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Let’s be honest with ourselves and admit that road trips can suck. Hard. But when done right, occasionally, everything comes together in an ideal balance. That’s when you’ve got yourself a perfect road trip ecosystem. Some of the world’s greatest bonding moments (at least in entertainment!) have happened during road trips, with each passing hour and mile. If you find yourself in one of these dream road trips, you may find that the destination isn’t the most important thing.

As they often say, “it’s the journey.”

Certainly, getting the right people in the right space is the most important thing for a successful road trip. That could be a group of best friends, a romantic duo on the brink of the next step, or a mish-mash of attractive millennials with curious and open-minded personalities.

You also gotta have a killer soundtrack to fill voids, spur conversation, or bring people together in song. Throw in diverse snacking options, a reliable and capable driver, and a navigator who knows when to trust Waze and when to blaze their own trail, and the perfect road trip may unfold before you.

But, before you go, if I may impart just one more tenet… And really, this is the only piece of advice you must leave home with.

Never go to Missouri.

Oddly specific, I know, but if your road trip is running you latitudinally across the country, you are likely to come across Missouri’s outrageously tall and stupid borders. But I must implore you: stay away at all costs.

But I thought you just said you wanted to travel with curious and open-minded personalities, you ask in a voice as cantankerousness as the state itself.

What do you have against Missouri?

I barely hear you ask the question because my brain is repeating belligerent mantras towards Missouri.

Everything, Marni. I have everything against Missouri.

There is nothing good in Missouri, an above ground landfill of a state that doesn’t get enough grief for being so big and useless. Everyone loves shitting on Florida and Ohio without pointing out that there are a least some good things in Florida (double burn!). Yet Missouri’s reputation remains far too unscathed. Like planning the perfect road trip, if we all work together, we can scathe Missouri as it deserves. Be the change you wish to see in the world, right?

Ask anyone what the best thing in Missouri is and they’ll think for a while, and probably tell you that it’s the barbecue. And while they may be right (sorry, Nelly) they are also so so soooo wrong. Because if the best thing about your state is actually done better in Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Louisiana, Kansas, and Georgia (and probably California too), you’ve proven my point.

Go ahead and tell some St. Louis Cardinals fans that you think their state’s barbecue is ninth best in the nation (and if you are really brave, suggest that they don’t even have the best Kansas City in the nation!), and they will do the rest of the work for me. Cardinals fans deal with criticism as well as they dealt with the riots in Ferguson, which is to say, with unchecked violence and racism.

Darren Wilson is the (white) Ferguson police officer who killed Michael Brown (18 years old, African-American) in 2014, which set off months of on-and-off protests, riots, and massive friction between the law enforcement and Black community in the state. The grand jury in Missouri decided not to file charges against the Wilson.

Also in St Louis? NOTHING. The Arch, which if you’ve ever been to it, congrats, you got geographically catfished. Budweiser? Of the biggest beer companies in the world, it is absolutely the worst. Oh and HEY CLYDESDALES, GET A FREAKING HAIRCUT YOU HIPPIES, AND LOOK LIKE A REAL HORSE.

Missouri is spinning the house in roulette.

It’s an all orange pack of Starburst. Missouri is needing an email to reset your password.

Now should you really never drive through Missouri, just because I have clearly proven to you what an airplane fart of a state it is? Well that depends… If you’re going to be stopping for gas or tolls, which give money to some crappy Missouri cause like Missouri school systems, thats a no for me, dog. If you are merely crossing through, wearing down their roads and infrastructure without giving a cent to the state that gave us John Ashcroft and James Earl Ray, by all means, proceed without care. In fact, my fellow road-tripping Americans, I implore you to drive into and use up anything decent in Missouri. It shouldn’t take long. And bonus points for littering!

Fortunately for our resistance efforts, Missouri, has many neighboring states.

If you find yourself in any of the eight states along a Missouri border, here’s what you do. Drive right up that rusty, ugly “Now Entering Missouri” warning sign and hop out, grab a shovel, and get to work. If we all work together to dig up those signs, and rebury them a few inches in, we can slowly erode the state’s borders, until Missouri is only a few square miles around Busch Stadium and that dumb Arch. I’ve spoken to some Missourians before and can promise you: They won’t figure it out until it’s too late. As Al Pacino, a great American not from Missouri, once said in Any Given Sunday, a great American movie not filmed or set in Missouri, “The inches we need are everywhere!”

If we work together we can make sure future generations won’t have to work so hard to avoid Missouri! I believe in a future when we can worry about other, more important things, like avoiding Iowa.

Josh Bard

Josh Bard is a guy. A sports guy, an ideas guy, a wise guy, a funny guy, a Boston guy, and sometimes THAT guy. Never been a Guy Fieri guy, though.

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