Expanding Westward

Trip Start Feb 09, 2010
Trip End Mar 17, 2010

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Where I stayed
America's Best Value INn

Flag of United States  , Missouri
Wednesday, February 10, 2010

(written by Justin)
Four states in a day! Easier than you would think. I-24 North out of Nashville quickly launched us out of Tennessee and finally showed us some snow that could survive a full day's sunlight.  We crossed the western tip of Kentucky; nothing remarkable other than the winery we stopped by to try to push the limits of the free tasting system.  Thanks to it being winter, there were no other visitors the entire time we were there so we were offered all of the samples we wanted and had good conversation with the two ladies working there.  Unfortunately their $35/bottle Champagne was not available for tasting - a devastating disappointment for me.

Right after we crossed the Illinois border we saw an exit sign for Metropolis, IL, which I had stumbled across on Google Earth while searching for areas to pit stop in.  A small town hellbent on becoming a tourist landmark as the Superman capital of the US, it was interesting and a little sad at the same time.  Spoiled fat kids from all over the United States rushed into the gift shops and demanded one of every action figure they could get their hands on.  I'm sure they would have loved to buy a Superman costume but the costume designers didn't leave much of a belly pooch area in the stitching, so even our own Eric Cartman had to leave disappointed.  We did get a few good pics and even saw a picture posted on the wall of Obama posing in front of the town's Superman statue.

Back on the road, the five hour drive had turned into more of an eight hour drive due to the stops so I was getting a little bummed.  I had heard of Cracker Barrel's audio book renting system but never checked it out - so we stopped and got two books on CD.  You pay up front for the books ($20-30 each) and return them to any Cracker Barrel in the US for a full refund minus a weekly rental fee of $3.50 a week.  They were a lifesaver and I had no trouble staying alert the rest of the trip. 

Finally as the sun dipped down and touched the horizon we saw the Gateway Arch welcoming us to cross the Mississippi and skate into St. Louis.  If you've never looked at St. Louis' interstate system on a map before - go check it out.  The GPS app was the only thing keeping us from cutting five lanes of traffic trying to figure out where the hell to go

I think Jessica is writing about the restaurant we found - but I'll just say that I'm now officially a fan of Peruvian food.  To find a hotel under $50 we had to travel way up northwest of the city to the "Americas Best Value Inn" where we got a decent room for two nights for $28+tax. 

Off to sleep!

(written by Jessica)

Checkout at 11am, we headed towards St. Louis. First, a quick Taco Bell lunch (no comments, Erin) then continued on our way. Passed scenery with snow (not Georgia snow) so we took a few pictures from the car. We saw signs for the Beachaven Vineyards & Winery and decided to stop by- the first winery we've ever been to. Outside the winery, we saw the skeletons of the grapevines neatly standing in rows above the snow. Clearly not the growing season but we were still eager to visit anyway. We tried a couple sweet wines (not so much my favorite) and one called the "Barrelhead Red" that I really enjoyed.

Justin wanted to stop at Metropolis, IL- the hometown of Superman- and I was all for it. "That's the name of his town in the comic books? Yeah, sure!" I said. Metropolis, a small and somewhat depressing-looking town, was where we found the huge Superman statue in front of the courthouse (or post office). Superman was large and gaudy, just how we were expecting him to be. Across the way was a Dippin' Dots store where we got some strawberry cheesecake Dots. They even make Dippin' Dots cakes there! On the wall inside we spotted a picture of a Superman-mimicking Obama standing in front of the large statue. He really stopped in this little town?

Continuing on we found a Peruvian restaurant called "Mango" in the city; we planned to have dinner there. $5 parking since all the meters were taken, and we walked over to the restaurant. $2 beers (good beers) with plantain chips and a guacamole-type dipping sauce. Mmm! Dinner was also delicious: For me, spaghetti pasta with a cheesy, traditional Peruvian sauce. For Justin, stir-fried beef with onions that he really enjoyed. Headed to the inexpensive hotel and found we couldn't access wireless Internet. Oh well, maybe we'll get to update the blog tomorrow.
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Randi on

We saw the Superman City on the travel channel. It looks like so much fun!
I hope you guys are having a great time! We miss you in ATL

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