within mere minutes and that I spend the next 7 hours and 55 minutes sloshing around with wet feet? You can read about GBATS in this very issue, and even with the lousy weather, it was truly a fantastic show!

Too soon, it was time for us to start home.  We left our hotel at 3:39 am and spoiler alert, I was not driving yet again!  So, I did more snoozing.  It was still dark out when I looked up and saw a billboard that proclaimed, “So much jerky, you will go blind!”  It took me a few minutes to grasp what that meant – and then I giggled and chortled like an immature 13 year old.   Dang, Missouri, you do have a warped sense of humor – and I’m here for it!

I dozed some more and for some cosmic reason, I felt compelled to open my eyes and dead ahead, in all its illuminating, neon glory was the mother of all kitschy billboards – the one, the only URANUS FUDGE!  I moaned, I screamed, heck, I even caterwauled!  My spouse was truly alarmed and holding tight to the steering wheel, he cast scared eyes at me and implored, “What?  What is wrong?”  Half sobbing, I sadly yelled, “I can’t believe it, I just missed Uranus – again!”

And New/Old Steve just shook his head in utter disgust and kept on driving.  And he drove and he drove, and he drove until we arrived home.