In the Rear View

Closing the loop

Tuesday, May 27 2008 at 1:33 PM by Rick

Some 11,000 miles, 400 gallons of gas, and 32 states later, we are heading home. We still have pictures to upload and extra goodies to post, so don't tune out completely. We're going to keep adding new content after we catch up with family and on sleep.

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Elmo's Bar rises to the top

Tuesday, May 27 2008 at 1:33 PM by Rick

Unsatisfied by Anchor Bar's wings, we headed to Elmo's Bar the morning we left Buffalo.

A local favorite, the bar was at half-capacity at 11:30. A few parties were already into their second pitcher. By  the time we left at 12:15 it was nearly full of regulars pounding down beer and ordering up wings. The wings were fresh, crispy, and bathed in a well-balanced hot sauce. A sauce that went down smoothly, even at 11am.

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Anchor Bar sinks to the bottom

Tuesday, May 27 2008 at 1:31 PM by Rick

They may have invented the Buffalo Wing, but they damn sure haven't perfected it.

"I couldn't care less about you" service aside, the meal was fair, at best. The hot wings were average, the suicide wings were too peppery, and everything was overpriced.

But hey, we went to the home of buffalo wings. And now we never have to go back.

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No beginner's luck

Tuesday, May 27 2008 at 1:29 PM by Rick

As it turns out, I suck as much at disc golf as I do at golf golf. But it's just as much fun. And it's free.

Joe showed us the ropes, and introduced us to the different discs, techniques, and profanities associated with the 'sport.' Personally, I liked when the back nine took us through the woods, because that's when I discovered my finesse (a.k.a. luck) game. The Stingray (disc) and I became one.

I'm just glad we were able to find the many discs that careened into the swamp.

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Bachelor Pad, but not for long

Tuesday, May 27 2008 at 1:29 PM by Rick

Joe's house is great, but it is somewhat unfortunately located in Indianapolis, the heart of Colts country.

Joe has a really nice place, despite the complete lack of furniture (in fairness, he's only lived here for two days, just started a new job, and is holding out for wedding presents). But when you have a couple guitars, a bunch of movies, an X-Box, and a fridge full of beer, what more do you need?

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The Incident

Tuesday, May 27 2008 at 1:28 PM by Rick

Not just any incident--the single worst incident of the whole damn trip.

We stopped by Portillo's for an authentic Chicago-style hot dog. It was a quick pit-stop and I wanted some baby powder, so we parked in the Wallgreens lot across the street. After checking-out, I ran across the street to meet Jay at Portillo's. We got a dog with everything and the best chocolate shake I've ever had. It would also turn out to be the most expensive.

Because in the 3 minutes we were in Portillo's the F#$king car got towed!

We ill-advisedly ignored the tow warning sign posted on the Walgreens because we 1) were paying customers and 2) figured there was no way a tow truck could get to the car in 3 minutes.

The cab driver who took us to the impound gave us the skinny. That Walgreens actually has a spotter who, as soon as anyone steps off the property, radios the awaiting tow truck hidden behind the building. So after splitting the tow, that was an $85 chocolate shake.

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A view from the top

Tuesday, May 27 2008 at 1:27 PM by Rick

We covered a lot of ground in Chicago.

Beginning at the Navy Pier, we walked for miles along the lake and through the city to see Buckingham Fountain, Millenium Park, the silver bean thing, Art Institute, the sweet outdoor pavillion, theatre district. Then, we headed for the Sears Tower.

Man, that thing is tall. We got a great view of the city and a different perspective on the city we'd just seen.

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Late Arrival

Tuesday, May 27 2008 at 1:27 PM by Rick

We got into Chicago somewhat late, but the process went smoothly thanks to my uncle hooking us up with a hotel room in advance.

Every restaurant was closed by the time we checked in, so dinner was our inaugural White Castle experience. The sacks of mini-burgers were different, and as it turns out, they don't need ketchup. All in all, it's fast food, but I do appreciate the way the boxes stack together, and form a little castle if you set them up on the table as Jay did.

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The Badlands

Friday, May 23 2008 at 12:50 AM by Rick

On our way out of South Dakota we went through the Badlands, which was neat to see, and in my opinion, has a killer name. I mean, c'mon, The Badlands. How awesome is that?

That trip also took us through Wall, SD, a small country town that is home to the semi-famous Wall Drug. I've never seen so much advertising for one store. There are swarms of antique hand-painted signs spanning the countryside, beginning hundreds of miles away in the middle of nowhere. They advertise everything from their "new" T-Rex statue to free coffee and doughnuts for veterans.

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Rushin to Rushmore

Friday, May 23 2008 at 12:43 AM by Rick

Today we hauled ass across Wyoming and South Dakota to see Mount Rushmore in the daytime. (Unbeknownst to us, it's lit up at night.)

On the way, we stopped at the Crazy Horse Memorial, which made me angry. It wasn't the $20 admission they charged us to access the crappy museum and view you can see for free from the highway. It wasn't that the monument has been in progress for 60 years, and probably will not be finished in our lifetime. It wasn't even the suffocating harmartia of the Native Americans there.*

It was mostly that Mount Rushmore was half the cost, completely finished, and twice as cool. The Crazy Horse Memorial will probably be more stunning than Rushmore if they ever complete it, but I'm not holding my breath.

*The tribe is proud enough to build a rival monument to Rushmore right around the corner, and proud enough to overcharge visitors for something you can see for free, but too proud to take funding from the federal government to see it completed.

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