On July 29/30, between Fayetteville, Arkansas and Hennessey, Oklahoma, we had an overnight and morning in Joplin, Missouri. I remember passing through Joplin as a kid with my family, eating lunch at a downtown drugstore, the kind with a fountain, and thinking about Jesse James. Downtown still looked pretty much the same. No drugstore, though, as far as I could tell.

Just south of downtown we found a good donut place, Dude’s. Excellent dough, but too heavy on the sugar glaze for our taste. Dude’s sits at what looks like pretty much the center of last year’s twister devastation in the area, and they’ve got a story to tell about it.

Dude’s donut abyss, twister twists

While Dude’s is up and running, much of the surrounding area is not. The place is a ruins being slowly rebuilt:

The southern approach to Joplin:

Our hotel was in one of those sprawling hotel complexes that one finds adjacent to every interstate across the country. Behind our building was an abandoned Best Western where a fawn roamed intermittently, and next to it a tangle of about an acre of trees and ivy, full of birds and insects singing crazy as twilight fell (hit the play button past the photos below to hear).

To get to Joplin, we passed through parts of the Ozark Mountains:

(Time lapse travel via Arkansas Highways 23 north and 16 west, I-540 north, then north on Main Street in Joplin, Missouri. Filmed July 29 and 30, 2012. Soundtrack: inside Discount Corner Flea Market, Springdale, Arkansas. A seemingly small place that turned out to be a cavernous maze with room after improbable room full of junk, loud ineffective fans, and cracked-paper-speaker country music. Also, Sister Jewell Comberston, from a home-recorded Audiodisc acetate, found somewhere in the Ozarks.)