Churchill and road trips

With my current stay in the US hastening towards its end, I find myself with a yearning to visit places and make the most of my time here in the South.

So one Tuesday evening a few weeks ago, I texted my friend and at-that-time partner-in-unemployment, Samuel, and asked if he wanted to visit Kansas City the next day. Kansas City is a 10-hour drive away from Nashville, so it would take us all of Wednesday to get there. And he needed to be back in Nashville at 4pm on Friday, which would have meant departing KC by 6am at the latest Friday morning. Accordingly it didn’t really make sense. Naturally we decided to go.

After a quick gathering together of the essentials, some gas in the tank and air in the tyres, we set off around midday on Wednesday. Our route took us north from Nashville, into Kentucky (stopped for lunch at Chick-Fil-A), briefly into Illinois (stopped for gas and a quick baseball-throw in Nashville, Illinois just because it was there), into Missouri and right through St Louis and the gorgeous sight of the sun setting behind the Arch and the downtown skyscrapers. Then a long haul across mostly nothingness to Kansas City. Samuel, naturally, had to pee at a most inconvenient time, so we pulled off the interstate and found what appeared to be a legitimate old time country store, complete with a solitary gas pump out front. Sadly it was closed, and so Samuel did the business round the back. Back on the interstate, we passed a massive sign advertising the existence of a Churchill Museum in Fulton, MO.

“Can’t be. THE Churchill? WINSTON Churchill?!”

Samuel didn’t know.

I checked it out later. It is indeed a museum dedicated to the most tweetable prime minister in British history. Does the UK even have a Churchill museum?! I know that part of the Imperial War Museum is dedicated to him, but… why is there a full museum in his honour in Fulton, Missouri?

Turns out Mr Churchill gave a speech at Westminster College, Fulton, MO in 1946. In which he coined the term “iron curtain”. Incredible stuff. Sadly I didn’t have time to stop in.

Last week I did manage to visit a couple of museums that had caught my eye on a previous road-trip north.

Disappointingly, Samuel had acquired gainful employment after the KC trip, and so was unable to accompany me. Ryan and Katie, my travelling companions for pretty much the whole of last year, have between them now also got jobs. Slackers. Running out of actual unemployed people, I turned to a full-time musician friend instead, and we hit up the National Corvette Museum first, an hour north of Nashville in Bowling Green, Kentucky. This was actually a bit of a let-down, although not as much as it was early this morning when a sink-hole appeared and eight vintage Corvettes disappeared into it. Kind of glad we made the trip last week, although frankly it would have made the tour more exciting.

Then it was on to Louisville, KY to visit the Louisville Slugger factory and museum. Putting quarters in the parking meter, I was perplexed by it only giving us 7 minutes of parking time. I fed it a few more coins to make sure. Got no change out of it, either figuratively or literally. Parking on that street was not allowed after 3pm, but this was just before 2pm… and then I remembered that Louisville is in Eastern Time, not Central. Louisville, sitting a few degrees to the east of Nashville, has no business being in Eastern Time if you ask me. But it seemed pointless to argue about it with a parking meter, and so we found another, less restrictive parking spot, threw down a quick lunch, and made it to the factory for the final tour of the day.

Earlier in January I did manage to get on the road with Ryan and Katie (and Samuel), heading up to Indiana for a quick two-day ski trip. Indiana does not have mountains, but it does have a couple of hills and some lifts, and we had a blast for a couple of days. So much so that we’re going back on Friday. And against my better judgement (many, many judgements actually), I think I’m going to try snowboarding.

Wiseman, look out.

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