Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Last Day

So this is the last day of what will always be known as the most epic road trip ever! I'd like to say Par and I took it easy with the food and touring, but that wouldn't really be our style...we champed through the whole day!

Blue Sky:
We started the morning with coffee, scones, and waffles! Although the waffles were pretty terrible, the scone was amazing! and the coffee wasn't half bad. The cute part about this stop is the mom and pop owned coffee house. When Par and I walked in there was a knitting club chilling in the siting area. Everything in the restaurant is gluten free and organic-and amazing! (again, save for the waffles which were still frozen and terrible).

Ritz Carlton: 
Then I took Par to this hotel! We didn't eat, or even stay long, but I just wanted to show here this awesome hotel! Unfortunately it was pretty crummy weather, but this pictures shows the best view with the best possible weather!

Ok, this was my highlight-not sure if it's Par's but I know it's up there. This place was recommended by my dad and he pushed for me to sit at the bar-it was also featured on Diners Drive in and Dives! Par chatted with the bartender, told him of our mission (to eat everything in the world) and he brought us out his favorite dish at the restaurant-chili and artichoke soup COMBINED! It was epic. We then moved to the pie....I don't even know what it was called or what kind of hybrid berry was used, but it was seriously incredible. I will take everyone I know to this place....

We spent the better half of the afternoon shopping around Main Street and playing with all the fun stores! We chilled at the Wine Shop off Main Street, tasted some pretty good wine and cheese, and bought a ton of stuff. Then we popped on over to the bread mecca off Main Street-Moonside Bakery!

Flying Fish: 
We ate grilled shrimp tacos. They were delicious, but Par decided the lobster tacos in San Diego were the best!

My dad ended up making Cioppino later for his birthday-and it was delicious!

Later that evening I drove Par to the airport. It was so sad to see her go considering what a wonderful time we had, but I'm pretty sure she's just as ready to be home as I was. It was an incredible trip and there is no doubt she and I will vacation again! (and eat our weight in food!)

June 7: Baby Sister Time...

Wine Tasting: 
 Becca took us to this great little place in the morning for wine tasting. We had an incredible view, each had a flight of wine, and chatted with the pour lady.

Then Becca took me and Par to this great little place in Pismo beach. Their specialty is clam chowder in a bread bowl and Par wanted to go (surprise surprise). This particular chowder was pretty decent (not excellent) but the bread bowl was to die for. It had a buttered and toasted top and toasted bottom-Par and I ate the whole thing. Becca scarfed on chili fries and I swallowed some calamari-awesome.

Then Becca and I shared our first margarita by the beach. She is finally 21, and I waited all those years to drinking a fruity drink with her by the beach.

After great food and a delicious margarita, Becca took me and Par to hold puppies. Yea, you heard me right. We spent the afternoon holding $800 dogs! After this trip, I want several puppies....

Madonna Inn:
AKA a family favorite. It's this ridiculously decorated hotel, cheesy as ever, and has amazing steaks and pies. We also did a wine tasting there-in Becca's words: "It's like wine tasting franzia" hahaha...Par and I couldn't agree more! The strawberry shortcake however...was to die for! Highly recommended. 

After that visit, Par and I were pretty exhausted. We piled in the car and headed to Half Moon Bay. By this point I was exhausted, as was Par, and were were ready to be home-me in HMB her in Indiana. Four hours later, we made it home safe and sound, and I gave my mother a ginormous hug! We went to sushi later that evening for dinner, but it was pretty bad and not totally worth mentioning. The most important thing was Par and I made it to HMB, we got more fish, and crashed on the couch. Good final road trip day for sure!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Day 6: June 6

The Secret Spot:
Trev took us to one of his favorite places-The Secret Spot-otherwise known for it's vegan food. Now, Par and I aren't exactly vegan eaters, nor are we really vegetarian eaters (I know, I know-I went through that phase but it is LOOOOONG passed) so we were both a little skeptical. I even ordered the fake turkey on my omelet to be sure I really tried new food. Surprisingly, it was delicious! Par actually took a liking to the imitation meat! We said goodbye to Trev and continued on our way to LA, Santa Barbara, and San Louis to see Becca!!!

I really didn't want to stop here. I hate LA, it's not for me, and it's annoying to drive through. But considering Par is an out of towner, and i haven't visited Hollywood for at least 5 years, we decided to swing through. My memories of Hollywood are of a crummy and dingy street with creepy hooker stores on the corner and homeless men everywhere-luckily this is not the case anymore. Hollywood boulevard has really gone through a transformation and looks closer to a small version of Vegas rather than 38th st (for all you Indy people). It was nice to drive through, change my opinion of the place, show Par "the Hollywood sign!" and continue driving through bumper to bumper traffic.

Santa Barbara:
When I did a southern California road trip with my friend Ness, this was one of my favorite stops; same thing stands true for this trip. There is just something so endearing about this little city/town right on the water and flooded with tourists. Par and I grabbed pretty decent crispy shredded beef tacos, deep fried and grilled mahi mahi tacos (total of 3). We walked along the pier, grabbed some salt water taffy and a stroll on the boardwalk beach.

Wine tasting at the Wandering Dog Wine Bar-this would probably be a favorite of the Tortorich parents. The wine bottles have pictures of dogs on them, and a story on the back about each dog that the wine is named after-this is a real place. The service wasn't excellent, but the wine was decent and Par and I befriended some older guys next to us from Boston. Par spent a good 20 minutes talking to them about places to go, and food to order on her next trip to the east coast in a few weeks! Only disappointment is we wanted to try these appleskeever things-but everyplace we walked to was closed (sad face) but we got to walk around the town for a bit anyway it was pretty cool little place.

Police Encounter number 928709847325:
I'm pretty sick of police officers let me tell you. As we left Solvang and were almost immediately pulled over. I was going the speed limit, we BOTH had seat belts on, I wasn't talking on the phone, nothing. I had no clue what we were pulled over for. Officer shows up, asks "Do you know why I pulled you over" my response, "Nope, I honestly have no idea." He then informs me that my plates are expired (by a month) and my registration needs to be updated. I tell him I'm on my way home and can fix that ASAP when I'm home, but clearly could do nothing about it at the moment. He writes me a fix-it ticket, talks to me and Par about where the police see their money (he was very nice, but a bit of a talker, both Par and I wanted to get the heck out of there). Then I let it slip that I graduated law school, what does he do then? TRIES TO RECRUIT ME FOR CHP! It was so strange, he's telling me about all the opportunities there are, and how law students really enjoy it, bla bla bla...I'm thinking, "Please give me my ticket and let me get to my've been talking to me for waaaay too long." Thirty minutes later....we're off.

The Cliffs:
Finally visited  my sister at her restaurant. She is the hostess at the Cliffs and she looks so cute behind the welcome booth! Par and I sat in the bar and waited for her to finish working. Par ordered ahi fish tacos. Not one, but two....surprised?

After Party:
In true Cross Country girls form, Par and I were beat and had little to no energy to go out with Bec. Luckily, by the time we got home it was like 10:30 and she was beat too. We had a glass of wine, sat at her adorable apartment table, tried some of her restaurant ribeye with potatoes and bacon and just hung out. Par and I passed out at like 11 and woke up at 7 am...what's wrong with us?

Today's Adventure: 
Today we are going to do the following (hopefully)

  • Pismo Beach-home of the clam chowder with the buttered toasted top
  • Hold the puppies in the store....favorite thing I did there last time! 
  • Madonna Inn-a family favorite. It's difficult to describe so just wait for pictures...
  • Wine tasting and mimosas 
  • Tour around Becc's campus a bit
  • Head down Highway 1 and play around Santa Cruise for a bit
  • HOME!!!! and maybe sushi...but def HOME!!!!

Day 5: June 5 - The day we ate everything...

So far, Meg has been pretty impressed by the amount of food I have eaten on this trip... she hasn't seen anything yet.  I can't get seafood or tacos or sushi this good in the Midwest, so I'm binging.  Don't judge -- I'm making up for my last trip to San Fran when I refused to eat seafood.  

I was thrilled to find that Meg's friend Brian, who we met last night, is a major foodie just like myself.  He even prepares his steaks exactly the same way, and we were finishing each other's sentences as we described our favorite foods and preparations.  Needless to say, we took his every restaurant recommendation, which lead to us eating about a zillion times between last night and today.

Coconut crusted french toast with a raspberry puree.  I'm not normally a fan of coconut, but this was stellar.  It was made with coconut bread and crusted with toasted coconut.  With the tart raspberry sauce, it was a great combo.

La Jolla:
Next, we drove to beautiful La Jolla and walked along the cliffs to see the seals.  We had another scare with the car when we noticed bright green fluid gushing from the front, but a few calls to the boyfriend and a quick visit with a mechanic helped us get back onto the road quickly.

Lunch: Part I
Probably an hour after breakfast, we stopped off at a fishmonger for first lunch.  At Brian's recommendation, we shared a seared ahi tuna and avocado sandwich and clam chowder.  Both were amazing -- though the clam chowder didn't compare to Anthony's in SD!

Lunch: Part II
Probably another hour later, we stopped for second lunch with one of Meg's friends from college and her boyfriend.  We sat along the water and ate grilled halibut tacos.  Meg was a tad grossed out by the pink lipstick from some previous user of her water glass, but the food was pretty good (all that matters).

Lunch: Part III Dessert
We next visited this super cute little candy store, where Meg snagged the last peanut butter ball, a whipped ball of chocolatey peanut buttery goodness that definitely won the dessert prize.  I got a milk chocolate pecan turtle, and Joe (Jessica's boyfriend) got some coconut chocolate crispy thing.  We will both be living at the gym when this trip is over.

Met up with Trevor and walked around Huntington beach.  We watched the AVP volleyball tournament for a bit, which basically made Meg's day.

I was craving sushi, so we found a fun little place in the heart of Huntington Beach.  Meg and Trevor say I ate like a champ.  I say I'm just making up for lost time.  We got three rolls, and I gobbled up most of them.  Don't judge.

We were supposed to get dressed up that evening and hit LA's party scene in style... but these girls were dead.  As Trevor modeled different outfits for us, we changed into pajamas and curled on the couch to watch How I Met Your Mother.  Not the LA party scene, but great night nonetheless.

Dinner: Part II Dessert
After an episode of HIMYM mentioned candy, Meg and I both perked up and gave each other "the look" -- after being together 24/7 for so long, we can read each other's thoughts -- we had to find candy.  We walked to a nearby liquor store in our pajamas and bought some old school candy -- the stuff we ate as kids.  I'm pretty sure the store clerk thought we were high, as I was searching intently for Gobstoppers and kept walking up and down the aisles calling for them.  We downed most of the Starbursts, gummy worms, and sour straws that night... and what was left, we finished for breakfast the next day.  Don't judge.

Day 4: June 4-No idea how far we've driven....

San Xavier:
On our way out of Tucson, we decided to drive past San Xavier per the suggestion of several people. It was pretty stunning actually. I have seen many churches and missions in my day, and this one was definitely one of the better ones. We wandered around inside, took a bunch of pictures, then headed on our last long day of driving!! We were pretty antsy.
In 'N Out animal style burger and fries:
If you're from the midwest, and have never ventured to the west coast, then this stop will make NO sense to you. In 'N Out is probably one of the most famous fast food restaurants on the West Coast. I can't describe it-it's just mouth watering, cheap, and delicious. It's decorated like a 50's fast food joint, and up until a few years ago, they didn't even take credit cards! We stopped here at the exact half way point getting to California.

Checkpoint: 2- Megan: 0
Ok, so at this point I've noted my inability to talk to law enforcement; it's a curse. As we left Yuma, par and I crossed into California state lines After we had already crossed into California state lines, we can upon a second check point. I had my ID out and ready, Par and I went over what I was going to say so I wouldn't look like an idiot AGAIN, we pulled up to the officer and I rolled down my window. He asks, "So where you girls headed today?" my response: "California!!!" Par's head falls down in disappointment, the police officer looks at me with this "no duh" look and I quickly recovered, "I mean San Diego sir. We drove from Indiana and we're stopping there to see my friends and then driving up to...." Police officer looked uninterested and just said, "drive safe" and he pointed us through.

Checkpoint 2: Megan still: 0 Par: 1
So we pass by a THIRD checkpoint and Par is really grillin' me on what to say. It's clear I'll never be a litigator as this trip has reinforced, but I didn't want to look like an idiot, so we mapped out my responses and was ready to go. We pull up to the officer, and this time he's on Par's window. Roll down the window, officer takes one look at Par in her low cut dress, doesn't even ASK us a question and waves us through!

San Diego! and Anthony's (aka the best chowder thus far) 
FINALLY!!!! We made it to California. It was by far the most beautiful drive into a state thus far-like by a landslide. I was crazy excited the whole way. My dad was on the phone with me for a few minutes, then reminded me it's illegal to talk on the phone in the state! Oh how I missed this place. We drove past my old stomping ground, SDSU, pointed out Mission Valley and Old Town to Par then drove by memory to downtown. Par has been looking forward to trying Anthony's clam chowder for the past three years since Jordan and I talk nonstop about it. She got the chowder in the bread bowl, and believe me when I say-she didn't even look at me for 20 min while she devoured the ENTIRE THING! Soup, bread, and all! Impressive doesn't even BEGIN to describe this incident...

Shore Club: 
We rolled up to Brian's house around 4:30 or so, he gave us directions to his favorite bar (one I had actually never visited) and offered to meet us there. Had I known about this place when I lived in PB, I probably wouldn't have gone anywhere else. It had a second story view of the beach, perfect for people watching, $3 Dos Equis all day every day, and sports playing-I loved it. Now, Par loved this place for a whole other reason. The Shore Club was home of the city's best tacos. Within minutes of sitting down, she said, "well, I have to order that!" Mind you, this girl plowed through In 'N Out, clam chowder and a bread bowl (and some calamari) and now she was going for the lobster tacos and a frozen margarita! She swallowed that thing whole, and after being there for a few hours, she ordered two more (and she wasn't done eating).

So after Par and my friend Brian Jenkins hit it off talking about their food obsessions, he suggested we head to the Cassbah and grab some Chippino with toasted garlic bread. I was pretty happy drinking pitchers with my old drinking buddies Sean and Glenn! I even got to see Casey, an old resident. As I had fun drinking and talking with old buddies, Par and Brian had fun sucking down their seafood soup. It was a great night!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Day 3-June 3 (Part II)

Leaving T or C, although sad, was very exciting; I am ready to be home and Par is ready to see southern California. I must say, we were both shaken up a bit in the car and listening for any noise out of order. I was particularly shaken as evidenced by my behavior at the Border Patrol. As we approached to the MALE police officer, he asked, "You girls citizens?" my response? "Yes Ma'am we are...." he waved us ahead. Par goes, "What was that! You just called the guy 'ma'am!" My only excuse was "I don't know what that was! I panicked!!!" hahaha-we both had a chuckle."

The road was pretty miserable, and at one point Par and I broke down and decided to slurp on a DQ milk shake; I don't think I've ever eaten at DQ, but this was the best milk shake ever! 

The Thing: 
The full-throttle emptiness of I-10 between Deming, New Mexico, and Mountain View, Arizona is impossibly and painfully boring. The best way to keep awake is to keep track of the billboards. That's when Par and I saw it, "THE THING...275 miles ahead." We both perked with excitement and patiently waited until the signs became bigger and more frequent and pointing us to the correct exit. We pulled into the mystery spot around 7:30pm, ran to the door, paid our $1 admission fee and sprinted to find out what "THE THING" was. Beyond that though....I cannot tell you. See, the point of "THE THING" is you have to actually GO there to discover for yourself the mystery. I will say this though, I wanted to ask the cashier to clarify what "THE THING" was, because the answer it not completely clear. One account online recalled the following: "We asked the cashier to explain the meaning of this  question. 'For a dollar,' he answered, 'you tell ME what is it. For five dollars, I'll tell you.'"

BK Hot Dogs:
I'm not even sure I need a description. Par and I ate these.  These were bacon wrapped hot dogs (grilled), smothered in pinto beans, caramelized onions, yellow mustard, hot jalapeno sauce, and mayo (Par and I added cheese). Yum. OMG. Yum.

We checked in to our hotel, then decided to go grab a quick drink and some additional snacks (because apparently bacon wrapped dogs aren't filling enough). We stumbled upon this delightful little sushi place, and sat at the bar (sushi bar!). We asked the chef to make us whatever he wanted, so he gave me and Par his special creation-spicy tuna, carrots, cucumber, cilantro, and green onions. It was fabulous and so different.

We never made it out to grab drinks, we are way too exhausted. Special thanks to my dad for helping us out in a pinch and finding us a hotel room in Tuscon with his Marriott points. Par and I are happily nuzzled in our room and very appreciative!

So, Par and I have a few reflections from New Mexico. First, we both hate it. Save Truth or Consequences, we were pretty miserable. Second, we believe that T or C is actually a vortex city and  no one can find it unless a local takes them. As we drove away, both Par and I agreed that if we turned around, and tried to head back to the city, we'd never find it again.  Third, trucks drive ridiculously fast in the west. I've been passed by so many trucks (and I've gone the speed limit of 75-which I think is pretty fast!) It's very dangerous, and Par and I avoid the crazy ones. Forth, you know you've been in the car too long, and are incredibly bored, when the highlight of your day is driving on the left hand side of a truck when it blocks the sun. Lastly, we don't know how or where-but there is some mystery fluid in the passenger seat of the car. It's brown, wet, and smelly! The whole car wreaks. We will update on this as we know more...

Until then, we look forward to tomorrow-SAN DIEGO!!!!!! here we come!

Day 3: June 3-Twilight Zone

Riverbend Hot Springs

So, we made it to Riverbend Hot Springs resort . It's fabulous. As I'm sure you all read in Par's post, yesterday was QUITE the day. We are almost to the point of laughing about it now, but not going to lie we had a bit of a shake. But seriously, my mechanic is toast, my mom already ordered the hit. 
So while we wait for our car to get repaired, we decided to enjoy the desert landscape. Since Par and I have started our days at like 6 or 7, we were both wide awake this morning at 6:30 (despite getting in around 1 last night). We looked at the map for a bit, tried to map out a change in plans, then realized the hot springs opened at 7 and not 8 like we thought: we got dressed immediately and dove into the pool: it was amazing. We people watched for a good long time, and let me tell you people-all of you who thought I was hippie from Berkeley? I ain't got nothin' on these people. Everyone here is meditating, wearing flowing skirts and dresses, big zodiac necklaces-I mean the works. I guess it all adds to the tranquil atmosphere.

What's next? 
Well, our car wont get looked at until later this afternoon so we're just biting our time until then. The mechanic seemed quite nice and offered to loan us his car to go sight seeing if the car takes longer than a few hours. If nothing else, we broke down in the sweetest little city where everyone knows everyone, and they loan strangers their cars. We were told of a great breakfast place walking distance from here, so we'll check that out in a bit. We were also told there's a wonderful lake driving distance (mechanic told us, hence the car borrowing) and White Sands that are must sees. So although it wasn't planned, Par and I are rolling with it and making the best of this adventure! And believe me....this is an adventure.

Breakfast: Happy Belly Deli
...well, we ended up heading to this breakfast place after our long natural spring soak, and it rocked! We finally got some amazing food and incredible sourdough! I forgot how great that bread is, and so did Par-we scarfed. 

IU Bound: 
So considering our day yesterday, and the upswing of this new day, Par and I decided to lick the wounds with a little retail therapy. We walked around Main St. and stumbled across some fun stores! In one particular store (one in which both Par and I purchased rings), we discovered the 85 year old owner who was 100% deaf was actually an alumni from IU Bloomington! He talked to us about being in the Navy, and how small Bloomington and Indiana was when he lived there-he graduated in the mid 1950's. 

Land line
As Par and I were enjoying our day, we discovered that neither of us had any phone service. Now generally this isn't a HUGE deal, but it completely stinks when you're waiting for your mechanic to call you back and let you know if your car is drivable! So we had to bum a call off our hotel and use their land line phone-I haven't used one of those in years! The mechanic informed me he tried to get a hold of me for hours, and seemed annoyed I had not returned his call. I must admit, this was a bit odd to me-how the hell could this mechanic from the middle of nowhere be surprised when someone's phone doesn't get service. Oh well. The man informed us we had a good 4 hours until the car was finished, so Par and I did what any two bored city girls would do-we got margaritas. 

Tarot Cards and Margaritas
We found this little place that served wine margaritas-sounds kinds gross right. WRONG! Par and I agreed, these were the best margaritas we had EVER had. We started getting really chatty with the woman next to us and ultimately asked her to join our table. This woman was the perfect embodiment of T or C; elderly and die hard hippie. As we started talking and telling her about our trip, she started telling us places to see on our way out of the state, how much she loved T or C and how much fun her and her gal pals have around town. She let it slip that her two friends do card readings-maybe it was the margaritas, or maybe it was pure curiosity, but Par and I almost in unison said "WE WANT READINGS." Twenty minutes and $15-20 later, Par and I had our futures told. Now, to give a fair description, these readers were not like the kook on the left here, they were true hippies and at least my reader closed her eyes and felt the wind as she read my cards. Not gonna lie, it was a pretty interesting experience and everything she said to me at least made sense. Only thing that was of slllllight concern was the "DEATH" card that she pulled. She looked at me, looked at the card, looked at me again and said-"oh, I mean sometimes it means physical death-but I'm sure it doesn't in this case." Gee thanks lady-that's what I need right now. Later, Par informed me she got the same card and the same response-though overall our readings were 100% different.

Well, the car is just about finished and Par and I are itching to get back on the road. Everyone has informed me that my mechanic in Indiana failed to properly secure my tire, and that while he couldn't say with 100% certainty that this incident could have been avoided, he did tell me he was about 98% sure, and would indicate as such on my receipt print-out. I will refrain from naming said mechanic until I speak with him. If he fails to compensate for this incident-lol-it will not be good and you will ALLLLL know who it is! 

Coming up next....Tuscon!

Day 2: Shitty... Just Shitty.

Day 2, Par's Account:

After our fabulous first day on the road, Meg and I were excited to get on the road again and see what new adventures the day would bring.  Coffee in hand, we began our drive promptly at 8am and began our trek west to Truth and Consequences, New Mexico, the hot springs resort we had reserved for that evening.  Lawton is the home of Fort Sill army base, and we saw some neat military jets and things we could only assume were missiles on our way out of town.  We also saw some mountains that oddly resembled a pair of boobs, so we were off to a great start.

Thus far, we had been driving only on major highways, and the route to T&C took us through the back roads of Oklahoma and Texas, so we were excited to see more small towns and whatever else "the country" would bring.  After we plowed through the "metropolitan" areas of Oklahoma and hit the true back country, we realized that we had underestimated how little there actually was out there -- no signs, no buildings, no cars, no people, just cows for miles and miles and miles.  This lasted about three hours.  Fun.

Finally, we made our way back to the main road and hit the mother load -- the Devil's Rope Museum in McLean, Texas, the largest barbwire museum in the world.  Anything that claims to be the "largest in the world" is a must-see for us, and we definitely weren't disappointed.  We saw a tiny model city, a cowboy hat, giant balls, and so much more made entirely of barbwire, along with tons of Historic Route 66 memorabilia.  It almost made up for the shitty back roads... almost.  We also saw a severely leaning water tower and a giant cross, which considerably improved our moods.

Next stop was Amarillo, which was a little underwhelming and, well, rather shitty.  I knew the Big Texan Steakhouse wouldn't be St. Elmo's, but I figured that even a tourist trap in Texas would produce a decent steak.  Not the case -- a disappointment for this foodie.  As we continued our drive through the excruciatingly boring Texas panhandle, we could not wait to get into New Mexico.  It couldn't get any worse than Texas... or so we thought.

New Mexico offered a 75mph speed limit and new rocky landscape... and an $85 ticket for a seat belt violation.  Apparently it's not legal to put the shoulder strap behind your back, even if you're still wearing the lap belt.  New Mexico - 1, City Girls - 0.

After stopping at a few shitty roadside attractions, we made our way to Old Town Albuquerque and picked the most crowded restaurant we could find, thinking that crowded = good food.  Not the case, unfortunately.  Who knew you could find such shitty Mexican food and weak margaritas only 3 hours north of the Mexican border... New Mexico - 2, Girls - 0.

From Albuquerque, we began our 2 hour drive to T&C, anxious to finally relax in the hot springs after our long day of shitty drives and shitty food.  We were laughing and joking in the car, and for some reason, I made a joke about Meg's "twenty-year-old mom-mobile with a billion miles on it."  She screamed for me to apologize to the car and demanded that I kiss the dash -- I could almost reach it without removing my seat belt, so I petted the dash and blew it kisses instead.  "You're going to feel awful when we break down!" she yelled.

...And awful I felt, as our car started rumbling and making an awful noise not 30 minutes later, as we were still 40 miles from our destination.  Still in daylight, we got out to check the car, and as best as we city girls could see, everything looked fine.  Good vitals, no smoke or smells, and nothing appearing out of the ordinary.  Hoping we could make it to T&C before dark, we slowly kept driving.  As the noise got louder and louder, we slowed more and more until we were at a mere crawl -- until BAM, our right passenger tire flew off and bounced away into the distance!  New Mexico - 3, Girls - 0.  This state is kicking our asses.

We made it to the shoulder and called the police and AAA, and were quickly reassured that help was on the way -- though I have never encountered a more rude 911 dispatcher.  She basically told us to suck it up.  The minutes felt like hours as we sat in the darkness worrying that every car driving past held a serial killer, but we were finally greeted by the flashing lights of a tow truck -- turns out, our lugnuts were either too tight or too loose (thanks, mechanic in Indy) -- and were taken to our hotel in T&C.

Shitty back roads, shitty food in two different cities, shitty roadside attractions, shitty breakdown, shitty 911 operator, and shitty situation where two girls were just chillin' on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere.  Probably the world's shittiest day.  Here's hoping it gets better tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Day 2: June 2 (Part 1)

For all of you who are jealous of us on this road trip-you would NOT have been this morning. We drove on 62 to 83 North and believe me when I tell you....there is NOTHING there. I mean, absolutely nothing. Three hours of nothing. Par and I nearly jumped out of our seats in the car.

But as soon as we hit route 41 West (Route 66) we hit a gold mine!

Stop #1: Devil's Rope Exhibit

It may have just been our sheer boredom rearing its little head, but when Par and I saw the advertisement for World's Largest Barbed Wire Museum, we IMMEDIATELY pulled over and followed the big massive signs (remember our policy on signs! If there are more than 4 or 5-it's worth a stop! Picture on Left). 

We saw a cowboy hat made of barbed wire, we read a book about barbed wire, we saw fancy barbed wire, and electric fence barbed wire! It was an incredible spectacle!

Also at the museum was a Route 66 museum (picture on left). There was all kinds of fun stuff there like a pretend diner, a ginormous fake cow (which Par and I took pictures with specifically for my mother's benefit) and a rattle snake overhead! Again, this could be boredom talking, but when there is nothing for three hours, a sign signifying "Worlds Largest" and the words "FREE!!!!" Par and I are gonna stop, and odds are....we're excited about it.

Stop #2: Largest Cross in the Northern Hemisphere 
Groom, Texas: Home of one of the largest crosses in the world, and THE largest cross in the Northern Hemisphere. Notice how there is no picture? Well, that's because we didn't technically stop. There was only ONE sign on the side of the road (and you know our policy) and Par and I aren't exactly cross picture taking people. Par did snap one on her camera, and when we upload all our pics on here, you can get an idea. But seriously, just imagine a big white cross in the middle of nowhere...that was basically it.

Stop #3: Big Texan Steak House-Home of the Free 72 oz steak!!!
This is our current stop (they had free wifi) and it is AWESOME. It's like its own southern flamboyant town-basically it's big and over the top. Par tried to convince me to order Rocky Mountain Oysters for an appetizer but I informed her we should hold off ordering seafood until we hit California. Too bad I'm an idiot and didn't realize that Rocky Mountain is aka BULLS TESTICLES!  I am all for trying new things, but the line was drawn here; so gross.

We ordered the lunch special-steak and 2 sides plus a roll for $13. We scarfed that stuff down. We had not eaten all day and drove through the middle of nowhere-we were famished and bored!

We will update with the rest of our day later tonight!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Day 1: June 1-827 miles down, 1354 to go

Today we pushed out of Indianapolis at promptly 5:50 am, grabbed LARGE cups of Starbucks and were on the road at 6 am headed to Springfield, MO to visit Par's parents. We made several stops, but ultimately rolled into Lawton, OK at about 9 pm (10 pm Indy time; 7 pm Cali time).

Stop #1: The Worlds Largest Rocker! 
On our long trek to Springfield, we saw this glorious sign pointing to the largest rocker....IN THE WORLD! How could something so fabulous be tucked so deep in the middle of NOWHERE! Par and I had a bit of time to kill and decided, "hey, it's worth a shot. Anything that is the largest in the world has to be freaking awesome!" ...we were not disappointed. The only disappointment was not being able to purchase a "world's largest rocker" key chain. Not to fear, however. The woman working in the gift shop assured said key chains were in the process of being manufactured.

Stop #2: BBQ!!!!! Arrive in Springfield!
(457 mi – about 7 hours 55 mins)
So at the point of starvation, Par and I finally reached Springfield to see her parents. They took us to this fabulous BBQ joint with pulled pork and smoked turkey sandwiches and 2 sides. Par got the pork, I got the turkey (yum) and we both got potato salad and beans. Such a great meal!

Stop #3: The Candy Shop
Quick stop-Par's mom took us to The Candy Shop. We got free samples, paid half price for an "oops' bag of candy that was half priced because the chocolate looked funny but tasted the same. But for half price my stomach doesn't know the difference! We were pleased.

Stop #4: America's Sistine Chapel 
(Warning: this is REALLY happening)

So, Par and I have a new policy: If there are lots of signs comparing something, anything, to an European masterpiece, we must stop and acknowledge (Note: Image displayed on left is one of MANY posters on the side of the road leading to America's Sistine Chapel-how could we not stop). That is precisely what happened with the Precious Moments Chapel. There must have been 15 signs for about 2-3 hours pushing for us to stop by this place.

We pull up to this place and it is like something out of the twilight zone. There are this life size precious moment statutes everywhere. The best  
comparison I have for this place is, it's like if It's a Small World from Disneyland was fed LSD and placed in the middle of nowhere-that's what this place looked like. It was creepy.

There were tours of the chapel (pictured to the left), and yes, every single image in the chapel was a precious moment figure. Gospel music played all throughout the grounds (and this places was HUGE) and there were 2 gift shops, an additional museum, a cafeteria, and so many fountains.

Most shocking were the amount of people THERE! Lots of people! Par and I don't know where these people came from, considering NONE of them were on the road and they certainly did not live close because there were NO houses anywhere. There were tour buses and kids and people genuinely interested in this place, and maybe I just don't understand the precious moment collection appeal, but this place was just too much! It was seriously strange, and creepy, and I would highly recommend you go-because this is a MUST see.

Stop #5: Reptile World (BUST!!!) 
So not too far from the little Precious Moments extravaganza, Par notices REPTILE WORLD-didn't sound as stellar as America's Sistine Chapel, but it was intriguing nonetheless. A 20 min detour later, we show up to this shanty town excuse of a building-located next to Reptile World's Chicken Shack Drive through (don't get me started at the sanitary implications of this joint venture)-and it's within 15 min of closing. Par, the ever persistent individual, pounds on the door and peers through the window praying that someone will open the door and let us peak our heads in for a few minutes. Within minutes a seemingly nice older lady opens the door and lets us walk in. Despite the fact I thought this places looked like it was directly lifted from the latest thriller blockbuster movie, Par was excited to go so I was all in. Par looked at the woman, asked "Well, how much to walk around?" (mind you, this place is maaaaaaaybe 600 sq. feet.) The answer, "$8 plus tax."

We walked out immediately. Who the hell would pay any money to go into this place is beyond me.

Stop #6: McDonald's and Shrek
I know what you're thinking, this guy is a dead on impression of the real thing; not to worry though, it was just a costume. We picked up this little guy on a rest stop break at a McDonalds. We got free pictures and free chicken nuggets plates (though we did NOT purchase food at this restaurant, you all should know us better). It was completely unexpected, and 100% epic.

Best part was, the poor guy wasn't even there when we were ready to take a picture. He was in the back freezer trying to cool off. Par asked the picture lady to go get him so we could have our photo op. Woman says "Absolutely, woman yells  "SHREK! come outa tha freeza," poor Shrek comes to the front, and some little girl waiting for her nuggets yells out a frightening scream at the guy while Par and I jump right into our lap for our picture.

Stop #9: OKC National Memorial  

On our way to Lawton, I asked Par if she wouldn't mind stopping by OK city, considering I had yet to see it, and would unlikely have a chance to do so in the near future. We saw signs for the OKC National Memorial Museum, or the monument erected to remember the 1995 Federal Building Bombings, and took a few minute detour.

The memorial was quite well down and very tranquil. Par and I were surprised how much we enjoyed the piece. Neat fact, my Dad had a hand in the project which made it all the more cool.

Stop #8: Arrive in Lawton, OK-Sleep
(370 mi – about 5 hours 53 mins)
We met with Par's cousin, chatted for a bit, looked at their beautiful house (decked out with a pool and trampoline!) and ultimately crashed and began prepping for tomorrow!

A Few Observations:
First, Par and I are pretty unsure how this world, and traveling across country, functioned without the iphone. It has already navigated us out of a few pickles and we are glad for it! Second, there are an insane number of "Adult Video" stores in Missouri. There were at least a dozen in the few hours were were in the state. One was adequately named "Men's Gym" located right next to a gas station. Third, we find it incredibly odd that bathrooms are labeled "CLEAN RESTROOMS" or "FREE RESTROOMS"...shouldn't these be obvious? What are we missing? Forth, there are way too many toll booths in Oklahoma-two of which are $4 each. Ridiculous. Fifth, Par is officially a coffee junkie and we stopped twice to grab coffee's (at McDonald's to save money) and we were wired the whole drive. Leaving at 6 am didn't even phase us! And lastly, (and my personal favorite) is the 75 mph speed limit through the latter half of Oklahoma. Pure bliss.

Upcoming and Scheduled Attractions:
645 mi – about 10 hours 37 mins
1472 down, 709 to go
  • Big Texan Steak House-Home of the free 72oz Steak-lunch
  • Albuquerque-sight seeing
  • River Bend Hot Springs-sleep! 

    Introduction: Kerouac Style

    This blog is meant to document the wild and crazy stuff that Par and I see traveling from Indy to San Fran in 8 days and 3,000 miles! Wish us luck, and we will update you (hopefully) every night!