It’s amazing how quickly the time has already gone so far. And although we’re on State #8, we find ourselves only a few hours from Chicago at the moment, staying with a friend just outside Indianapolis while our RV has a couple of cosmetic fixes.
I’ve cribbed my travel philosophy for this tour from a friend’s mother: “travel as if you’ll be coming back.” I’ve found this so helpful, because there’s so much pressure in each place to do the “quintessentially STATE” thing, and sometimes there just won’t be time. (Or energy. Or money, ha.) So yes, although we’ve bet on horses at Churchill Downs in Kentucky, caught and eaten “throwed rolls” at Lambert’s in Missouri, and visited the Field of Dreams site in Iowa, there have been countless other things I'm sure we’ve missed.
So we’ve been keeping a “next time” list and also making the most of the chance encounters that have turned out to be unexpected highlights, too. We happened to be just a few miles from Walnut Ridge, Arkansas during their "Beatles at the Ridge" festival, so we went to check it out. This tiny town’s brush with fame is thanks to the Beatles landing there in 1964 on their way to a retreat in Missouri. The whole touchdown was supposed to be secret, but someone found out when they’d be making their departure flight a few days later, and the entire town turned up to see them off. The town is now a hub for Beatles mania and a music festival centered around the group, as well. It was a fun (albeit super hot) afternoon wandering around town, drinking coffee and smoothies at Dark Side, listening to a lecture on the White Album by a scholar from Chicago (of all places), and singing along with the Liverpool Legends, a cover band from Branson hired for the main stage on Sat. evening. (From where we were sitting, the Paul McCartney impersonator looked eerily accurate!)
So here's to enjoying unexpected opportunities and to taking advice from strangers! And here's hoping we continue to be grateful for all of the random experiences that come our way over the next 8 months, learning to be content not fitting EVERYTHING in, and traveling as if we'll be coming back.