Day 2: Corn, Crosses and the Arch

Mom's Attic

We got a late start again but was optimistic about the day. The truck was handling much better. I started off the driving and later in the morning Craig and I swapped.

We finally made it to Indiana and trying to make as good of time as possible. Indiana greeted us with a massive metal cross on the border, and then fields and fields of corn. The biggest cross I’ve ever seen was still to come. Craig and I couldn’t remember which state it was in when we drove through in 2004. It’s certainly unforgettable.

Even Larger Metal Cross

We made it through Indianapolis and with the time crunch I was only able to send a virtual beep beep to my friend Kevin who lives there.

Indianapolis

Next up was Illinois; more corn. Lots and lots of corn. Based on the amount of corn being produced in just the I-80 corridor all I can think is America has a serious problem with high fructose corn syrup. There’s no way all that corn was going to items like corn on the cob, corn meal, corn flour, canned corn.

Indiana Farms

Our goal was to get to St. Louis to sleep for the evening. I really wanted to get a picture of the arches. We decided to stop for dinner before St. Louis to avoid the rush hour traffic. Wishful thinking.

Back on the road at 6:30pm with still an hour to go before getting into St. Louis we started down the road and I noticed something coming off the side of the moving truck. Initially I thought they had blown a tire, but then Craig smelled it. They hit a bump again and gasoline was spraying out the side. We pulled over right away. The gas cap was not placed back on after the last fill up.

Welcome to St. Louis

We finally made it to St. Louis around 7:45pm at night only to get stuck in gridlocked traffic. All day my friend Kevin from Indianapolis had been warning us that the interchange from 55 to 44 was very hairy. Not only was the corner very sharp, but the lane changes and what you think is the exit is not, but rather for another interstate. To add insult to injury the construction had a whole interstate area closed. On ramps to get back on were closed.

As much prep work with the detailed directions Kevin gave us, Craig and I took the right route but my Mom and Dan got off the wrong one because they listened to their GPS. Worse more was their GPS took them off the highway that would have just been a detour and dumped them on to the streets of St. Louis to be rerouted.

Meanwhile Craig and I made it to the hotel to realize it was no where near what was described. Abandoned buildings all around it. Large parties of people with lots and lots of kids who were running around checking in. Super 8 had booked smoking rooms because of the pets. Eww! The front desk clerk was frustrated and offered to cancel our reservations. We gladly accepted.

All the while my Mom and Dan were still lost in St. Louis trying to make it this way. I started calling area hotels trying to get rooms that did non-smoking, cats and a truck with trailer. Holiday Inn saved the day. We made the reservation and drove straight over. When I walked in the woman was so nice, she said, “oh my, you look really frazzled.” She gave us complimentary breakfast.

We got to our rooms and tensions were quite high. Misunderstandings combined with crankiness ended up having tensions explode and everyone decided to just call it a night.

The positive to the day is I got some nice photos of the St. Louis Arch with a sunset backdrop.

Gateway to the West

More photos on Flickr.