We've arrived. And Avondale is kinda what we expected.
It is, to be blunt, a hick town. Less that 600 people living here, not too hard-up - a lower-than average number of people below the poverty line - but still strangely stuck in time. Barely five minutes from the comparatively built-up Kansas City, where we'll be staying at first, but at the same time, it has that distinctly middle-of-nowhere feel. In all the cities I've been to, five miles outside the city would still be heavily-populated suburb, what with the British population density and the far less sparsely populated New England towns. We saw these little smatterings of settlements all the way here, but never with any realisation that that's what passes for a city here. The space here in the "flyover states" is unlike anything back home.
There's a road here called Antioch Road. It's long and stretches up to Gladstone, a much larger suburb, the dividing point of which I am utterly unable to ascertain. It reminds me of a book a friend of mine showed me which talked about an ancient religious sect based around a philosopher called Antiochus, and "The Books Of Terror And Longing." I always wondered whether or not it was real, but in light of what we're here to find out about, this little thought rather springs out at me.
Even in little details, I find myself wondering about the Church of the Faceless Angels.
Roland and Rachel are feeling much better. Patience and Paracetemol (or acetaminophren, or Tylenol - we spent about a half-hour looking for it before we thought to check if it's sold under a different name here) eventually made the pain go away, as they always do. The tears and thrashing stopped pretty soon after we loaded them into the car (The cars here are bleedin' huge, so luckily they didn't want for space.)
But everyone's on edge here. The fact that she's one of very few ethnic minorities here is making Shannon very uncomfortable - though you'd assume a black woman with an Irish background would be more accustomed to this kind of ethnic alienation - but I guess that's only to be expected when our knowledge of the American heartland being mostly "It's got racists, fundamentalists and zealous nationalists", even though, to be honest, this isn't that far south.
We're gonna go exploring tomorrow - right now, we're staying in a pretty nice hotel in Kansas City itself. If something is going down in that town, we want to be at least a little bit away from it.