The original destination was Kansas City but we were tipped off that the University of Kansas located in Lawrence might be a more fun place. Either way we had a long drive through Kansas ahead of us.
Driving in Kansas is terrible. I thought seeing the flatness and the open sky would be awesome, but it was brutal. It doesn’t change. We stopped for gas and a sandwich from the cooler and saluted the West. The more east we drove the sadder it became that the trip was wrapping up.
Eventually it turned to night which I was almost happy for just so that I didn’t have to see the same monotonous background for hour after hour. Many hundreds of miles later we finally made it to Lawrence. We were pretty tired but there was some good college basketball games finishing up, so we stopped in The Sandbar to watch the ending on the big screens. It looked like everyone knew each other here and everyone seemed completely wasted so I figured it would be wise to just keep to ourselves and watch the end of the games.
A couple minutes after sitting down we set up the GoPro to grab some video footage for our video. These girls to the left started asking us questions. “Are you recording for that video?” Umm. I have no idea what you’re talking about. “No, we’re from New Jersey, road tripping all around the country. We’re just stopping in here to catch the end of the basketball game and then we’re heading to Kansas City.” I’m not asking any questions because I don’t want any trouble. Out of nowhere, Paul Bunyan decides to jump on top of the table we’re sitting at, kicking a pint glass off the table in the process and plops down in between Mikey and I and these annoying girls. “Hi. I’m Paul Bunyan. This is my girlfriend. Who are you?” Alright, bro. “I’m Joe and this is Mikey and we’re from NJ and are road tripping.” “You’re from New Jersey, huh? Where at in New Jersey?” Now I’m in the middle of nowhere, USA, and someone’s asking me where in New Jersey I’m from. I’m pretty sure there are no places in NJ that people from outside of the state are familiar with. “I’m kind of by New Brunswick, nearby Rutgers.” “Oh. I have no idea about anything in New Jersey, but my buddy from the Army lives in Newark.” At this point all of Paul’s group of drunken bros are surrounding our table. I’m not too worried about it though. Mikey and I are ninjas and can dismantle this group with ease if we have to. “That’s cool. Newark is a little rough. I’ve been mugged in Newark, but there are some cool spots there.” Go Red Bulls, I’m thinking. “Cool.” Then Paul Bunyan and his group of mini-Paul Bunyan’s head to the bar to get some more drinks. I think they have a shot of the hour thing there where the bartender spins the wheel and whatever shot it lands on is sold for a discount. Whizzzz… tick, tick, tick. It lands on Fireball. Damn it, that’s just what Paul Bunyan needs.
We get back to watching the game. Of course it goes into overtime. Typical March Madness. “Has anyone ever told you that you look like Macklemore?” Omg, girl. Go buzz off. Stop instigating. “Oh yea, I get that a lot.” Which I don’t understand anyway since my hair and Macklemore’s hair are pretty different, so is our style of clothing and basically everything. The game finishes up and Mikey and I bee-line it for the door and hop in the car.
We head into Kansas City and drive around. It’s dead. There’s loud music playing from some club but there is no one around. We drive around some more and eventually make our way to a Wal-Mart for the night. It didn’t look like the safest place to spend the night so we left and headed eastward to St. Louis for another half hour or so to find a Wal-Mart that looks a little nicer. We knock right out.
When we wake up we make the drive out to St. Louis. We look for a place to stay. At the first place we get to the guy tries to tell us the rate is higher than the rate that I’m staring at on my phone. Alright. Well see ya. We go too another place that looks really sketchy. Nope. Finally we get to a Motel 6. It’s amazing. It must be some sort of flagship Motel 6. It’s three stories with an elevator and it looks like it’s brand new. Awesome. After freshening up, we’re off to St. Louis.
St. Louis is a neat town. The Gateway Arch looks pretty awesome as you drive in. Architecture like the Gateway Arch is great. There’s no purpose or need for it but it adds character to the city and generates a lot of awesomeness. The world needs more Gateway Arches.
One of the goals for the trip was to score some good bbq. St. Louis is definitely one of the top bbq places in the country. Pappy’s Smokehouse is the place to go for some good ribs. We got there and there was a huge line that wrapped around this side hallway of the building. It ends up being around a 40 minute wait. Wow, pretty busy we thought. The guy at the door said that it was a slow day. A lot of times you have to wait hours to get your food. After tasting those ribs I probably would wait in line forever for them.
We order a rack of ribs, some brisket, sweet potato fries, and some potato salad. Everything is good but the ribs are amazing. They give you four different barbeque sauces that you can add and they are all pretty delicious. Man, those ribs were delicious. I could go for another rack just thinking about them.
One of the places that we heard was great to check out was the City Museum (thanks cuz!). You can’t really explain the place. It’s not what you think at all. It’s awesome. And you can’t really explain it. There’s an outside which is sort of like this playground for people of all ages, adults included. If you look at this picture you’ll see there’s a plane hanging in midair. You can climb up to the plane. Also in the picture you can see people climbing off the wing of the plane. They’re heading to this huge slide that circles around the outside. There’s stuff like this all over. The outside has this huge dodge ball pit that is total ruckus. The museum itself has a school bus hanging off of the edge which you can climb out onto. There are slides all over this place. It’s like you’re living a game of shoots and ladders.
The inside is just as crazy. There’s this massive 10-story cave with all these crevices and tunnels and stuff. It’s huge. You can get lost in there. At the top is another slide that goes all the way down to the bottom. There’s a skate park inside that you can run around on. Rope swings. A human sized hamster wheel. Oh yea, a bar. There are actual museum things in there like old antiques too. And an aquarium. City Museum is a wild mish mash of eccentric things. It’s architecturally brilliant. I’ve never seen a place that could be enjoyed and appreciated by such a wide age range of people.
After hanging at the City Museum we strolled around town. Eventually we decided to check out Europe Night Club for some electronic dance music. I kind of never understood how to dance to EDM. I guess I’ll just always be a hip-hop head. The place was alright. Mikey and I threw down on the dance floor as best as we could. This really creepy kid was following me around the club so that was a little annoying. Seemed like he was having a pretty weird trip. We got out of there at close and headed back to our place and grabbed some good sleep for the drive to Kentucky.
The drive to Louisville was par for the course. We scoped out a place to get some good food and ended up choosing Hammerhead’s. Kind of lame that it was on the outskirts of town in the suburbs, but just as well. Louisville isn’t the best of towns. Nothing much to do there. Dinner at Hammerhead’s was good. I went with the Pork Belly Lettuce Tomato (PBLT) and Mikey got a burger. We also grabbed truffle fries which I thought were outstanding.
After dinner we drove around Louisville looking for a place to catch some more college basketball games. We ended up near the University of Louisville before deciding we were a little tired and just wanted to head out to my sister’s house in Magnolia. When we got there we had to wait around for a little because she was moving livestock with her boyfriend which was just as good with Mikey and I. We grabbed a nap in the car until they showed up. Mikey and I went right to bed and then we caught up with my sister and her boyfriend over breakfast buffet at the Iron Skillet buffet the next morning. On the way out we grabbed some Stage Planks, which are pretty mush just gingerbread cookies with a terrible name and product packaging.
We said our goodbyes and headed off for home. The drive home was fairly uneventful. We did run into the most dangerous situation of the trip. There was someone driving in our lane going in the opposite direction. They were in the left lane, we happened to be one lane over so we were alright. It was the sort of unexpected thing that your mind almost processes too late. Swerving out of the way of that car would have been disastrous.
As we got closer to home we made plans to meet up with some of the homies to share stories. We pulled up to a gas station right on the New Jersey border and I got out to pump my own gas (something I like to do way more than having it pumped for me like is required here in NJ) and the guy jumps over to me yelling that I can’t pump my own gas. “Oh. Are we in New Jersey?” “Yes. I’ll take it from here.”
After about another hour driving we were back in town. We grabbed a victory beer and some food and met up with some of the guys and told stories about the trip. All in all it was one hell of a trip. It kicked some serious ass. Video and details from the trip will be up soon!