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Days 1 & 2 – Honest Lawyers and Wooden Guns

August 7, 2010

Day 1 went well.  I began by going to the Bank in  NJ.  A sweet little old lady was on her way into the branch.  I held the door.  She called me a gentleman.  It made me feel really content for about forty-five seconds. I reached the teller and asked about their deposit policies.  You see, I made a deposit the day before in anticipation of this trip.  The bank credited our account.  Then they debited for an amount exceeding the deposit by $200.00.  Then they re-credited.  Then debited again—  By the end of the four transactions $200.00 had mysteriously disappeared.  Huh?  They fixed it and blamed the mistake of computers.  Computers do not do things like this on their own.  If they do, then we put on a space suit and remove it’s logic board.

“Hello Rob, would you like to make a deposit?

We hit the road at about 10:30.  We did really well right up until we didn’t.  There was a point that we hit so much traffic in Pennsylvania that I think every resident of the state was on route 80.   I have a theory that involves an email blitz through the state which  gets them all out in front on NJ drivers just to mess with us.

In a Subway sandwich Shop in PA, we eavesdropped on a family of four (parents and two boys),  all wearing high-end athletic wear.  They were very Ari, Uzi and Chaz.  The father was lecturing the boys about their vacation responsibilities.   He said “You WILL be doing that for an hour every day of this vacation.”  I never heard what the “THAT” was, but he was such a jerk about it.  You can tell that he is the type of person that can suck the fun right out of a room.  The mom was really no better.  She followed up with “We’re going.”  One of the boys declared that he was not done with his lunch.  “Well you can’t take it in the car.  No food or drink in the Volvo.”  Those poor kids.  At the car I saw Chaz/ Dad wipe his sandals off for a good thirty seconds before getting into the cherished Volvo.  He was wearing his special super new driving  Tevas.

We made it to Montpelier Ohio!  We we’re checked in by 10:10pm! We had no dinner.

“Let’s go to the hotel lounge hon.”

It was closed.

“Let’s order a Pizza.”

They did not answer the phone.

“Lets go to the pizza place across the road.”


“….Let’s have a PB&J”…..

Montpelier shuts down at 10:00pm.  I was rather amazed they kept the lights on near the highway.  We went to the gas station shop.

Dinner: $4.80

What did we have?  2 Miller Light tallboys and a small bag of cheddar and sour cream chips, which I had no problem with at all.

DAY 2 – Wake up get out of bed dragged a comb across—-  no I didn’t.  I forgot my comb.

I went down to the restaurant of the illustrious Ramada Conference center and Inn.  I stood at the sign that read “The hostess will seat you.”  I stood at the sign for approximately 5 minutes.  I’m from NY originally.  Five minutes can seem like forever.  There was a whole song about a “New York Minute”—  Everything can change, Doooo dooo doooo—-    A group of men and a woman in a Biker Club called The Iron Horse was sitting at the only table being used.  The hostess, wearing a white apron and a blue long-sleeved blouse, was clearing a table with the greatest care I have ever seen.  Her right hand was holding the plastic tub for the dishes , while her left carefully and deliberately picked up each individual fork, spoon, glass, plate, etc. one by one.   One of the bikers said to me “Hey man,  Whatever you do, do not eat here.  We’ve been here for a F#$ckin’ hour and a half and haven’t gotten everything yet.”  I thanked him and exited.

We hit the road on an empty stomach.

We found breakfast in an off the highway establishment called Ambrosia Bella.  It was a really nice comfortable roadside cafe that we found while looking for another restaurant that seems to have shut down more than a decade ago. A Quiche with three cups of coffee was what I settled on.  Three cups is two cups too much for me.  I hope Apryl said to herself in an inner monologue,  “Rob never has second cup of coffee at home—”

Our first tourist stop was the John Dillinger museum outside of Chicago.  Upon entering, rather than being welcomed, we were immediately warned “There is no photography!”  Geez man.  I understand with the Mona Lisa or a Degas or something.  A billion flashes could eventually take a toll on a canvas.  This is a roadside attraction.  Chill.  It was informative.  The exhibit educated you with regards to the times, prohibition, gambling, entertainment, etc.  There were quite a few creepy wax sculptures.  My favorite was the  recreation of Dillinger’s wooden gun that he used to escape from jail.

American Idol oddity 1 – We took a detour into the town of Morris, Illinois to visit to the Antiques Emporium, which we never found.  We parked in this small town USA and heard singing.  I thought for a moment this how they lure tourists to their doom, but said nothing to Apryl.  We pushed on towards the singing.  It was none other than Paige DeChaussey of American Idol season 9.  She was singing at the Nostalgia Days Picnic in front of the Grundy Co. Bank.

I bought a new (old) toy in Morris:

Apryl says it looks just like Richie's from The Royal Tenenbaums

At the Des Moines Court Ave Brewing Company I had the pleasure of sampling a regional dish, the petite deburgo.

Steak de Burgo is a featured steak on many Des Moines area restaurants – a regional specialty. It’s a traditional steak dish – usually a beef tenderloin – topped with butter, Italian herbs and garlic.  –

American Idol Oddity 2 – On the way out of the restaurant, I donated to a street guitar player’s dream to go down to Austin and audition for American Idol.  He wasn’t that bad.  I wish him luck.

Des Moines was a fun city.  It was nice to see a  metropolitan area after a thousand miles of farms.  The nightlife seemed like it would have been great if I wasn’t so tired.  I would definitely go back.  So far as Midwest cities go, it is pretty near the top.

Court Ave. Brewing Co. - The Honest Lawyer IPA was delicious

The fun has only begun. Today we’ll see  the Corn Palace of Mitchell South Dakota!

Some random pics:



"The old Miss--- The Old Man--- Deeeeeeeeeeep River! My home is over Jordan - Russ your feet!"

3 Comments leave one →
  1. mom dyann permalink
    August 7, 2010 10:53 pm

    Rob, I laughed as I read your blog. You remind me of the journalist/author who did Marley and Me. Loved the wood gun~he actually used a gun like that and became famous?? Safe travels, keep writing!

    • August 7, 2010 11:47 pm

      Thanks! Glad you liked it. I try for laughs when I can. And, yes he carved it out of a broom handle or a box lid. The FBI were not quite sure which, according to the exhibit. He even carved the words “colt 45” on the side for authenticity.

      Having fun, and I’m sure we’ll have more posts soon!


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