Across the Country in 10 Days-Part II
Wednesday the 27th of May
If you guessed St. Louis…you are correct! Although the drive from Memphis to St. Louis was not too long, we got a tip from a friend of mine to stop at Lambert’s Café in Sikeston, Missouri. The line was out the door and into the parking lot, but Melissa and I could not figure out why this place was so popular. We went inside to see what the fuss was all about and it wasn’t long before we realized why it was jam-packed. The restaurant, which looks like an enormous warehouse, has rows and rows of large picnic-style tables, and benches with very high backs. Behind us, servers wheeling out carts of hot rolls began walking around and yelling out “HOT ROLLS!” To our astonishment, hands darted up in the air from the benches and the servers actually throw the rolls. If you put up your hand, be ready, because a hot roll will be tossed your way. And believe me…they are HOT! Sometimes, they launched these rolls across the entire room. We had never seen anything like it. Melissa and I were standing along the perimeter of the dining area, but we put out our hands and sure enough we each caught a roll. They were tasty too!
We left Lambert’s after being mesmerized for a few minutes and continued on our way to St. Louis. As we approached the city, the famous Arch began to appear in the far distance, and we began cheering at how close we were getting. We entered downtown St. Louis and apparently took the scenic route through the city to our hotel. But, we realized that it was all part of the fun. No GPS system, just old school paper maps! We had the chance to drive by a fountain where the water was orange! We might not have seen that if we had gone the direct route!
As we sat in our hotel room (with an awesome view of the arch) we tried to figure out what would be considered a local activity. We were too late for the St. Louis Blues game or the Cardinals game, and we had done enough karaoke for one trip. After a little research though, we learned that the International Bowling Hall of Fame had just closed its doors in St. Louis in November of 2008. We figured, if we can’t visit the Hall of Fame, we should at least honor it. We asked our hotel for a famous bowling hot-spot and found ourselves taking to the lanes at Flamingo Bowl. After taking enough pictures of each other and enough self-portraits for one night…we befriended our “lane buddies”. It’s amazing how many people want to hear about a cross-country trip. They were intrigued and asking us all kinds of questions. It was then that we realized how fortunate we were to have this opportunity, and more importantly, to be doing it together.
The next morning, Melissa’s cousin Chelsea flew in from Virginia to join the fun. Our first order of business was to visit the Arch. We were astounded at the magnitude of the legendary structure. Words cannot describe how massive it feels in person. It was truly breathtaking. Known as the Gateway to the West, the Arch stands at an impressive 630 feet high and is the tallest man-made monument in the U.S. (See…the trip was very educational) We took the tram ride to the top, which we equated to squeezing 5 people into a phone booth; probably not recommended for people with claustrophobia. I was really proud of Melissa for going up with me considering she is not a fan of confined spaces. It was a magnificent view of the city and the Mississippi River and definitely worth cramming into a tiny space.
Following the Arch, we toured the Anheuser-Busch Brewery. It is an incredible facility and believe it or not, beautiful. Even the famed Clydesdale horses can be seen there! I would not consider myself a big beer drinker, but the tour is still fun and educational. I learned that if you wanted to drink the contents of a vat of beer you would have to drink one beer every hour for 24 hours, 365 days a year, for 137 years. WOW! Of course there were a few males on the tour that claimed they could “totally do it!”
We were sad to leave St. Louis, but excited to resume the excursion. We drove through Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas (yes…the same city crosses 2 states). At that point our state count was up to 9. I wish I had more to say about the drive from Kansas City to Denver. Let’s just suffice it to say that the most exciting parts of the trip were the immense windmills and the Oz Winery billboards. Melissa, Chelsea and I waited the entire 9 hour drive across Kansas to say… “We’re not in Kansas anymore!” Everyone told us that part of the trip would be painfully boring, but even that was an understatement. (Sorry to any readers from Kansas) Eastern Colorado was not really much more interesting, but as we approached Denver our excitement returned.
What a beautiful city Denver is. It’s amazing that you can be in a downtown urban area, and see mountains at the same time. We walked around the city briefly that evening and sat down for a nice dinner with a group of friends. Denver was interesting for the three of us to visit together because we each had a friend who lived there! I only wish we could have stayed longer. However, the mission had to go on and we got up early the next morning and continued on our way.
We began heading towards…sorry you’ll have to come back next week to see how our trip concludes!
Until next week,