Sunday, July 29, 2007

Westward Ho!

NOTE: Pictures will come later

Day 20 - Baltimore, MD to Indianapolis, IN. 590 miles. Estimated time - 9 1/2 hrs. Actual time - 12 hrs.

Thomas had been pretty fussy the day before, but was very good on the drive. We spent the night with Curtis's high-school girlfriend, Colleen, and her family.

Day 21 - Indianapolis, IN to St Louis, MO. 244 miles. Estimated time - 4 hours. Actual time - 4 1/2 hours.

Colleen rearranged her schedule to have the morning off so we got to explore Indi a bit with her. We went to a creamery and had a wonderful lunch of milk, yogurt, and ice cream at the bar. Then we went to the art museum, which was much nicer than I expected. They had an exhibit of Bellini and devotional art that was nice. The museum was also free, which is my favorite price.

In St. Louis, we were going to meet up with my sister boxedcookies and her boyfriend Craig. But they weren't coming up until she got off work, so we went over to Ted Drewes. Their frozen custard concretes are a St. Louis institution and were even on Alton Brown's road food show. My sister's working for a hotel chain now and used her employee discount to get two rooms in downtown St. Louis. (They live about 2 hrs south of St. Louis.) I had never stayed in a suite before. Boy-o got to sleep in the living room and it was the first time he'd ever not been in our room. The hotel also had free hot breakfast and afternoon cocktails. My sister also presented us with our own copy of the new Harry Potter book.

Day 22 - St. Louis

We went to Mass at the new cathedral (built 1907). It has gorgeous mosaics. Then, we did the Anheuser-Busch tour. We'd been to two other Budweiser factories, but this one was special. It's actually really pretty. There are intricate wrought-iron railings, stained-glass windows, and chandeliers all over. Boxedcookies and Craig took us to a microbrewery that they liked called Schlafly. Oddly, it was the same kind of beer that willowlaughter had had in the fridge in Baltimore. The tour wasn't much since the girl didn't know much about beer, but we enjoyed the free samples. They also had a surprisingly good restaurant that served venison and buffalo. We were going to go to the art museum, but it was closed, so we just went back to the hotel for cocktails. I never thought I'd ever go out drinking with my sister. For dinner, we went down to the historic Laclede's Landing district and had fun pushing the stroller up steep hills and across cobblestones. Thomas thought the world was ending. We wanted something cheap, so I got to add another Old Spaghetti Factory to my list. (We'd also gone to one in Louisville, KY.)

Day 23 - St. Louis, MO to Cole Camp, MO

In the morning we stopped at an awesome Catholic supply store that happens to be across the street from Ted Drewes. We needed to pick up the cat from my parent's house so we decided to just spend the night instead of having someone bring the cat up to I-70. My mom didn't seem to mind that her only grandson was coming back. We set up the tent in the backyard with with air mattress, which is the best way to camp. The baby slept in his portacrib in Renee's room, which was very weird for me. She brought him out to us when she had to leave in the morning.

Day 24 - Cole Camp, MO to Kansas City, MO.

In the morning, we had breakfast with my grandma and my dad who had just gotten off the midnight shift. Then we picked up the cat, and headed off again. We were staying with Becca who's getting married next month. Her fiance was out of town, but she was watching his son, Ryan (age 6.) The four of us went to a Royals game with more of Becca's family. I hadn't been to Royals Stadium for at least 15 years. Thomas didn't care about the game at all, but Ryan had fun sampling all the concession offerings. The game itself was terrible. The first inning lasted an hour. The Yankees sent up 9 batters, the Royals, only 3. It was like watching Yankee batting practice. It was getting late and the kiddos were tired, so we left at the top of the 5th. Derek Jeter was already 3 for 4 for the night and the score was something like 9 to 1.

Day 25 - Kansas City, MO to Golden, CO.

A long, long drive, but the baby was pretty good. He only wanted to eat every 3 hours and seemed to start fussing shortly before rest areas. Curtis thought that he was doing better in the car because he was older. It sounds strange because we haven't been on the road that long, but the trip does represent a quarter of Thomas's life.

Day 26 - Golden, CO

Sam had to leave at O'dark hundred for a business trip and Matt had to work, so Curtis and I got to amuse ourselves for the day. After we got back from their wedding, we'd been horrified to learn that New Belgium Brewing was practically walking distance from the airport that we'd flown in and out of. It was better going now, though, since I couldn't have sampled anything then. They're famous for their Fat Tire Ale, but all their beers are good. We sampled one the best beers we'd ever had there. It was called La Folie and was a brown ale that had been barrel aged for 1-2 years. The oak from the barrel had given the ale an amazing taste. It was certainly a let down to go from there to the Coors plant in Golden. It was a pretty good tour, though and it was the first time we'd ever seen a malthouse. Coors is alone among big breweries in malting its own barley.
We had been warned that parking at Coors Field for Rockies games was really expensive. Sam told us about a cheaper lot nearby. When we got close, we saw the sign for the cheaper lot, but couldn't get over in time. We ended up turning into the expensive, official lot. We got a pass to let us out and as we were driving back to the cheaper lot, we scored a major coup. FREE PARKING!! There was an open spot in front of an apartment building. Curtis parallel-parked the Explorer with about 18 in of extra space. The Rockies were playing the Dodgers, but it was just an ok game. When it started raining halfway through the game and I saw lightening (we were in the upper seats), we decided it was time to go. The rain lightened as we walked to the car and then came down harder. When we got back to the apartment, Sam was back from Kansas and pjdf was on his way over. He's still galavanting around the country climbing rocks and seems to be completely recovered from his last blog post.

Day 27 - Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig
We went to Sam's Club to get gas and took a look at their bourbon selection. Now we can tell what company makes what based on the town listed. Anyway, their prices were better than at the distillery. Of course, you can't get everything. Then we hit the road and didn't get home until midnight Pacific time. Thomas had a wailing/screaming fit around 9pm Mountain time, but once he finally went to sleep, he stayed asleep the rest of the trip.

It's weird being back. We'd forgotten what the place looked like (a mess) and there were a disturbing number of cockroaches (uuuugh). We're really looking forward to moving. The plan is to do a blitzkrieg pack and then hightail it to Fresno (because we've barely touched Curtis's side of the family.) Still don't know where we're moving too, but hopefully something good will show up on Craigslist this week.

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