When my Sner (my mom) comes to visit, which happens twice a year for two weeks at a time, one of the things that we always do is make our way to southwest Missouri to visit my GrandSner (the Sner’s mom). We grew up in southwest Missouri, and the GrandSner is still there, although for the last five years, she has been in a nursing home – first because of a weakened and blocked heart that made it difficult for her to get around and now because of increasing memory loss.
The Sner and I have made the trip together many times since I moved to Mississippi. These days I pick her up in New Orleans, we spend a few days together at home, and then drive north to spend a few days visiting with GrandSner – taking her to lunch if she feels up to it, bringing her to the old family homestead if the family is home and she feels good enough to go, sitting in her room crocheting and telling the same stories if she doesn’t.
And then we come home.
Maybe because we are getting older and marathon drives have lost their appeal, but last year we broke the trip up into two days – stopping in Memphis for the night before heading on further north. From the Coast to Springfield, it’s about a 12 hour drive. The Sner used to be a long-haul truck driver, and I’ve raced across the country more times than I can count, making it from Reno to Hattiesburg in 36 hours, only stopping to sleep for a couple of hours. It’s harder to sit in the seat these days – or maybe I just like to take my time the older I get. (last year we stopped at several of the little Arkansas towns we always pass through almost sight unseen)
For this year’s journey, I decided that I’d like to go north on Mississippi’s Great River Road – the Blues Highway – Highway 61, just named one of six iconic summer road trips by Conde Nast Traveler. There were a couple of reasons for this – one because I wanted to take some pictures for my See Mississippi project and two because I simply get tired of taking the same road, rolling down the same highway, the cruise set, not really paying attention.
I didn’t take very many pictures during the first leg – we got a bit of a late start and there were several times when the rain was torrential. But I’ve made some notes about places I want to get back to because when I saw them, I thought they were perfect. I now have the best excuse to grab a girlfriend or two and make yet another roadtrip through the Delta. Plus, in July, I’ll be back with my mother-in-law and her best friend.
One of the best parts of a road trip is the music. A road trip playlist can make the miles fly by or turn them into torture. You need the right mix of rockin’ out and groovy jams. Because there is so much good music along these routes – music that has shaped this country – I decided to put together a playlist featuring Mississippi artists (Jimmy Buffet from the Coast, the Mississippi Delta blues musicians, Mississippi country music icons), musicians from our area of southwest Missouri, and those country artists who are playing the Late Night Jam this year.
Take a listen and let me know your favorite song. I know what mine is!