Sometimes I like just getting behind the wheel of my car and going for a drive. When I lived in the Midwest, you kind of had to do that to get anywhere interesting. But contrary to what people think, there are some great places to go in Middle America and the Mississippi River is one of my favorites.
The first time I went to the great Mississippi River was late one night with #5. He told me that he wanted to take me somewhere special and I was ready for an adventure. Was it a new bar? A hotel? He wouldn’t tell me. We drove for a long time and I started to get impatient. Where were we going? When would we get there? Will there be a bathroom?
“Shh, you’ll like this, I promise.”
We were on I-80 and I saw a bridge in the distance. And beneath it, darkness. He pulled off the highway and drove down a small road. He parked and as soon as we got out of the car, he took my hand. I saw this vast expanse of water and my heart caught in my chest.
The Mississippi River.
It was so big and powerful that you could just feel it pounding against the river bank. We could hear it lapping at the sides and he walked me over to the embankment. We sat down and he held me close. It was emotional and I blamed the tears in my eyes to the strong wind that was blowing around us. I’m not big on nature, but this was so powerful and yet contained. (until a series of floods a few years later). I felt small and vulnerable and for a change, I liked it.
I’ve driven on I-80 numerous times over the years and always make a point of crossing the Mississippi. Each time I do, I lose my breath a little and I remember #5. He was a nice guy and had introduced me to one of my favorite places on the planet.
Moral of the story, sometimes the best experience isn’t between your legs but on the state lines of Iowa and Illinois.