Saturday, June 04, 2011

Cross-country trip - day 4

My drive out of Kansas City was uneventful, with a brief lament about the fact that I didn't get to spend more quality time there. On the way to St. Louis, I stopped off at this one Mayberry type town (which shall remain nameless here). There were several official brown highway signs pointing out the existence of this quaint town. Even that modest highway advertising was a bit overstated. The photo to the right shows the full extent of the "historic old town". To me, it seemed like a glorified yard sale, with its four or five antique shops. The windmill was interesting.

Crossing the middle of America went well. I was able to hit St. Louis about mid-day to see the Gateway Arch. It's big and very stainless (as in stainless steel). If you don't intend on staying at the monument for longer than 30 minutes, parking is fairly easy to find (in the 30-minute park zones). However, spending more time there will likely cost a few bucks on garage parking.

There was no time to go on a tour inside the monument, but there was enough time to have lunch at Pappy's Smokehouse (of Man V Food fame). The food was great and the service was quick, polite and friendly. When I got back on my way, I crossed over the mighty Mississippi without giving it much more than a passing glance. The only reason for such disregard was that I forget to look at it as I drove over the bridge.

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The drive into Indiana consisted of an abrupt speed change down to 65MPH. As far as I could tell, there was no reason for this. Even worse, within Indianapolis, the speed limit was 55MPH on the freeways. These freeways are very wide and very modern. In my opinion, one would be safer driving at 85MPH on the Indianapolis freeways than they would be driving 75 on a rural freeway in Wyoming. The 55MPH speed limit just doesn't seem logical. It almost seems like people from Indiana let their grandma's pick the speed limit.

Oh, did I mention I drove through Illinois (and avoided Chicago)? Yeah, I did that too. I was on a mission to break my old, personal record for the most miles on one tank of gas. In my old 2003 Acura TL-S, I was once able to go 360 miles without refueling. With my 2009 Pontiac G8 GT (with its 6.0L 8 cylinder engine), I easily passed 400 miles, with about 24MPG. (I love the engine technology that shuts down 4 of the cylinders when they aren't needed). City driving is much worse, with about 15MPG. So, I either get really good mileage (for a V8) or really bad mileage, depending on the type of driving.

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