Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Beautiful Ballas Bypass

The stretch of Interstate 270 around the west side of St. Louis frequently slows just before Manchester Road, and you don't get back up to speed until after the Dougherty Ferry bridge construction is well behind you.

I hate being in constipated traffic, nudging along at 15 mph and hypervigilant front and back.

So I've cut off to Ballas Road south of Interstate 64, a blissfully quiet two-lane that parallels 270 on the east through Sugar Creek Valley (Please Help Preserve Its Beauty) past the tricky stoplight on on a hilltop curve at Dougherty Ferry, climbing hills and coasting valleys on smooth shaded asphalt striped clean as a snake.

Ballas Road presents you with a left fork to Adams Street and downtown Kirkwood, or a tail end of Ballas that reaches Big Bend in Webster, where you can rejoin the Highway 44 at Berry Road, or lose yourself in the shady streets of Shrewsbury. During the worst times of bridge construction it was faster to take Ballas and much less hectic.

I saw a white F-150 with a cross-and-lilies and "In Loving Memory of My Wife and Mother" on the cab's rear window. The driver was a somewhat senior white man.

Was the truck purchased with proceeds from his wife and mother's demise? Does he drive to honor them? I have not seen anything like it before.

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