Day 1: Gateway To The West
The weather was more Indiana-in-August-like than it had been in weeks, the kind of weather in which no matter how high the A/C is set, you’re still clammy. I didn’t get as early a start today as I’d have liked, but I was up too late getting this site operational to do any packing, so by the time I hit Greenwood, Indiana, it was well past lunchtime, so a trip to Mrs. Curl Ice Cream Shoppe seemed like a good idea.
One of my favorite things in the world is a coney dog, and the coney dogs at Mrs. Curl are the best I’ve ever had. The menu boasts of the wieners’ origin—some deliberately and secretively unnamed place in New York— and each one is cooked to order on the grill, then topped with a particularly flavorful meat sauce. Paired with a peanut butter malt, it’s a fine, filling meal.
The road to St. Louis isn’t particularly interesting. I stopped in Terre Haute for coffee at The Coffee Grounds, honoring the Rules Of The Trip (one of which is to avoid chain restaurants unless absolutely necessary). Americana—their spelling, not mine—in hand, I soldiered on. Having made the trip to St. Louis countless times in the last six or seven years, the Giant Cross in Effingham, Illinois, is always a welcome sight, as it lets me know I’ve made it halfway across Illinois.
As much as I’ve driven past, I’ve only stopped once. It was starting to rain, so I shot this at 65mph.
Still full of coney dog and anticipating dinner with my friends John & Marie, I skipped Mario’s in Greenville on this leg of the trip, but since the second leg of the trip will likely start at home and take me down the Mississippi to New Orleans, I figured there’s time to make it again later.
Dinner at Iron Barley was pretty great, and much better than my maiden trip there a couple months ago, in which I had a rather unfortunate encounter with a sun-dried tomato seafood barley risotto that was terrible (just writing that makes me realize I should’ve known better). Two giant smoked pork chops on a bed of a slightly better barley risotto, followed by the dessert of all desserts: the Peanut Butter Blaster, which isn’t at all what it sounds like. It’s a peanut butter ice cream pie in a chocolate cookie crust, topped with a chili-laced fresh whipped cream and surrounded by a sweet/hot strawberry-habanero sauce. It’s unbelievably good.
Tomorrow’s a busy day, continuing to round up supplies and do a little sightseeing before heading toward Kansas City. See you on the other side…