For some reason, the state of Missouri has decided to replace bridges on every state road that exists; I don't know if it has to do with stimulus funds from the past or what, but we can't go anywhere using the normal route. If we want to pick up prescriptions or see our doctor in Oak Grove, there's a detour that makes the trip take about twice as long as usual. How about heading east to Lexington? Oh no, the scenic route has been closed for months; and when they get that fixed, they'll close 24 and reroute traffic through the middle of our little town, population 780. Of course, they're going to do this when the Wellington Fair is taking place. Nice way to totally ruin a fair that's been having problems staying afloat as it is.
Need to go west, to Independence or Buckner? That's usually a straight shot, taking 224 to 24 highway, but not now: We have to cut through the country on the gravel roads I used to frequent with my horse, Blue: dusty, narrow, hilly roads.
But that isn't all bad, because it jogs some happy memories.
I point out spots that Blue and I enjoyed, telling Cliff about the horses we saw around the countryside. I show him the groves that were thick enough for me to hide in when I needed to take potty breaks, Blue patiently nibbling at leaves or weeds. I show him the road where, if I let go of the reins and gave Blue his "druthers", he'd turn and take the quickest route home.
The whole countryside is more meaningful to me because of my adventures with Blue. Now remember, I don't drive, never have. So it isn't like I had the opportunity to explore back roads in a car, like most folks would; but I spent hours on those roads at the speed of a Foxtrotter's gait, noticing things you'd never have time to see, speeding by in a car.
I've heard so many people who have horses say they need somebody to ride with or they don't enjoy riding. Not me! I loved the solitude of riding alone, just me and my horse; I actually preferred it that way. Of course, as Cliff always says, if I threw a party and invited all my friends, I could hold that party in a phone booth. I'm a loner, and always will be.
Cliff listens to me drone on about my backroad adventures with Blue and says, "I'm glad you had your horse; I sure did worry about you, out here all alone."
He needn't have worried. Blue knew he was babysitting an old lady who never learned to ride properly.
So, while the detours because of all this bridge-building (no wonder Modot is going broke) are a nuisance, I've enjoyed the memories I made with my perfect horse, Blue.
On another note, yesterday Cliff and I put up some new electric fence in order to allow the horses to have a little fresh grazing. I was on the tractor, unrolling the wire, and Cliff thought the world needed a picture of me driving. So here you have it, me driving the John Deere. Notice how I manage to go right between those trees without hitting them? Impressive, right?