Saturday, June 12, 2010

June 2010 Family Vacation Day 1

Destination: St. Louis, MO



Let me just begin by saying that day one of our trip was eventful and very exhausting. I don’t think out of any of our road trips that we experienced as much as we did on this day. The good thing is that we accomplished everything we planned to do.

We didn’t hit the road until about 12:30 in the morning. Good thing Ernest got some rest before then because I was not help at all. I spent all my time after work making final errands including giving the boys their bath, cleaning out the refrigerator, and finishing our packing. By the time we drove off I was so tired that I was out like a light until we almost reached Memphis at 6am. However, the 10-11 hr drive to St. Louis wasn’t bad at all. Felt a lot quicker than it sounds. The boys for the most part were very well behaved. Every now and then they argued over a car or coloring book, but it wasn’t anything major at all. I think the real downside to the road trip to St. Louis was the fact that once we entered Missouri our choices of radio stations were very limited. We couldn’t find even a gospel station that sounded of interest.

Once we entered the city limits of St. Louis we were not impressed with it all. Every single building in this place was old and many looked run-down. Ernest thought that it was just one big slum…LMAO. To me it looked not different from Denver, CO. In fact, it had the Denver feel to it except that Denver is much cleaner. That is definitely the one thing I am proud of when it comes to my hometown.

Now throughout our time in St. Louis there was several times that our cell phone’s GPS had the right directions, but wrong locations. It all began with trying to find out our hotel. The GPS was trying to find Evans St or Drive, but we need to go to Pl. LMAO. We ended up right in the middle of the HOOD. However, the GPS did make up for its horrible mistake quickly and off to the Hilton Garden by the airport we went.

Now, we didn’t stay in the hotel long at all. Just long enough to check-in, bring in our bags, change cloths and back into the car we went. First place of interest…Sweetie Pies. Sweetie Pies is a restaurant we saw featured on "Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives". The owner is a lady that use to be a backup singer for Ike & Tina Turner. Was interest us about this place was the mac & cheese along with the atmosphere. Just seemed like a must go to place. The establishment is done with a cafeteria style feel. Holding tables aren’t allowed which is expressed on the chalkboard as you walk in. You walk in grab a tray and select one of the current day’s menu items along with sides and dessert. Ernest had their catfish, cabbage, mac & cheese, and cornbread. The boys both had spaghetti. As for me it was pork chops , okra, mac & cheese, and cornbread with banana pudding and peach cobbler for dessert. Let’s just say we were very satisfied with our meal, but too be truly honest …we have had better in Mobile, AL. Great food if you live in St. Louis, but not impressed with it much. Little Ernest ate like he had never eaten before. The darn child kept stuffing his mouth with food and asking for more. Robert liked the spaghetti, but had a hard time eating out of the small bowl he was given. Oh and the dessert well let’s just say I missed my Sister-in-Laws cakes and pies. I wasn’t into it at all.

Next stop…Gateway Arch. This is a place you have to see for yourself people. The Arch is about as wide as a football field is long if that. Looking up can make a person either dizzy or sick. It was simply amazing. The funniest part was watching this older man with his granddaughter. He had told her that if she put her ear to the Arch she could hear her dad’s morse code from the other end. Now keep in mind that he said this while giving me a wink and a smile. That 13-14 year old girl was trying her hardest to find out if it was true. I thought that was hilarious. We watched the river boats and the helicopter that takes people on scenic tours. We even allowed the boys to just run and enjoy themselves. It was an excellent family moment.

After the Arch it was on to the St. Louis Zoo. Before we got out the parking lot we noticed that the stadium where the Saint Louis Rams play was like adjacent for the arch. Then ran into the stadium for the St Louis Cardinals. Took what few pictures we could take. Once at the zoo it seemed as if it was going to rain so we didn’t see a lot. The zoo is free, but you have to pay $11 for parking. We wanted to take the train, but it only takes you around the zoo and you don’t get the chance to see many animals. Plus I don’t think the old guy doing tickets really wanted us on it anyhow…LOL. Because we thought it would rain we only checked one section of the zoo and although we saw interesting animals it wasn’t impressive. I think we saw more trees and caves than anything. Ernest was disappointed because there were no Black Rhinos. Little Ernest wanted to see Lions but they were on the other side. What we did see were a few birds, some mongooses, a lot of fish, a couple of hippos, anteaters, a lot of Asian Elephants, and a GIGANTIC Hyena. Robert got scared when we saw the last group of fish. I think it was more of the setting than the fish. It was like in a cave theme and the area was dark.

Once we were through with the zoo we had one more stop and then off to the hotel room. Last stop was another restaurant we saw on TV. It called the Iron Barley and it was featured on both "Diner, Drive-ins, and Dives" and "Man vs Food". Let me just say that this place is nowhere near as big as we thought on the TV show. It was very small, but just walking in and see the portions others had peeked my interest a lot. Since we were all tired and ready to sleep we decided to get something to go. The boys had a "Naked Double Dog" which is two long hot dogs grilled. Ernest and I both got this off menu prime rib meal. I can’t tell you the actual name or what that was on the side, but once we got to our rooms and ate we were extremely impressed. Even slightly warm the food was delicious and sooooo worth our trip. It is definitely a place we will revisit again if we ever come back through.

Well, there you have it for the end of our first day of our family vacation. We are all pleased. It was an excellent and eventful day that is for sure.