Take the Long Way Home – Part 3

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Missouri (aka “Misery”)

The next day we drove through Missouri, which pretty much took up the entire day. FYI, I HATED driving in Missouri. It was absolutely the worst part of the entire trip. And that’s not even including the suicidal deer that decided to run out in front of my car while I was driving 65mph on a pitch dark road. Stupid deer. But I digress.

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The first city we came to in Missouri was St. Louis, so of course that required a stop at the Gateway Arch.

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At the base of the arch structure is this beautiful park with a view of the Mississippi River.

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Inside the arch is a free museum detailing the westward expansion of the United States. Pretty neat stuff.

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We decided not to take the tram to the top of the arch as we would have had to wait about another hour and we really needed to get back on the road. We did take a few of these “artsy” wannabe pics from underneath.

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Once back on the road we saw some menacing looking storm clouds but, luckily, we never actually encountered any bad weather during any part of the trip.

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There were a lot of corn fields along the highway.

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We made a quick pit stop at this tacky roadside shop called Ozarkland and they had these sweet Elvis glasses with the attached sideburns. I tried to do my best Elvis sneer, but it just ended up looking like I was smelling something bad.

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More corn. This field was being harvested.

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We had planned to stop in Kansas City for dinner. You can’t go to Missouri and not have famous Kansas City barbecue for dinner. That would be sacrilege.  It took us a while to figure out our way around but we finally found a place called Jack Stack BBQ. We ended up sharing a platter called “The Roundup.” It was a lot of food and it was SOOO good.

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Downtown Kansas City.

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That’s it for part 3. More to come.

Peace out!

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Take the Long Way Home – Part 2

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Tennessee to Illinois

The first state we entered after Tennessee was Kentucky, and I thought it was so pretty there. It was a really nice drive and the scenery was really beautiful.

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Not ten minutes after crossing the state line and what’s the first thing we see? An Amish kid driving a horse and buggy! Awesome!

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We stopped to take pictures of some corn fields because Chris’ uncle wanted to compare them to the fields in Washington.

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We saw a lot of these old barns and farm buildings during our trip and I couldn’t have been happier. I’ve always loved these types of structures and wish we’d had more time to stop and take pictures of them.

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Our designated lunch stop for the day was Paducah, Kentucky.

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The Ohio River. That’s Illinois on the other side.

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Downtown Paducah and the Free Spirit Biker Church.

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We hadn’t anticipated that pretty much everything in Paducah would be closed on Sundays. We did find a restaurant called Shandie’s that was open for lunch and we were pleased with both the food and the service. We especially loved the fried green tomatoes and my catfish cakes were delicious!

After lunch we crossed over the Ohio River (via this awesome bridge!) and into Illinois.

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In Illinois, we made sure to stop in Metropolis, a town whose claim to fame is being the “Home of Superman.”

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These cutouts were in front of a gas station just off the highway.

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And the story behind this picture: while I was trying to take a picture with Chris’ phone, some random guy came up and pretended to grab his boob. He actually said “You need somebody grabbing your titty!” I admit I lost it.

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We’d never heard of Metropolis until my cousin told us about the giant Superman statue. What?? Giant statue, you say? We are SO there!

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This was so ridiculously cheesy and touristy. I loved every second of it! 😉

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After Metropolis we set back on the road, on our way to O’Fallon, Illinois, where we spent the night. We encountered some really nice scenery and a gorgeous night sky along the way.

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That’s it for part 2. More to come soon.

 

Peace out!

Take the Long Way Home – Part 1

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Florida to Tennessee

One of the best parts of our move to Washington was the road trip we’d planned to get us there. I’d dreamed of doing a cross-country road trip ever since I was a kid, hitting all the roadside tourist traps, greasy spoons and national parks along the way. We timed our trip to take 8 days from the time we left Florida until we arrived in Washington on August 24th (we had an appointment with the builder for our new homeowners’ orientation scheduled for that afternoon, so that was our deadline).

 

I’ll spare you the dirty details of our 38-hour, no sleep, no shower, no food, packing marathon that started on the afternoon of August 16th and ended with us finally getting to my sister’s house (to shower, eat and sleep – FINALLY) just before midnight on the 17th. The next morning we hit the road bright and early with less than 5 hours of sleep under our belts and headed towards our first overnight location: Knoxville, Tennessee. My cousin, Jose, and his wife, Julie, live in downtown Knoxville and invited us to spend a night with them during our trip.

TomTom on the Florida Turnpike.

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Northern Florida and Southern Georgia are exactly the same: hot, flat and boring.
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Our first state line! (Including Florida and Washington, we visited and/or drove through a total of 14 states on this trip.)
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Jerry Springer, y’all! What further endorsement do you need? (We have no idea what this sign was for but we spotted 3 more of them along the road in southern Georgia.)
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This would be the time that I turned to Chris and said “don’t be Mexican here.” He responded with “que?” Dork.
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Atlanta. We hit major traffic in this area due to an accident.
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The memorial torch from the 1996 Olympics.
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Northern Georgia was a much prettier drive than the southern part.
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We made it to Tennessee!
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We got to my cousin’s place around 7:30PM. They live in this really beautiful condo that has amazing views of downtown Knoxville and the nearby foothills of the Smokey Mountains, and it’s just a few blocks from the “trendy” area. After unloading our bags we walked over there and enjoyed a really nice dinner at Café 4, then headed over to one of the bars to sample a couple of the local brews. We walked back to the apartment after and sat around talking for a while. We finally headed to bed a little after midnight. The next morning Julie made us a great breakfast of pancakes, sausage and eggs and we got to enjoy some more family time while taking in the view from their floor-to-ceiling windows.

Mi primito! I love my cousin.

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This was taken on their balcony just before we headed out. I really loved Knoxville and can’t wait to go back and visit again when we can spend more time there.
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The view from their balcony.
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Chris and I are both big fans of the TV show “Ghost Hunters” on the SyFy channel, so we were pretty excited to spot one of the TAPS vans from the show on highway!

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We made a pit stop at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville just to take some pictures and pick up a couple of postcards.
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As we were leaving the Grand Ole Opry Chris spotted this place just across the street. Cooter’s! If you were a fan of “The Dukes of Hazzard” as a kid (as we both were) then you have to remember Cooter. There was also a General Lee parked on the other side of the building but it was hard to get pictures from a moving vehicle.
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That’s it for Part 1. More to come…