Fayetteville is one of three towns in a row that make up a mini-metro area -- one of the other towns is Bentonville. Home of Wal Mart. Now, I have nothing against Wal Mart, unlike so many of my elitist Seattle friends. They are just another giant store, I don't like shopping in them per se, the quality of stuff isn't that good, and the clientele leave much to be desired (see http://www.peopleofwalmart.com ) But they are a business success and their stores are everywhere in the South. They have a huge campus of buildings in Bentonville, and I motored past it and turned NW and headed up into the lower corner of Missouri. Arkansas is somewhat a dry state, and so right at the state line -- just like between Utah and Nevada with casinos -- is a liquor store. I expect, like the little convenience store in Franklin, Idaho just over the Utah state line, it sells per-capital the most booze like the Idaho store sells lottery tickets.
The Mother Road -- Route 66 -- runs through Joplin, and I decided to take a little stretch of it again, this time going West into Kansas. I have to confess, I toyed with the idea of staying on 66 and going back that way since I enjoyed it so much two years ago heading East, but I wanted to tick off the last two states on my list, as well as ride the Pony Express/Mormon pioneer trail to Salt Lake, and if I missed SLC, there would be hell to pay from the family. But the short stretch I was on reminded me how much I enjoyed that 2000 mile linear ghost town -- whether it's been "restored", like that little Esso station, or left to crumble like this school/church, it's all a reminder of what was.
Kansas City is one major city I've not explored at all, but I think I might like to one day -- especially the giant roller coaster park on the North East side of the city. Why Seattle and the PNW don't have an amusement park has always been a mystery to me, but I digress. On the North side I exited off the dreaded freeway and picked up US 169 for a 50 mile run into St. Joseph. It was a relief to be off the freeway and back onto country roads, winding along the Platte River. The names all started sounding familiar from US and Mormon history and the countryside was quite beautiful. It finally cooled off and the wind died down, and I pulled into St. Joseph about 640pm.
The weather tomorrow calls for a 40% chance of rain as I head up into Iowa and across into Nebraska, but it's also supposed to be cooler which is nice. Time to start heading West and home.