Saturday - 8.26.00

Kurt and I managed to leave Jody and Kat's by 11:15 AM. Next up was a visit to Kurt's parent's house to trade vehicles. While we were there, we had the ‘official’ garden tour complete with a morning snack of fresh cherry tomatoes, firecracker peppers and chocolate mint. I was also introduced to Kobi (the dog) and Gus (the cat). Roy (the other cat) was not to be found.

After transferring all our gear into the Jeep (Kurt's Dad's) we were taking for the trip, we said our good-bye's and headed off. After just a few blocks, we discovered that Kurt's parents had left beer money (thanks!) and the radar detector for our traveling pleasure.

Wanting something light for lunch after the previous long night, we decided to visit Einstein Brothers on Shawnee Mission Parkway in Fairway, KS (still in KC). This also gave us a chance to study the atlas and decide on a rough travel plan for the day.

We finally left Kansas City around 1:00 PM for Day 1 of the trip. Let the adventures begin!!

Columbia, MO - MU

To begin our expedition, we jumped onto I-70 and headed east for the trip to Columbia, MO.

(Click for larger view)

Neither of us had ever driven through the University of Missouri's campus, so that became our first 'official' tour. We were able to see the football stadium - Go Tigers. Other than that, there wasn't much to see to be honest. Mizzou looked a lot like any other campus.

Jefferson City, MO - Capitol of Missouri

Before investigating the actual State Capitol building, Kurt and I explored the Veteran's Memorial beside the Capitol, both of which overlook the Missouri River. This memorial consisted of monuments dedicated to each war in which the United States has been involved. There were also several fountains and another monument dedicated to Missouri Law Officers lost in the line of duty. Eventually, Kurt and I found our way into the building through a maze of construction. Since it was a Saturday, the building was next to deserted. We decided to take a tour of the Capital, however the guard (the only soul we saw in the building) told us the next tour did not start for another 45 minutes. In light of this information, we decided a self-guided tour would be more fun. Our main mission was to get to the highest point of the rotunda and look down into the foyer.

(Click for more pictures
and larger view)

On our quest upward in the building, we were able to find our way into the House Chamber, check out some unlocked offices (shh…), wander through the boiler room, and even venture onto the roof on both sides of the building. We stumbled across a service elevator with padded walls, which was undoubtedly the ticket to the rotunda. However, getting to the highest level required a special key. We were pretty confident we could have achieved our mission if Kurt could have picked the lock.

We took a couple of pictures during the tour (especially the rooms that said "no pictures"), but alas, we were unable to find our way above the 4th floor of the rotunda. **Sigh**

Missouri's Wine Country

Highway 100 through the Missouri River Valley was the next adventure. We didn't have enough time to visit Frankenstein, Missouri, though - perhaps on our next trip (Frankenstein??). The Adam Puchta Winery was the first winery we visited in Herman, MO.

(Click for more pictures)

Kurt and I sampled 4-5 different wines and settled on a sweet white (Vignoles) that pairs with Mexican food. The next stop in Wine Country was Hermannhof Winery. After trying their selection we purchased a red (Norton). The last winery in the saga was Oak Glenn, the newest winery in the area. The vineyards (actually onsite) and tasting room were located on bluffs overlooking the Missouri River and provided a great view of the valley.

St. Louis, MO

As we arrived in the City of the Arch, we looked through our trusty guidebook and found a cheap hotel near downtown. We decided that we could probably stomach a cheaper hotel that night, since most of the downtown hotels were quite pricey - bad decision. This had to be the worst hotel either of us had ever been in. Kurt checked in and the fee was $50 cash - no need for a credit card or drivers license here. We went up to the room and there were no towels, phone, or alarm clock. The bedspread was torn up and the drywall had some holes on the east wall. I discovered some cigarette butts on the floor in the bathroom along with a few demolished floor tiles. We also noticed the door lock was missing some of the screws holding it into the door. Neither one of us felt very comfortable so we decided to go talk to the front desk clerk. The guy there (could you really call him a clerk?) explained there would be a $10 security deposit to get a phone. Wow - that scared both of us even more so we demanded our money back and decided to go elsewhere. We moved a few blocks closer to downtown and checked into the Drury Inn near the TWA Dome. It cost $40 more but it was well worth it.

After lounging around in our room without holes, we decided to get some dinner and check out the bar area. Laclede's Landing ("The Landing" if you're hip) was pretty busy. One of the park squares was blocked off and a Viper owner's convention seemed to have taken over the place. People with nametags were walking around all over the area. We also noticed an abnormal amount of animal print clothing being worn (not sure if this was due to the Viper owners or the fact that we were in St. Louis). We ended up at "Jake's Steaks" for dinner. Their tag line is "The best strip joint in St. Louis". Pretty good food overall - steaks with a southwestern flair. Kurt had to have a Budweiser since he was in St. Louis. I went with the Fat Bastard (no, I don't meant Kurt!), a French Chardonnay. The name drew my attention and I just had to try it. Pretty tasty.

A walk after a big meal seemed like a good idea. The Arch was about 3 blocks from the restaurant so we trotted down there. I had never seen the arch up close, only from the air. Kurt and I checked it out, observing it from all angles and aspects. Unfortunately, after about 15 minutes, a Mountie ran us off explaining the park closed at 11:00 PM. On the way back to The Landing we decided to visit President Casino on the Admiral. Playing it smart we decided $20 of tokens between the two of us should be enough. Ten minutes later Kurt hit 4 Aces on video poker and won $80.00! We decided that was a good stopping point and cashed out with $97.00. Turned out to be a pretty productive 15 minutes!

(Click for more pictures and larger view)

Invigorated from our little win, we headed back to the bars. First up was Planet Hollywood - of course this was a crappy chain bar as always but the movie memorabilia was kind of neat. They also had a local rock band and there wasn't a cover to listen for awhile. Next, we decided to go check out some of the locally owned bars. "The Hair of the Dog" was our first stop; a nice little hole-in-the-wall with a pool table. Kurt got to play two games of pool against a fat little frat boy. The bar's atmosphere was very similar to Auntie Mae's back in Manhattan. You could tell everyone was a 'regular'. On our way to the next bar, we miraculously ran into a few familiar faces; one of my trainers, Dave Field and his wife Jamie. Guess it just goes to show that you can never truly get away from work. The next bar was Morgan Street Brewery - it seemed like a giant Lucky's (old frat bar in Manhattan). The bar had two buildings and a patio; both buildings had 2 stories. They also had pretty good locally brewed beer. After exploring Morgan's, we decided to venture about The Landing some more.

On our way to the next bar, we once again got 'lucky' and watched a great fight spring up right in front of us. One guy had a hammer and was surrounded by 5-6 other guys all trying to get a swing in. After a lot of heated words and a few punches, two uniformed officers went in to break it up. That's when it got exciting - one cop got trampled under the pile and the other cop started swinging his billy club at another part of the crowd. A few minutes later backup arrived on the scene - at least 10 cop cars (2 cops per car). In the end, about 5 people were arrested. Oh - did I mention that all this was in a heavy down pour?

After the excitement, we both needed a drink so we decided to check out another bar called "Bar". Yep - you read it right, that's what it was called. Going into Bar was not a good idea. There was a $5.00 cover for pretty much nothing (and until you had waited in line to get inside, you couldn't tell there was a cover).

(Click for more pictures)

Inside there were about 20 not-so-cute girls dancing on top of the front bar. We found the other bar in the back and got a beer. We also managed to find a back room with pool tables and played two more games. I got some funny looks since I was wearing a T-shirt, shorts and flip-flops (obviously not the usually attire for Bar). Oh well, these folks obviously didn't know we were on vacation.

After experiencing "Bar" it was time to head back to the decent hotel and rest up for the next day. (Day 2)

| HOME | 0 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 |
09.25.2000 -