My job requires me to travel all over the four-state area and about every other month I find myself in Columbia, Mo.

I always drive the same route: I-44 to Rt. 5 to Highway 54, to Highway 63 and then back again. It’s about a four hour trip one way and I have been driving it for about seven years now. IMG_0195

Anyone knows that after you have driven the same route over and over, you start wanting to see some different scenery and maybe discover an alternative route to break up the monotony. On about my second or third trip back from Columbia I decided to do just that.

I was working in downtown Columbia and without looking at a map or GPS, decided I would just head south on Providence and leave town. I figured I would eventually run into Highway 63 or 54 or the Missouri River and I was just in the mood to see a different landscape.

I have always loved seeing the countryside, with all its farms and landscapes. This was a couple years before I really started getting into Department of Forestry’s Champion Tree Program. I had no idea what I might discover or see, and that was the thrill of the ride.

I had never taken this route and after a few miles I began to think I must be crazy. I already had a four hour drive on the big highways. I was alone. No one would complain if we took the long way home.

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