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Updates and Ancestry

I do have another trip in the works, but I had to get some stuff done to my car first (and almost ended up buying a new one in the process...I came "this" (mimicking a teeny tiny little finger squeeze) close! In the end though, the vehicle I was looking at (the same as mine, only newer and a couple of steps up), wasn't silver, so I passed. Yes, I am THAT shallow that the color of my vehicle matters that much, but I do have several conditions that would make my life hell if I wasn't happy with the color of my car, so I guess it's not all about selfishness. They are, however, looking for a silver one, so it ain't quite over with yet.

Anyhoo, since I was waiting on my awful dealership's service department to "fit" me in to their busy schedule of overcharging and fixing things that probably weren't broken in the first place (the sales department is great...service sucks), I broke down and got the Ancestry.com kit with the three month subscription and have been working on that ever since. The Blair line has been easy...Scottish history is easy to document, so I've got that back to the 13th Century and am still going, it's the rest of the family I'm having issues with.

But, on the Blair side, I hit my 8th great grandfather (which I knew was the personal priest to Robert the Bruce), but my 9th great grandfather was apparently the true inspiration for a romance novelist named Elizabeth Laird (some distant relative of mine), so I bought that book (haven't read it yet and a bit scared to read a romance book involving a grandfather, but oh well). After that, then I get into the Lords and Lady's of the family and I found some Stuarts in there (although I haven't dug into that branch yet, but I know where that line leads, ha!).

I was getting annoyed by all the date descrepancies, but then I remembered the Julian to Gregorian calendar change, so now I'm not sure if I should try to figure out the real dates, keep both dates, or what. I think I'll just keep both dates and let sleeping dogs lie. Just trying to keep up with what I'm finding, plus adding it to my own family tree software isn't making me happy and is wearing me out (and I don't like how it imports from Ancestry...I'm using MacTree and I really like it, but Ancestry formats wrong, and I can't have wrong formatting).

I figure that my DNA results won't come back before my 3 month trial is up, so I'll have to continue on a few more months, which is fine because I'm pretty obsessed right now. There are so many lines to follow and I don't want to be restricted to just one. I want to follow every branch I can. It's all pretty interesting. It does feel weird to get information from other family members trees. It feels like I'm leeching off of their work, but I'm finding issues there too and I'm having to double-check it all (but again, once I remembered the Gregorian calendar issue, that solved a lot of problems).

Have any of you guys done any geneology research? How did you find the best way to do it? Do you have any interesting stories? I figure my DNA will get me the interesting stories since not a single relative has reached out to me (yet...mine are the type that would need proof of who I am...my Asperness comes from that Blair line). Do you guys have any tips for me? Honestly, I'm probably just finding another way to avoid editing videos, but this is really exhausting stuff!

Trips for YouTube Part 4 (I think I'm just collecting vids now...)

The last trip to Kansas I took was a long one. The longest trip I've taken in a while. Turns out, Ritalin was apparently my key to driving success before. Now that I'm no longer taking it, 27 hours in a car is just WAY too much for me. Even two hours from home, I was looking for a hotel! But I did make it home (eventually), although not without some MAJOR issues!

I had everything packed and ready, alarm set, but I hit the snooze way too many times and over slept. So, once again, I didn't get out the door until almost 5:30 am. The road reminded me a lot of driving through Alabama, fog everywhere:

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But the towns in Missouri are the same small Southern towns we have just about everywhere here:

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The plains did remind me a lot of the movie Twister, even though I was still in Missouri:

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I did find one of the few rare bathrooms of the trip a bit on the weird side...it was pretty on the outside, but the inside had this huge exhibit about the history of the plains. Nothing on the inside but toilets and a massive exhibit! I felt weird walking around taking pictures considering it was so close to the bathroom, but oh well!

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Bit of backstory, the day before, I got a bit paranoid and checked the air in my tires. They were fine, but I topped them off just to be safe. Now, back to the current location...Ossawatamie, Kansas. By the time I arrived on this road (creepy, right?):

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...my tire light was on, my gas light was at --- miles left before I was completely empty (I have NEVER gone that low) and I had no clue where the nearest gas station was! Thankfully, I made it to a gas station, but it was the first gas flub of the day (oh yes, there was more than one). The pumps were labeled so weird, one gold and one yellow, both labeled Octane 87 (which isn't right)! Gold typically means E85, which my vehicle doesn't take, so I crossed my fingers, chose the yellow, and hoped for the best. Whatever it was, it was almost $5.00 a gallon! Regular 87 Octane is about $2.87/81 down here.

On the tire front, I looked at the station, but it was VERY crowded, so I could tell they were OK, I probably just overfilled them (which also causes my light to come on). I thought I'd go back to the other scary road (it was a VERY specific location I wanted to go to), and just let some of the air out, but again, foiled in my plan.

So, where does that brick road in Kansas lead to you ask? Apparently, an old U.S. Postal Service Psychiatric Hospital! Yes, apparently the Postal Service has their own (or had their own) asylums! It is still active, but not in the same capacity. I wanted to go down to this old abandoned bridge called Asylum Bridge (which is where I was going to check my tires), but there were people there. I did get some pictures of the hospital though.

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The part of the hospital still active:

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By the time I got to Lawrence, Kansas, I think I kind of realized that I'm filming more video than I am taking pictures. I just don't have a lot to show you guys. But honestly, I think I could live there! It was a great little town! This shows NOTHING, but here is the downtown area:

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And there was even a purple house just for me (although, in all actuality, I HATE Victorian architecture and probably couldn't live in a 100+ year old house)!

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And since I was on a bit of a Supernatural tour, I did also go to Stull Cemetery (and got pictures of it). I went to the other Stull Cemetery too, but I couldn't get close to it because of gates. I didn't take pictures though, only video, but I do have pictures of the "popular" Stull:

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Of course, as I got close to Witchita, typical Southern weather popped up:

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I wanted to get out and take pictures of the capital, but I was to chicken (shock):

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After that, I was headed way out of the way to a place called "the top of the world" (which I couldn't figure out how Kansas, the flattest place in the U.S., could even have), but I found another place that was an overlook of sorts that saved me quite a bit of time, so I stopped. When I pulled in, there was one car, but almost immediately, another car pulled in, two parents and a teenage girl, and they practically ran up on top of me and none of them had masks on! I literally said "WOAH" out loud because the girl was skipping right towards me! I must have said it loud enough because the mom grabbed her daughter and pulled her back. But they still walked right up to the plaque I was reading (there were 12 plaques around the area I was at, they could have picked any of the other 12). I immediately walked to the next plaque, and they followed right behind me! I left the plaque area and headed to the overlook. I had been waiting because the lady that was there when I got there was taking her time enjoying it and I didn't want to interrupt her, so I just stood back until she was done and it was my turn. It wasn't the "top of the world" obviously, but it was a nice view:

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Looking back towards the plaque area...the family left and didn't come to the overlook. I don't know why. By the time I had my panic attack when I got back to the car, the parking lot was completely full, but it was already getting full here:

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Kansas as a lot of towns named after big cities, but I thought it was neat how Manhattan, Kansas displays their city sign:

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Another sign I've been lacking in the photo department, I passed the world's largest ball of some weird kind of twine, but I didn't stop...I need to do better with photos!

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By the time I got to the Geographic Center of the U.S., I had to pee REALLY bad. I hadn't seen a bathroom in FOREVER! I also needed gas again, and again, no gas stations! But I decided to go ahead and walk around.

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I started to take a lot of pictures, probably the most I'd taken all day, filming all the while, I even posted a selfie to Instagram (yes, you read that right...a selfie...although I was also watching a bug, so I wasn't eyeing the camera right). But then, yet another disaster, I tripped and fell (but hey, I actually took a picture on my way down, so I haven't completely lost the photo gene!). I fell really hard, so I kind of sat there for a minute, gaining my composure, glad no one else was there, and deciding I was done. I got back to the car and realized I had lost my reading glasses, so I had to go back and find them. There was a little chapel there, and you guys know I'm not religious, but I stuck my head in there and said, "hey, go easy on me please, I can't take anymore today, thanks!".

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Even though I was low on gas, REALLY had to pee after falling, and had even stepped foot in a church, I still had a bucket list item to cross off...marking off another state on my scratch off map. I was less than 10 miles from Nebraska. Obviously, by the time I got to the sign, there was a truck parked in front of it, so I couldn't stop (shock):

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I decided to go the further 2 miles into Red Cloud, Nebraska to see if they had a gas station...they didn't. There was an original Burlington railway station there, but since every side road was gravel and I REALLY had to pee, I gave up on that and turned around, but it was a cute town (I tend to find abandoned towns cute, is that weird?):

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I went back to Lebanon, Kansas (another Supernatural fictional town, but a real Kansas town), and this is the weirdest gas story of all. I pulled into the station the wrong way (which I have NEVER done in the history of any automobile I've ever had), so I had to circle around. Then, once again, I ended up pumping $5 gas (even though it was labeled $2.81...I still don't get that). I asked for a receipt, but it didn't give me one, it said I had to go inside to get one, which was fine because I had to pee, but the door was locked! I think I got gas at a closed station! The lights were all off inside, so I have no clue how I was able to pump gas! I took a picture of the pump so I had proof of what I pumped (in case I got ripped off), but me and my full bladder got back in the car and hit the road again).

At this point, I was really done. I spent hours and hundreds of miles looking for a bathroom, only to not finding one, or chickening out at the ones I did find (because they were scary). By the time I got to Kansas City, Missouri (which is a pretty dangerous town), it was night and this was one of the last pictures I took:

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What ended up happening, just as the sun was rising, I pulled over on a gravel road and "natured it". I haven't done that since I was a kid! I still don't know how I didn't get caught, but my god did I feel better and I was ready to get home! I even got to lt some of the air of my tires at that point.

All things considered, even though this trip had more bad things happen than the last trip, it was still WAY more enjoyable and I had a good time. I just need to find a better way to sort out bathroom breaks and figure out gas breaks. There are literally hundreds of miles of nothingness in Kansas without gas stations, so I need to remember that for next time!

Before I can go anywhere again though, I have to get my oil changed and get some little things fixed in my car. But I have been taking "after work" trips to local state parks. You guys know I'm terrified of trees, especially forests, but I'm realizing that, after I have a miserable horrible work day, going to a scary place is distracting me from the hell of my day. It's a strange situation, but I've done it like four times now. I'm filming it, but I keep forgetting my camera. I probably should carry my old point and shoot in my purse for such occasions, so I can at least still take pictures.

Anyway, these are the four big trips I've taken so far. I'm planning a huge trip to Massachusetts in the fall, but I have a few others in the works as well. I just have to get my car worked on first. I have to keep it in tip-top shape so I don't get stranded in the middle of nowhere (because I often really end up there!).

Thanks again guys for all your support, and hopefully I can edit these and have enough of a stash built up because, since I don't get to travel that often, I won't be able to keep a routine YouTube schedule on what little bit I have so far anyway, and they say the key to success is a routine schedule.

Part 4 is coming, but...

Things haven't been great in Keebles World. In fact, they've been really bad. I honestly don't ever say the phrase "things can't possibly get worse" because I know what karma comes with that, but I must be saying it subconsciously or something, because the ramifications have been kicking me in the behind every single day. I may get a reprieve for a day or two, but then then everything kicks back in with a vengeance. I believe it’s official…work is trying to kill me. I don’t even know how to handle that situation at all anymore. I just cry all the time. Every single day is just a test to see how much closer I can come to sheer madness. I don’t think they are doing it on purpose, that would mean they actually care.

I thought I had a reprieve on the horizon, the old California job offer reappeared at my absolute lowest point, and I was SOOO excited, especially since I could stay here and work from home for as long as I wanted (or move to Cali, my choice) even with the same Cali pay, but I haven’t heard a word since.

Granted, there are some behind-the-scenes issues on their end that are delaying things, but it feeds back to one of my fears from the first go-round that kept me from taking the job, I’m not truly sure of their commitment level. The first time, all this happened way too fast, this time, it’s not happening fast enough. I’m starting to worry it may not happen at all, especially now that my hopes are up. I do have trust issues though and patience definitely isn’t one of my virtues.

On top of all that, my therapist had an emergency that is going to keep her out until September, and they have placed me with someone who isn’t versed in my case, isn’t an Asper specialist, and seems more interested in talking about herself than listening to me (although technically I’ve only had one session and I don’t like change, but I also get a good feel for people from the get-go, so I’m sticking by my initial impressions). It’s like starting all over again, only this time, I’m not in a comfortable, or safe, situation.

My med nurse keeps trying to shove more pills down my throat, which I am actively fighting. Obviously, as I have told them many, many times, the meds don’t help. Meds are for moods and anxieties caused by chemical imbalances. My moods and anxieties are caused by my different wiring. Meds can’t fix wiring. Sure, they can keep certain neurons from firing, but that screws with the function of my brain which screws with me, and I don’t like it. Plus, she's talking hospitalization, not here, but at the state hospital. Yeah, no.

So, where does all this lead? Do I just keep toughing it out hoping that California comes through in the nick of time? I’ve been looking elsewhere, but the job market is scarce for someone like me with no real marketable skills. I could request a medical leave from work from my med nurse on the grounds of mental health. Wouldn’t that make work happy? But that could jeopardize any future job offers. It’s like I’m just stuck in an opened grave, with the dirt falling on me very slowly from above, and I can’t get out. I’m just waiting to be buried alive. Every so often, I get this rush of adrenaline and try to dig my way out, but then it rains, making all the dirt muddy and slimy. I just fall back down to the bottom and sink, waist deep, unable to get out again. I feel like I’ll never stop fighting to get out though, I’m just not built for anything but that survival instinct. Whoever is throwing that dirt down though is just determined to keep me in there at all costs.

I hate that my blog has become a "Debbie Downer" world. I wanted it to be lighthearted and fun. Full of cross-stitch and Disney and pups and travels, but still with a glimpse into what life as an Asper was like, since I got diagnosed not long before I started my blog. The more I learned about myself, and my condition, along the way, the more I shared, in hopes of helping other adults. But these past couple of years have seemingly become so full of anguish and fear, partly because of my 2017 experience in the Hotel California, but also because of my job (one of the few spaces that was always safe has become toxic and almost unbearable, but I have to tolerate it, at least for now). This wasn't the part of my life I wanted to share, but I feel like I need to because it's not all sunshine and rainbows being on the Spectrum.

I still have that ever present hope gene that things WILL get better and I can fix this somehow, so I will keep working to do so. I will try to limit the negative posts as much as I can, but I will also try to keep you updated because I know there are some of you out there that care and I don't want you to worry. You guys know I'm not religious, but I know there is a saying that god won't give you anymore than you can handle...well the dude must think I'm all the Avengers put togther or something! He needs to let off, seriously! If it's motivation to get me moving in a certain direction, I'm doing my Asper best, but be patient...it's not as easy for me to make rash judgements on huge life decisions or make changes to long-held routines as easily as it is for a neurotypical person! I need more time, not more pushing!

Anyway, I've rambled enough, I'll leave off here for now. I finally have the last Kansas trip pictures edited, and I'll get them uploaded in a blog post soon. Wish me luck on the job and that I hear something ASAP! I have been doing some weird things and posting them to Instagram. I still can't eat out or go in a store, but I've been walking in the woods? Yeah, my brain is going haywire! There aren't a lot of posts, but I'm working up to things slowly. I'm also trying to stay away from stories over there because I don't want there to become a here. So thanks to everyone for supporting me and sticking by me, hopefully, all this negativity will go away soon!

Trips for YouTube Part 3 (and yes, STILL no vids!)

#4 - The one that partially got away and has a bit of a backstory...

It happens to every YouTuber, you film a video and you lose the footage. Well, my excuse isn't that good and I still haven't posted anything to YouTube yet (but we'll get to that). This trip wasn't like any of my others...it wasn't planned, I decided last minute not to go, then ended up going anyway, I ended up adding more stops...stops that were bad for me (and I knew it). It was a total cluster-fudge and, as per usual, it's a LONG story!

The first part of the trip was good. When I was a baby, for at least the second year of my life we lived in a tiny town in Southeast Arkansas called Stuttgart. My birth parents were still married and, even though you aren't supposed to have memories from that age of life, I do...two to be specific. One involves our car breaking down and we had to walk home along the railroad tracks. I remember my parents fighting (my dad blamed my mom), but I also remember riding on my dad's shoulders (because I was too small to walk, let alone walk along the tracks. As they fought, it was if my dad and I were in this whole other space, just having a total blast! It was a very weird situation, but I was remember this with the memory of an Autistic infant, so who knows the real story...neither parent tells the same story, so my memory is all I have.

For some reason, I decided I wanted to visit Stuttgart, the home of my one happy memory of my parents being married. I wanted to look around and try to find the house we lived in as well. Apparently I cried a lot while we lived there (I found out why, but I'll get to that). My father worked in a furniture store that burned down, and I wanted to see if I could find that too, but we are talking like 49 years ago, so I had to text my mother (who, at the time, was on her way to Pennsylvania with my aunt, neither one I'm technically speaking to at this time, so that made the texting conversations "interesting").

I asked where the furniture store was...mother couldn't remember. I asked where our house was, she could only remember it was a block away. I asked her the name of the furniture store...she couldn't remember. I was getting VERY frustrated. But with the help of Google, I found a document that someone wrote on the history of the town that told about the burning of the furniture store (actually there were two that burned due to a gas explosion), so I had names and then she remembered which it was. The paper even gave me the location! Once I Googled it, the lots were still empty, so I could street view the block over and I IMMEDIATELY found the house and I screenshot a pic to my mother, who concurred I had the right house. She told me there was no way I could remember that because I was only 2, but I did, go figure!

This is the point where it gets weird...she reitterated that I cried the entire time we lived there, and it wasn't hard to find out why...next door was a church, and three doors down on the other side was a frickin funeral home! Seriously? Once I told her that, she just texted, "well, makes sense". Gee, thanks for ruining me in my formative years mother, make your spirit sensitive infant child sleep three doors down from dead people!

So, the day of the trip, I chickened out and went back to sleep. I woke up about 8, but I couldn't let it go, so I got up and made myself get ready. By 9:15, I was in the car (I had everything ready to go the night before, so there was only me to get ready). But I sat in the driveway for a while debating what to do. At 10:22 a.m., I left home. That was my first bad move.

Obviously, since I didn't plan this trip out well, I didn't look at the map for days on end like I normally would, so I didn't have a good plan in mind, and I DEFINITELY didn't have the route down. When I realized I was in West Memphis, I was panicking BIG TIME!

For those that don't know, there are two bridges in Memphis that cross the Mississippi River, one that goes over the I40 towards Nashville (we call it the old bridge) and one that goes over I55 towards Jackson (aka the Hernado Desoto...or the new bridge for us old people). Well, the "new bridge", which was built in the late 60's, is now unpassable (and closed) due to a broke beam that makes it structurally unsound. DISASTEROUS to all traffic coming in and out of Memphis, especially since the old bridge (build in the early 50's) can't handle all the traffic. It's been a logistical nightmare ever since since Memphis is a MAJOR transportation hub for land, sea and air, so me heading straight toward that mess scared the life out of me! There is literally no other way to get across the Mississippi other than 100 miles North or 150 miles South.

Luckily, it turned me down the Little Rock exit before the bridges, but not so luckily, every single trucker this side of the Mississippi was also going the same way! It was bumper-to-bumper semi's and I was MISERABLE! I normally prefer interstate driving, but I couldn't stand this, so the first side road that got me to heading South, I took it! Had I studied the map more, there was a MUCH easier way to go. It should have been a two-hour drive. It took me two-hours to get out of West Memphis in mid-day Saturday traffic!

By the time I got to the regular road, I was already a nervous wreck, but I continued on. The scenery was bland, but the further South I went, I started to understand something that I've been complaining about for years about people who make fun of Arkansas...maybe not all of it is like where I live and Arkansas is a little "worse for wear". I'm always very defensive of this state for someone who hates it, but I guess I've never been to the Southeast much. Stuttgart wasn't that bad, but, for the first time ever, I was a bit more scared than I normally am. I found the places I was looking for when I got to Stuttgart and took pictures (and I'll post all those below instead of in my normal format).

I was driving past the house a few too many times, and they were apparently preparing for wedding at the church, so I was attracting attention, so I pulled over and started talking to a man who was staring at me. Yes, let that soak in a bit...I STOPPED AND TALKED TO SOMEONE! I managed to mask my way through it very well, but when I got back in the car, I barely managed to control myself before having a total panic attack. I'm surprised I held it as long as I did!

Now, here is where I screwed up in EVERY sense of the word. I decided to go to West Helena where the next Mississippi River crossing is, mainly to see what the next bridge actually looks like (because I haven't technically ever crossed it to my knowledge, and, I was getting annoying because the news outlets kept calling it the Lula crossing and Lula isn't even close to that bridge and I wanted to prove it to myself and my (future) viewers!

Again, the trip across was fairly uneventful, but the areas kept getting worse and worse. I was definitely out of my element and I knew it. I go through Mississippi ALL the time and have been through most of it, but apparently not much of Midwest Mississippi. When people I work with complained that Mississippi is the state they are most scared of, I never understood that. Now I do. I would go through heavily populated areas and hear very close gunshots, I could feel the unwelcomeness of my presence (and race wasn't a factor...some towns were white, some were mixed and some were black). The poverty level was astonishing and heartbreaking, but I dare not stare, I just kept driving.

But then I made another HUGE mistake...by the time I crossed the Helena bridge, it was pushing 5 p.m. Vicksburg, Mississippi is a place I've been several times and HATED it every single time, but I've NEVER gone alone. It's like Gettysburg and Pigeon Forge had a baby in the poorest part of the South, so it's a HUGE Civil War battleground, memorial, burial ground, on the river, but with tourist attractions all over every square inch of it, but there is still a good chance you could get killed at any moment because of the crime rate. At least Gettysburg is respectful enough to keep the town away from the battleground! I don't know what made me decide to make Vicksburg where I crossed back over the river to this side, but I still dread that decision. I ended up on a street that looked like a mix of Bourbon Street in New Orleans and Charleston, South Carolina, going 5 mph, bumper to bumper, drunk people everywhere, crossing from bar to bar, at 8:45 p.m. I just wanted to go home and couldn't get out!

I don't know how many of you have been to a battleground or cemetery of any kind, but a lot of times the feeling of not being able to escape is often felt, even by those who have no wu-wu vibes by nature. It took me well past dusk to get out of Vicksburg and get across the bridge, only to end up in Louisiana, back into more scary towns that you see on those videos about the worst towns in America. I wanted to go as far as Monroe, LA and cut straight up, but I couldn't take it anymore. I decided to take the worst route possible that would get me back to the interstate in Pine Bluff, then to Little Rock. But again, the night (and my GPS) had other things in store because I ended up going straight through both the middle of both Pine Bluff and Little Rock (as well as North Little Rock)...the latter being at 11:30 p.m. on a Saturday night! How I didn't get shot is still a miracle!

Needless to say, it almost put me off trips altogether, but I have since taken another one (and that's a WHOLE other story), but there is one more snag in this tale...as I was loading the videos from the trip after this one, which was HUGE and took all my memory cards, I reorganized all my vids, so that, when I get ready to edit, I'll have them all in groups. But then I discovered that, the three memory cards from this trip were the first half, the BAD half, and then the dark going home half where things started to get quiet. Apparently, I forgot to copy over the BAD half! I remember thinking as I was taking pictures, "well, no need to get this, I'll have the video!"...guess that was moot. And since I reused the card, no recovery software will work. Ugh, just ugh. It happens to every YouTuber, and I still haven't become an actual YouTuber yet! More Ugh!

Oh well, it's all over now, so on with the pics! Here's where I started to get really uncomfortable, when the world started to look like this everywhere...

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The little Main Street of Stuttgart, the empty lot of the furniture stores, and my parents poor house (in more ways than one)

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The HELENA BRIDGE (not LULA) that crosses the Mississippi River

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Good thing I'm obsessed with water towers, or I would have completely missed the fact that I drove through the birthplace of Kermit the Frog! I had no clue at the time!

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The Vicksburg version of Bourbon Street

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Part of a Civil War Cemetery next to a red light with a gas station and a strip mall on the right-hand side

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Crossing the Mississippi back onto "my" side...and even this far South, they had signs about the Memphis Bridge being out (and all the way through Little Rock as well)

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Took this right before I heard a gunshot...I was gonna stop because I didn't think anyone was around and I liked the dichotomy of the newish Chase sign and the dilapidated building, I was apparently wrong about the alone part because I heard another gunshot just as I got past it.

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If I didn't need to use the bathroom so bad, I wouldn't have stopped, but I have to say, I don't think I have ever been so happy to see this sign in my ENTIRE life, and I still hadn't gone through Pine Bluff and Little Rock yet! But alas, this was also the end of the pics (because I thought I would have plenty of video).

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And that's it! Trip #4, the one that almost stopped them all! But wait for it, there is a trip #5 and it was HUGE! I really need to learn to edit videos, but now I have an issue with my old Lightroom not working anymore, so I also can't edit the pictures from that trip (hence the delay with posting this trip). I'll figure it out if I have to pull out my old Sony laptop! Which format do you guys prefer? Pictures with the story, or afterwards? Let me know!

Trips for YouTube part 2 (still no vids though)

#2 - Kansas

It obviously has been a LONG time since I've been on a "real" road trip...COVID has seen to that. Even now, I'm still not going in stores, still not eating out, still not going anywhere but work, but I needed to take a road trip for my own sanity. I miss my trips because they are my "thinking time"...the time I use to clear my head.

After the first cemetery visit though, I was more than leary because it wore me out both physically and mentally and the thought of travelling a few hundred miles was definitely pushing it. I had been buying snacks and drinks (I have quit drinking Cokes, I'm still not sure of the reason why, I just decided to stop), with the intention of going to Kansas every weekend, but weekend after weekend passed and I never went...I just kept eating the snacks at home and drinking the water and the bottled unsweetened tea. Most weekends, I would leave work early on Fridays with the intention of getting up early on Saturday, set the alarm for 3 am for me to get up, but I would just turn it off and go back to sleep, and spend the weekend on the couch doing nothing.

Finally, a few weeks ago, the alarm went off and I turned it off, but I had another one set for 3:30 a.m. This one I played the snooze button game with till about 4:30 a.m. and just decided enough was enough and dragged my butt off the couch and started to get ready! From that moment on, it was like old times. Everything was as methodical as the trips I used to take, until I got in the car and then there was a bit of a panic attack moment, but by 5:45 a.m., I was heading out of town and up into Southern Missouri!

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You guys know how I feel about interstate walls, but unfortunately, there wasn't a lot of interstate roads on this trip, so I had to make due with granite:

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I know she's a bit of a hot topic subject now, but I stopped at the grave of Laura Ingalls Wilder, not because I'm a fan of her books or Little House on the Prairie, but because I spent countless hours in my Grandmother and Aunt's house watching that show over and over and over again while my Aunt gave a play-by-play because she had probably seen it as many times as I've seen Once (don't get me started on them and the Waltons or Walker Texas Ranger).

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And, I did opt for her grave instead of her house and museum. The graveyard was weird...pretty much surrounded by houses on three sides, except for a bus garage and an open field on the fourth side. I was also surprised at the number of tombstones vandalized and toppled over, especially in a residential neighborhood:

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It didn't take me long to hit Route 66 though...I've now been on Route 66 in five States, so I need to add to that total!

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At that point, I was starting to feel like I was in the movie Twister...the scenery really looked like tornado alley!

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I went to Carthage to go the battlefield:

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But they were doing some road construction and I was trying to avoid humans, so I ended up going on to Kansas into Galena and ended up at Schermerhorn Park, playing by the water for quite a while (I'm still not sure why). I did collect a couple of rocks for my collection, so it wasn't a total waste of time.

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I probably should have looked up who Schemerhorn was (and will probably do for my video), but I also drove by his house, which, although in a total state of disrepair, was quite beautiful, in a weird way:

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Then it was time to find the Cars stuff, although some of it was a bit cheesy:

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I stayed at the Luigi's place for a while, even walking out in the road to get a picture of the Route 66 road sign in the middle of the road:

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But then I noticed this truck drive past me three times, another truck slowed down to an almost stop and stared at me, and someone else pulled in, so I figured it was time to leave. But next door, there was this very house of the seven gables/serial killer house, so I had to get a picture of it too (well, actually I got several).

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Then it was on to Baxter Springs, Kansas...the place where I used to buy lottery tickets all the time. I had a particular gas station that me and my ex-best friend used to go to, but they had a tornado that wiped it off the map, so I needed to find another place. In the process of looking for one on Google Maps, I found another Civil War site called...wait for it...Fort Blair!

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I wanted to go up and see it, but it was literally just in a town square and there was no place to park at all. It was completely surrounded by houses and even the side of the road didn't support parking. I circled it about ten times until I felt like I was drawing attention to myself taking pictures out my window, and I just had to leave. I found another oddity on the map, which was called the Rainbow Curve Bridge. It was the last remaining march arch bridge on Route 66, and I had the run of the place to myself, so I walked around for a good 20 minutes just taking pictures and video.

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I had several other stops on my map, but it was getting late and, now that I'm not on Ritalin anymore, it's a LOT harder to drive for 33 hours straight, so I had to narrow it down. And, some of the places had a lot of people at them, so that prevented me from stopping as well. The next (and final) stop ended up being a marker that was supposed to be at the Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas border...but it took me FOR-EV-AH to get to it! I'm not sure if it was just poor reception and the GPS kept losing connection or if Oklahoma is just that backwoods, but there were times I got genuinely scared I was gonna get Hills Have Eyed! Eventually though, I did find the marker, and, although I got pictures of all three sides, I couldn't wait to get out of Oklahoma (where the wind comes sweeping through the tree-covered roads that creep me out more than anything else in the world and serial killers wait to eat your guts)...here is "my" side:

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That was probably the most exposed I felt the entire trip...it was on the main stretch of road, there was a liquor store across the street, and a reservation just down the hill. I had a LOT of attention standing there taking pictures, so I was in and out pretty quickly. Then I figured I'd better start heading home soon so I wouldn't be driving too much in the dark. I have been on that road dozens of times before (once I got back to the main road), but I swear I have NEVER noticed the part of the road where I'm literally going under rock like this!

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And it was a common theme a lot of the way home!

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I have never understood why they need to dynamite their way through rock to make a road...just lay it on top of the mountain! I drive through mountains all the time! But, I will say, I'm not sure when Arkansas started taking cues from Texas, but I was surprised to see this:

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For those that don't know, you pretty much won't pass under a bridge or roadway in Texas that doesn't have either the state flag or the state shape itself embedded in the concrete (sometimes even a yellow rose). It's kind of gaudy and annoying and now Arkansas is starting it...yea). Needless to say, I made it home about 1:30 a.m. or so and, again, was just as worn out as the cemetery trip, but maybe I'm getting better considering this was over 20 hours and the cemetery trip was just 4. I was lucky, in that I didn't encounter another human other than the clerk I bought lottery tickets from and she didn't speak to me, I just spoke to her. I stopped for gas twice and rest stops twice, but still, no human interaction. I wish I could say the same for the trip I took last weekend, but that's for another blog!