31.08.2011 - 31.08.2011 103 °F
It was freaking hot today! 96 at 10am and by noon it was 100. We topped out at 104 degrees. There is a heat warning in effect until Saturday around this region.
We started out early this morning knowing that we had a short drive and could spend a majority of the day at our new destination, St. Louis. We left the Best Western in Hannibal, MO at 8:30am. We arrived in St. Louis at around 11:30. We would have been here earlier but we were following Route 79 which is the Great River Road and came upon a closed road sign due to flooding at some point in late spring or early summer. They are rebuilding the road. So we needed to either turn around and drive back 10 miles to find an alternate route or chance it and take a county route that was titled "TT". The road was almost all white gravel. The road showed on our physical map, but shows it dead-ends in a small town of about 50 people. There was no cell signal on our phones for the gps, which we have faced alot on the River Road, so we decided to try the county road. We got down about 2 miles and there was a hunter conservation sort of building and a guy walking in. Amy jumped out of the Ford Escape and walked right behind him as he was about to close the door. She greeted him and he was like, "Well hello there" and looked her up and down, probably not expecting a lady out in these parts. I of course did not know this until she got back in the car. She asked if the road heads to anywhere and when the guy started talking, she said, "can you come out and tell my husband this stuff?" He came out and told us this road goes for about 5 miles and then hooks back up with Route 79. As we drove down this road, I heard Banjo's playing in my head. It was like that, yeah.
Our first stop in St. Louis was the St. Louis Zoo. It's free! But not really, you have to pay $12 for parking. Then it's free until you want to go to the children's zoo section, then it's another "x" amount. Anyway, we paid about $20 for 3 of us for about 2hrs. It was 100 degrees. I mentioned that right? It was so hot and many of the animals were as unhappy with the heat as we were. Many of them were holed up in one of their dens sleeping. However, we were able to see a few animals including a hippo swimming around like crazy. We could only take about 2hrs of the heat before we had to leave.
Our next stop was to the Missouri Botanical Garden. If you like plants, trees and flowers this place is the bomb. I am a little bit of a green thumb and I loved this place. It is about 79 acres of different types of gardens. We tried to see as much as we could in about 2hrs, but again it was so hot. I think you could spend a whole day at this place. It is very peaceful.
We finally decided to head to our hotel early. We are staying at the Hampton Inn tonight. They had a pool and that is where we hung out for about an hour and 1/2. We finally got our act together and decided to go to dinner and wanted to go to Pappy's BBQ which is the #1 rated BBQ place in St. Louis. However, they were closing at 8pm and we wouldn't be there by then. This place doesn't have set hours, they close when they run out of food and according to the folks we talked to at the hotel, there could be lines to order that last over an hour.
While I was down there talking to the hotel clerk there was another young woman who I think might work here but be off duty. She proceeded to tell me that she's a vegetarian but that she has heard that this other place, "Penny's BBQ" was really good and she has been there before with others that liked it. I was thinking to myself, ok I am seriously considering going to this place on a recommendation from a vegetarian? But off we went. Bad choice! Ribs were ok, but I cook them better then they did. In addition all of their sides were gross. The baked beans were canned and the coleslaw had onions in it. Amy almost threw up on the first bite! LOL
However, we did top off the night with a great visit to the Famous Ted Drewes Frozen Custard. It's been a staple of St. Louis since 1929. It's essentially ice cream, but the cool thing is it's so thick you can turn it upside down and it doesn't come out. Matter of fact the servers have to do that to everyone of them before they hand it to you, to make sure it is to their high standards. They also call these things frozen concrete. We loved them. It was a little weird though that when we started to drive to this location after dark, we noticed it was not a nice area. Then as we pulled up, there was a police officer there standing outside. I believe he does this every night while they are open. That was a little disconcerting. However, we made it there and back to the hotel safely.
Tomorrow it's off to Memphis TN for two days. We will be driving through 5 states tomorrow. MO, IL, AR, KY, TN... Should be a blast. We will start the day with a visit to the Arch in the morning.