Awoke to bountiful breakfast prepared by Mrs. Cooper, egg casseroles, biscuits, fruit and turnovers to spare. Met Natasha, soon to graduate high school, and remembered how far we have come in the last three years. A little further to go in the next year, and then our own graduation and introduction to the real world. No need to worry about that now, still have the summer to relax and plan for the future.

Left Chase in Springfield, and set off just the two of us. Slightly easier to hold a conversation with just two, no one set apart in the back, but also no one to pick up the silence. I’m quite comfortable in silence, but unable to tell if my companion is, and so can lead to awkward moments. None with Marko, and so we were well matched.

Lunch in Kansas City, Missouri or Kansas, I can’t remember. Our guidebooks each recommended a single place in the whole city, and so we had to find it. The midwest’s best barbecue at Arthur Bently’s. When a 300 pound (20 stone, to use Marko’s units) black man wearing a Chiefs jersey entered, we knew we were in the right place. Had a giant pulled pork sandwich on Wonder Bread with cheap local beer. The wall was adorned with celebrities enjoying Arthur’s ribs, including an sinister looking John Ashcroft.

Onward through Kansas, passing by the Oz museum, as we were still in Kansas and hadn’t a pair of ruby slippers. Drove through a wicked thunderstorm. Attempted photographs of lightning, but my reflexes were never fast enough to capture their fury on film (or 4 GB Microdrive, but that doesn’t have the same ring to it). As quickly as the storm rose, it passed, and the stars appeared. Stopped at Wilson Lake state park, the site of perhaps the only lake in all of Kansas. Marko spent his first night in the car, and I set up the tent in the dark, and climbed in for a fitful sleep.