We ran out of Hannibal, Missouri on Main Street and up the bluff past Lover’s Leap – passing the Hannibal Cannibal 5K and 10K turn-around marks on the way. Rock outcroppings and beautiful vistas . . .

Bluff is a misleading word. It sounds gentle but the truth is very different. These are hills – big steep long hills. Rising from river valley to bluff top and descending back down. Repeat until exhausted. This is a mountain range we didn’t learn about in high school geography.

Victoria ran into Louisiana, Missouri – down Highway 79 and south on Third after the gas stations. Over to Main and ended at the Trimble House on South Carolina Street. We later learned that South Carolina Street is north of North Carolina Street in this town. It makes sense if you think about it long enough . . .

At the Trimble house we met up with Donna, Adam, Kristal, and Maggie. Lunch was graciously provided – turkey wraps and lemonade arrived later. We went round the table, gathering everyone’s story, even if they hadn’t planned on being interviewed. Maggie was a native. She had moved away, gone to law school, never expected to come back, but found her way here—married with children, changing careers, and happy as can be.

Kristal’s is a different story. She grew up in St. Louis, but her mom drove the family away after a kidnapping of a young child. The city seemed too dangerous. They moved to progressively smaller towns, until finally Kristal found herself in Louisiana, Missouri. She’s never leaving, she says. Her husband Skyler is a police officer. They have six children. She’s only recently started working as the Chamber of Commerce director, and she is just motivated about this small community and its prospects. Later in the day as we walked around the town, up and down the streets, Kristal knew every storefront, every shopkeeper, every prospect for every building. She’s just tuned in to this town. She cares.

Now we didn’t leave the newspaper man out, oh no. Adam, the 24 year-old transplant from St. Louis and Chicago had his own story to tell of his work in a dying industry and coming to a small town paper to not just have opportunity but invest. He’s joined the Rotary here, and is really seeking to understand the community and its people. Not just that, but he’s renting an apartment in an old building in Louisiana that has its own story to tll in the walls AND plumbing it seems! He’s on an adventure of his own, and we can’t wait to hear how it turns out.

Later that night, after a great Mexican dinner with Kristal, Skylar and Maggie at Dos Primos, we headed back to the guest house of Cindy and Greg Blaylock. Such generous accommodations from local Louisianaians—a beautiful log cabin just outside their home. Made for another night’s restful sleep, up on the hill (have we mentioned all the hills????), in the peace and quiet of another Missouri night.