XM Radio ad, about 60 miles east of Indianapolis:
“How do we get 100 stations all the way out here?
Satellites. Big freaking satellites.”
Billboard company just west of St. Louis:
Billboard 1 Some kind of ad for a store, but all blurred
Billboard 2 “MADE”
Billboard 3 “YOU”
Billboard 4 “LOOK”
Best damn food on the whole trip so far: Blue Springs Restaurant, Exit 30,Â Interstate 70, western Illinois. Home of the “Foot High Pie,” which is reallyÂ a foot high. Mostly merengue, but easily 12 inches deep. Unfortunately, IÂ didn’t get to try any, because the meal was huge, and incredibly delicious.Â A deep-fried 1 lb. catfish, which was so tender the only thing keeping theÂ meat on the bones was the fried batter.Â Green beans cooked with ham,Â applesauce, something that looked like sweet potatoes but turned out toÂ be pumpkin, homemade coleslaw with no mayonnaise, mashed potatoes,Â pickled beets, and biscuits made from whole wheat flour. Served “family style,”Â which means it will feed a family of four with leftovers. In all fairness I madeÂ quite a dent, but came nowhere near finishing. Nearest thing to an old-fashioned road trip I’ve experienced so far.
Most like home: Rush hour traffic, I-70 downtown St. Louis
Being tailgated at 80 MPH in an 50 MPH zone, dodging cars making laneÂ changes with inches to spare, without signaling (at 80 MPH). DodgingÂ cars crossing 3 right lanes to take an exit at the last minute. It felt just likeÂ being back in NoVa, brought a tear to my eye and a smile to my face.
Actually, the smile was more like a grimace caused by my facial musclesÂ frozen in a rictus of shear terror. But I was able to put on my DC MetroÂ driving instincts like a comfortable, bloodstained leather glove.
Don’t get me wrong, St. Louis was a lovely place to see in my rear-viewÂ mirror, and the drivers I encountered obviously started out as cute, cherubicÂ babies whose mothers loved them very much, but once they got their allegedÂ drivers licenses, it all changed. I’m pretty sure they didn’t get licenses byÂ taking driver’s tests, they were probably given them by some kind of scratch-off gambling game. “If you match three road hazards, congratulations!Â You’re a driver!”
I mean, gambling is big, really big in the St. Louis area.Â There’s a huge sign trying to “guilt” people into gambling by telling driversÂ that gambling paid 1 billion dollars toward Missouri education. The sign wasÂ near a former multi-story hotel converted into a casino, called “Noah’s Ark.”Â I don’t even want to contemplate the theological implications of that name.
They almost installed a slot machine in my car when it was stopped for aÂ traffic jam, until they saw my Virginia tags.
Weirdest animal encounter: Day 1, running into a swarm of bees, and havingÂ about a dozen splats of bee guts on my windshield.
Saddest animal encounter: So far, I’ve seen 8 deer carcasses along the sideÂ of the Interstate, starting in Maryland, and in each state except Indiana. SomeÂ kind of predation needs to be restored, so that the deer don’t jump out in frontÂ of semis and cars. Either resume hunting, or reintroduce some natural predatorsÂ that used to thin the deer herds. Just my opinion.
Next saddest animal encounter: Being behind a pickup truck 60 miles west ofÂ St. Louis when the truck hit a bird in flight, and driving into the cloud of feathers.Â Although the sadness is tinted with a bit of humor.
Well, that’s all for tonight, I hope I can get to Denver tomorrow night, but I’m notÂ going to kill myself trying. Still have over 600 miles to go.