Monday, January 23, 2012

XCD Day 6: Gateway to the Midwest

Our second-to-last day took us through St. Louis, MO.  Annie has a close friend there, so we were excited to meet up with someone who'd be in 'our part of the country'.

Day #6
We started by taking Angel to a large park in the middle of St. Louis, since he'd been itching for some outdoor time.  We immediately liked the city.  It felt so much like Ann Arbor that I was extremely jealous.  I know it has a bad rep for a city, but let's be real, we were moving from Oakland.  How much worse can anything be than Oakland?

We met up with her friend, and it was actually really fun.  It made me happy that we were just a quick drive away from each other.  I foresee some crazy, commuting weekends.  Or maybe we'll meet in Indianapolis for some debauchery.  Who knows!  The one complaint that I have about St. Louis:  the arch is a joke.  When Annie and I first talked of taking the southern route across the country, I had two landmarks that I wanted to see:  the Grand Canyon and the Arch.  The Gateway to the West.  Well, it turns out that it's not that big.  It stole all of the underwhelming feelings that I had reserved for the Grand Canyon.  I wanted it to be looming in the skyline as soon as we were within city limits.  Annie didn't even notice it until we were on top of it driving into Illinois.  We were going to stop there and ride the elevator, but once I saw it, I said we should just continue on.  Who wants to ride a choad monument?

See if you can even find the arch in this picture. I feel like most Google Images of StL are fake. It's really not that big.

This day's driving ended in Evansville, IN.  We knew a girl that had went to school here, so we again took it as a sign.  Getting a hotel was uneventful, except the prices seemed to have gone up while the quality has gone down dramatically since leaving the Southwest.  We were interested in finding another local eatery, and we were feeling adventurous after a bunch of success in Missouri.  We found a Thai place that was highly rated on Urbanspoon and Google (granted, with very few reviewers).  So, we decided to try it.  How bad could it be?

Driving there felt like the opening scenes of a horror movie.  We pulled off the main road.  Off a side road.  Over some railroad tracks, and to the end of a tiny road.  Handmade signs were posted for Thai Chow Oriental Foods, but it pretty much just looked like a barn.  Fuck it, we went in.  Sure enough, an old Thai lady was in the back whipping up something that smelled delicious, and a bunch of rednecks swarmed around her helping in the kitchen and ringing up food up front.

Most people ordered to go.  We saw a half-dozen orders get picked up while we were there.  For the few patrons that had to wait around a minute or two, great conversations were had.  We were told how everyone loves this place, even though it's practically an underground, hole-in-the wall.  Everyone was super nice, and the food was actually pretty good.  Like, I'll probably eat there next time I'm driving through Indiana.  It was super strange, but had the greatest small-town feel.  We were starting to get excited about the people in the Midwest again.  (Some people think KY is the South.  Glance at a map.)

Almost Home!

Unexpected Food #3, if you're counting,

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