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  1. #1

    Default US50 - Washington DC to San Francisco in 13 days

    DAYS 1 -3

    Flew into Dulles and, after a bout of the usual boneheaded, arrogant incompetence from immigration officials, headed West.

    Stayed in Wingate Inn in Winchester, VA, the apple capital of the US apparently. Lots of apple-related things. Nice little town. Hotel not so great. On the way through rural West Virginia, we stopped off at the charming Cool Springs Park, owned by E Harlan Castle, and a general store/machinery graveyard. Absolutely fascinating. Especially the Udder Butter. The drive through liquor store a few miles previously was interesting too.

    Stopped off for lunch at Salem for lunch - good, solid food but have forgotten the name of the place, sorry. Detour to Philippi to see the 285ft covered wooden bridge. Drove in lovely late afternoon light through farmland headed towards Chillicothe, OH, and the Green House B&B, a thoroughly lovely establishment run by Tom and Dee Shoemaker. The town was quiet - it was Mothering Sunday - and there were no decent downtown restaurants open so we headed out to the chain restaurants where we had a fairly miserable meal in Bob Evans served by and even more miserable waitress.

    The Green House B&B made up for it - a really nice place in a perfect little town [although it would probably describe itself as a 'city'].

    Off in the morning towards the Ohio River scenic byway. Really lovely drive. Stopped off at Madison, Indiana. We could live here. Really special town, with a vaguely bohemian feel and a thriving downtown. [I later e-mail the local newspaper's editor asking if he has any positions available - the rude beggar doesn't even acknowledge my correspondence] Head off back towards US-50 through beautiful farm roads. Rejoin US-50 at Seymour. Pleasant rolling farmland all the way.

    We stay in Lawrenceville, Illinois at Cloud 9 B&B. Really nice room, very pleasant host, Elaine, but bizarre breakfast. Our host claimed she wanted to cook us a breakfast that reminded us of England but the resultant concoction would perhaps only remind us of Alice in Wonderland. A cinnamon-flavoured giant Yorkshire pudding filled with sausages, peaches and squirty cream. Truly odd but very memorable, if not for all the right reasons.

    MORE TO COME SOON
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 07-07-2008 at 04:29 PM. Reason: Added some white spaces for clarity

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Surreal Indeed

    Thanks for the report, Paolo. It's always good to see ourselves through another's eyes. Although I must say, I have no idea what "Mothering Sunday" is. Mother's Day is next week, so I don't think that's what you ran into. I must say that I tend to agree wholeheartedly with a few of your basic observations:

    West Virginia and southern Ohio and Indiana are lovely places to drive through and the people are endearing.

    Chain restaurants are my food of last resort when I'm on the road. My venue of choice is a downtown diner in a 'city' of 3000-5000 people.

    Bed & Breakfasts are a great way to stay in order to meet the locals and experience something (even if "memorable") that you never would otherwise.

    Look forward to more of your observations.

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Squirty Cream? LOL

    That would be tough to take first thing in the morning? How was this concoction? It was sweet of her to try, anyway.

    I'm trying to figure out what Mothering Sunday is myself.

    I'm looking forward to your next installment. Sounds like you had a fun trip.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Surreal and a real adventure!

    Quote Originally Posted by Paolo99 View Post
    We were headed for Lawrenceville, Illinois, which turned out to be a slightly down-at-heel town with a Mexican restaurant selling gallons of margarita for about $1. We overindulge and end up with some locals in a bar drinking to the imminent incarceration of one of our fellow revellers' brothers. I am asked to say a few words in tribute to a convicted felon who I have never met. Surreal.
    Yep, sounds like a real adventure -- thanks for the news!

    Mark

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Keithville, LA
    Posts
    638

    Default Can't wait for the rest

    So far it sounds like you had an interesting time to say the least.

    A cinnamon-flavoured giant Yorkshire pudding filled with sausages, peaches and squirty cream. Truly odd but very memorable, if not for all the right reasons.
    Oh my. I guess that was memorable. Did you actually eat it? If so, you're a much better sport than I would have been.

    Laura

  6. #6

    Default Days 4 - 6

    After waking up in Lawrenceville with swollen right hand - don't ask me, it was a long evening - and enjoying our breakfast we set off at 11.30am. Terribly late by our standards but the circumstances were mitigating.

    After reading that Missouri was dull we decided to head straight for Council Grove, Kansas. That meant a journey of 500 or so miles and using interstates. We drove for 3 hours on I-70, but after driving through St Louis [nice arch but wow does most of it look run down, from the interstate at least] I couldn't bear being on the interstate [everyone was driving so aggressively] so we ducked off and headed into Missouri's heartland. It was an enchanting drive. Ok, so it's not exactly Utah but it is most certainly a green and pleasant land.

    Except for the monumentally unpleasant establishment that was Tanzannio's, a restaurant/club plumb in the middle of nowhere, not a million miles from Jefferson City. We were hungry so needed to stop but.....
    It was an underground bunker crammed full of stuffed animals that stunk to high heaven. The owner, a rabidly enthusiastic hunter, stopped to chat with us while we ate our unimpressive food, and dropped enough hints for us to realise that he probably thought giving women and non-white Americans the right to vote was something of a retrograde step in the development of American society. We left sharpish and did not leave a tip.

    After that encounter we spent an hour or two driving down through central Missouri until we reached Jefferson City, a nice enough community despite it being more or less bereft of downtown hotels. Finally found the Capital Plaza and were also lucky enough to spot a stealth bomber gliding a mile or so. Booked an executive suite and gave in to our monstrous hangovers.

    Good breakfast at Capital Plaza - not our usual kind of establishment but it was a decent hotel - before setting off at 10am.
    Tried to get gain admittance to the B2 airbase at Whiteman, Knob Noster, but you have to be sponsored by someone from the airbase
    US-50 from Jefferson City to Kansas City is undeniably dull. Our guidebook recommended a fried chicken place called Stroud's which we eventually found but it had ceased trading some months earlier.

    Instead we headed downtown to Gates BBQ. Enjoyed very messy but absolutely delicious food. Then to my most eagerly anticipated part of the trip. Kansas.

    The drive from KC to Council Grove was all that I had hoped. There's something about the wide open pastoral spaces that bring out the Wordsworth in me. Before we reached Council Grove we passed through an equally pretty town, Burlingame.

    Booked into the honeymoon suite of the Cottage House Hotel - simple but really excellent - and headed out to the oldest restaurant west of the Mississippi, Hays House. I had some great chicken while my girlfriend enjoyed "the best chilli I've ever had." Little walk around Council Grove before bed.

    Next day we set off early for Cottonwood Falls, the town that features heavily in William Least Heat Moon's Prairyerth, his follow-up to Blue Highways, the book that got me so interested in road trips in the first place (Bill Bryson's Lost Continent played its part too). A really stunning little town but the Reuben sandwich at the Emma Chase Cafe was vastly overpriced. Temperature already in 90s.

    Head west across rolling prairie that I find unaccountably beautiful and mesmerising. Stop in Kinsley - halfway between New York and San Francisco - to photogrph big train engine.

    At Ingalls we encounter cattle Glastonbury - hundreds of thousands of smelly cows in vast feed yards. The stench is catastrophic. The land becomes even flatter. Apparently the US-50 here in winter is often closed due to snowdrifts. Difficult to believe now when the temperature is 98.

    We find Sunnylands B&B in Garden City, a nice enough little town. We'd hoped to stay downtown in the Windsor Hotel but it's closed. Such a shame. We encounter literally dozens of defunct downtown hotels on this trip. Is there nothing that can be done? This is heritage being p*****d away.
    The B&B is really nice, however, well decorated and comfy.

    MORE TO COME SOON

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by lhuff View Post
    So far it sounds like you had an interesting time to say the least.



    Oh my. I guess that was memorable. Did you actually eat it? If so, you're a much better sport than I would have been.

    Laura
    I not only ate mine but my girlfriend's too. She had gone green at the sight of the concoction and I felt a little guilty that our host had gone to so much trouble. I took one for the team.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default You are the man!

    Quote Originally Posted by Paolo99 View Post
    I took one for the team.
    Gosh, that description makes my tummy ache....

    Mark

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Keithville, LA
    Posts
    638

    Default

    hundreds of thousands of smelly cows in vast feed yards
    Eeww. I've run into those out west a few times. Almost put me off of meat. Almost. I am from the Deep South after all.

    were also lucky enough to spot a stealth bomber gliding a mile or so.
    This is why I love to read other people's field reports. They are awed by things that are common place to me and that I have forgotten are really incredible sights no matter how many times you see them. I've lived along the flight path of Barksdale Air Force Base for most of my life. I think it's the only base that still has the B-52s. But, seeing them and other aircraft on such a consitent basis makes one almost blase. Thanks for reminding me to look up more often.

    Laura
    Last edited by lhuff; 05-07-2007 at 11:52 AM. Reason: Added Link

  10. #10

    Default Good to hear your story!

    That yorkshire pud thing sounded shocking - well done for stomaching two of them! I hope no one ever subjects me to that!!

    Laura may not be impressed with the aircraft, but I was! You don't see so many of them in Essex, eh? Mind you, I guess I know what she means, I think I was the only person in the world who hated Concorde. Noisy flaming thing. It used to come over four times a day and I couldn't hear myself think!

    Keep up the good work with the story, makes me want to get out there again.

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