Damn Rams!

 Monday, 8/18:

I manage to get the girls up a little earlier this time. The weather channel reminds up about the heat in KS - expected to hit 105F today. Ugh. We take advantage of the Holiday Inn Express very nice breakfast bar and we get on the road around 9:30am. Gas up in Salina - 170 miles since the last gas up, and we get 22.4 mpg.

  We drive to Kansas City and stop for gas. 167 miles, and 21.3 MPG. It's almost lunch time, and it's really hot out. Premium is now 92 octane and a little cheaper. Not ready for lunch, we hit McD's and get the girls a McFlurry each to cool off - I just stick with the cold water.
We stopped for lunch a little while later - found a Subway with a nice, COLD dining room! After lunch we stopped at the Sonic because Nicole wanted to try their Strawberry Cheesecake shake. She's being pretty good about the backseat and the heat and all - so I head over to Sonic to get her dessert. Back on the road!
  I don't want to insult anyone from Missouri, but I notice a distinct change after we left Kansas and crossed into Missouri - instead of the farms of Kansas, Missouri seems like it's all adult bookstores and fireworks stores. When they called it the "show-me" state, I didn't know that's what they meant…
  While driving along in the 105 degree heat, we have our first car problem. All the gauges died at once and the turn signals seem to be out too. We pull into a rest area. I check the fuses - none are blown. Check the gauges again - they're OK now! OK, maybe wiggling the fuses did the trick. Back on the road - and the gauges die again. Damn! Pull into the next rest area and this time I check the manual to see which fuse I should be looking at - #4 - so I remove it and clean it and the contacts real good - seems to do the trick. I cross my fingers and get back on the road again.
We drive to just outside of St Louis and get gas again in Wright City after 179 miles. This time we got 22.6 mpg. It's almost 6pm and traffic is getting heavy. But I figured we should be going against rush hour, because we're heading into St Louis. Wrong! All the traffic seems to be going downtown! We just want to get to the Gateway Arch and do the tourist thing. Traffic stops - construction. We change routes and take another highway into town.
OK for a while, but then we're stopped again. Crap! Why is all the traffic heading INTO town? Get out the maps and take the local roads into town - and we turn on the radio to try to learn what's going on tonight. Turns out it's Monday Night Football and the Rams have a pre-season home game! Furthermore, the damn stadium is only blocks from the Arch, so when we finally GET to the Arch, there's no place to park.
After driving around the Arch twice, I drop the girls off at the Arch - let them get out while I try to park somewhere. Turns out the lot on the waterfront just opened and for $3 I park there. We spend some time taking pictures of the Arch before it starts getting dark - and then it's back on the road. Unfortunately we arrived too late to actually go up in the Arch - we're just too far behind schedule. I figure the Rams cost us at least 3 hours…

We leave St Louis and cross the Mississippi into Illinois. It's dark and we're kinda hungry, and no one is up for another fast food meal. We stop at a Cracker Barrel in Troy, IL, for dinner. While waiting to eat we try to figure out how much further to drive. Both Nancy and I are getting tired, so we agree on one more hour - that'll put us in Effingham, IL, around 11PM. Once again we pick the Holiday Inn Express. Tomorrow's another day…

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