Saturday, August 20, 2005

Day 4:
We said goodbye to Todd and Sha and headed to the
Indiana State Fair.  In the weeks leading up to this
trip I had researched state and county fairs on the
internet, hoping to hit at least one in the journey.
I had turned up nothing, so it was a pleasant surprise
when Todd told us last night that the Indiana State
Fair was in Indianapolis through this weekend.  It
brilliantly hot and sunny, and we found free parking,
which is always a bonus.  We walked into the fair and
the first ‘attraction’ was the 4-H youth tractor
driving event. That was amusing for about half a
second, and then we got bored and continued on.  We
walked by the grandstand where they were racing
chariots.  That was cooler.  We watched from the
sidelines for a bit and then headed over to the
Cloggers – basically tap dancers with taps on the
heels of their sneakers.  As exciting as this sounded,
it wasn’t that exciting in person.  Spying the Swine
barn we went in to look at championship pigs.  What a
stench.  We watched the pigs being paraded around and
an announcer calling out all the salient features of
each pig.  We couldn’t tell them apart, but we trusted
their judgement.  About this time we grew hungry,
which probably had nothing to do with the fact that we
were passing rows and rows of fried food stalls.  I
had a pork burger, Alexa had a lamb burger – both of
which were promoted by the Indiana Board of Pork and
Lamb, respectively.  Quite tasty.  It started to rain,
even tho moments before there was a bright blue sky
with a blazing sun.  After 5 minutes the rain stopped
and the sun came out, as blindingly hot as ever.
About this time we grew weary of the heat and fried
food, and knew we had to get on our way if we were
going to make it to St Louis to pick Lizzie up.
Lizzie was flying in at 10am and going to the
Cardinals game, which shouldve been over at about 4.
We got onto the highway and headed west, cruising
along at 70.  The drive to St Louis passes through
southern Illinois, miles and miles of really boring
road.  I didn’t see a single cop along the road, which
was nice, but I still tried to keep close-ish to the
speed limit, which was a paltry 65.  I didn’t
understand that. There was no sign of civilization on
our drive, just miles of greenery (more of the kudzu
that had blanketed trees all along our trip) , so why
couldn’t they raise the speed limit to 70 like the
neighboring states?  Stingy Illinoisans.  Just before
we got to Missouri we passed a gigantic metal cross
along the side of the road.  It must’ve been about 7
stories tall, and was not surrounded by any buildings.
Thanks for the reminder, Illinois.  Thankfully, just
past this was the Gateway Arch peeking up over the
hills to announce our entrance to St Louis.  Lizzie
had gotten to St Louis at 10am, after working til 2:30
am and leaving her apt at 4:30 to get to the airport.
She had then been at the game all day in the 90+
degree heat, without sunscreen.  Needless to say, she
was red and exhausted.  We were originally planning to
go to the City Museum, which is supposed to be pretty
cool, but given Lizzie’s exhaustion and our need to
get to Kansas City by nighttime, a 4 hour drive away,
we decided to press on.  The state of Missouri is
similar to Illinois, but a lot more crowded along the
Interstate.  There were a lot more God, Bible, and
Jesus signs, but a new addition were the anti-abortion
signs, always followed right behind by casino and
adult videostore signs.  We found the juxtaposition
apt.  My favorite billboard along this stretch was a
sign that said “Jesus” against orange and yellow rays,
which echoed the sunset behind it (good placement,
bible thumpers).  I don’t know what I was supposed to
do with this information, besides acknowledging that
yes, Jesus is a word.  I guess I was supposed to pray
fervently in front, shouting ‘hail jesus! Praise be!,’
but somehow it didn’t move me, sunset and all.  I
wonder why.
We entered Kansas City, MO at about 9:15 pm, heading
straight to the BBQ place that was supposed to be open
til 11pm.  Wrong.  It closed at 9.  What is it with
these places and the hours in guidebooks?  Just goes
to show you, always call ahead. We went to the hotel
and asked if there was a bbq place open, and they
directed us to Gates.  It was very good.  Finger
licking good, if I may borrow the overused phrase.  We
got in the car and I noticed the Check Engine light
was on.  Uh-oh.  It was too late to worry about it, so
we  headed back to the hotel, the 4* Hyatt Regency
that we had gotten off of priceline for an obscene
price, and collapsed in bed.  


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