So, today, I'm already getting the sense that this trip will experience extremes-- in weather, in social/economic terms, in testing my and Millie's endurance for sitting in a car for 5000 miles!
After thawing our frozen popsicle toes and getting on the road again, we drove through downtown St. Louis. I hadn't been through that route since I was a kid. It was the same spaghetti bowl of crossing highway overpasses that I'd remembered, but what I had not recalled was how poverty-stricken and depressed the town of East St. Louis, Illinois was. It's a rather stark contrast of "have" and "have nots" of our capitalistic society--- only a river and a quick ride over a bridge divides a city of wealth and comfort to a town of poverty and hopelessness.
Our journey through Missouri and Oklahoma was uneventful. We stopped in Oklahoma City for dinner and, little did I know then, we probably should have just stayed in Oklahoma for the night. As I reached the Texas border, it started to mist, and then sprinkle, and then ice, and then (just for fun) some really dense fog to go with the pitch black desolation of the Texas panhandle. I found a semi with really bright tail lights and followed him all the way to Amarillo, white knuckles and all!
Our oasis for the night was the KOA in Amarillo--- electricity (for good heat!), cable TV, wi-fi, and HOT showers....yee haw!!!