Before long, the scenery changed again. Rolling hills with scattered trees turned into forests alongside the road, with deep green leaves a contrast to the lighter green grass. This was the scenery I grew up with, where there’s always a stand of trees somewhere on open land. If it’s not right up against the roadway, it’s off in the distance.
And of course, the weather changed as well. We could feel the humidity, the air was thicker, and the heat seemed a bit hotter, just because of the humidity. Dry and hot is not the same as hot and humid. I grew up in Chicago, I know what it’s like, but feeling it change as we drove was interesting.
Now, I’m used to the dry air and I’m used to seeing mountains at the horizon. Or, like the first part of the trip, it’s mostly empty land with a few scattered stubby trees, but you have an unobstructed view all the way to the horizon. Barring, of course, man-made structures and purposefully planted trees.
And soon we saw a city looming ahead.
It wasn't long before the GPS gleefully told us that we were getting to the amerr-isster destination, since it couldn’t quite get the hang of saying Uh-Maristar. The first two exists it wanted us to exit on were closed. That’s where a GPS comes in handy. It’s great to have a map and directions to your location, but if road construction thwarts your plans and you fall off the edge of your printed map, it’s hard to get back on track again.
But after missing two exits, the GPS happily recalculated and got us turned back in the right direction. It all seemed to be going well. Until…
We got to the hotel desk, and the clerk said the hotel was booked and there was a waiting list. Then she said that all of KC was booked due to an appearance by Paul McCartney, a jewelry convention in town, and a few other unrelated events. She couldn’t give us a time when she’d know if rooms became available, so that seemed like a hopeless quest.