Saturday, January 21, 2012

XCD Day 5: Missouri Hick

The 5th day was another planned long day.  We didn't have any visits along the way, so we were trying to get through Oklahoma and as far into Missouri as possible.  We were trying to meet a friend in St. Louis before our final stretch to Kentucky.  I don't really expect any of you (especially you Californians, and except for FoXxXy) to know this geography off the top of your heads, which is why I keep including maps.

Day #5
By this point in the trip, we had eaten all of the food we had packed in coolers for lunches and snacks.  So, we had to stop for lunch.  I Urbanspoon'd while we drove and found some fun-looking, local, gourmet hot dog place in Joplin, MO, just over the state line from OK.  We were driving down the main strip from the freeway to downtown Joplin when I saw a Taco Bell that looked like a bomb went off inside.  All I thought was "Where the fuck did we get off the freeway?"

The Taco Bell still looks exactly like this, except without the cars or people.  Some of the trash has been picked up, too.
It wasn't until we were eating and Annie said something like 'it looks like a tornado went through here' that the headline popped into my head.  A tornado tore through Joplin, MO, in May, 2011.  Having been there more than 6 months later, it still looks like somebody with a giant Pink Pearl eraser cleaned 1/3 of the town off the map.  You can see the path of devastation carved into the land still.  There are a few houses being rebuilt, but for the most part, it still looks beat to hell.  It made me happy that we stopped there and spent money.  It wasn't much, but they could use all the help they can get.  It also made me feel a little like Forrest Gump.  We had been present at a lot of the best and worst of the country in such a short time span.

Unlike the day before, this day ended pretty much where we had planned:  Cuba, Missouri.  Again, Cuba seemed like a sign, since it was such a random-ass name of a town in the Ozarks.  (Everywhere down there claims to be in the middle of the Ozarks.  Okay.  Whatever.)  It led to the gastronomical highlight of the trip for me.  Maybe because my stomach was done with Bdubs, or the brilliant Whole Foods curry chicken salad clone that we had stocked the cooler with, or maybe because I just had really low expectations at this point.

We decided to try another local restaurant, but this one was called Missouri Hick Bar B Que.  It was recommended to us by the fat lady behind the counter at the seedy motel we decided to stay in.  (Well, that or the nearby Huddle House, whatever that is.)  If we're being real, I was a little nervous to go inside.  It really sounds like it's a place where pretty, little, white, city boys like yours truly get their asses kicked by, well, Missouri hicks.  However, it turned out to be a swinging family joint.

And the food was amazing!  They have an array of sauces at your table for you to try on all kinds of spectacular barbecue.  I can't even remember if I got a sampler, or if I made Annie.  All I remember is shoveling in spoonfuls after forkfuls of great bbq.  Seriously, it made me so happy to be back in this part of the country.  I bought a shirt that says "Every Butt Needs A Good Rub" with a picture of a pig's butt on the back.  I haven't taken it off yet.

Seriously, eat at MO Hick BBQ if you're ever traveling through,

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