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Posts Tagged ‘Coors’


Within five minutes of the aforementioned photoshoot on the staircase at Magretta and Chuck’s Forget-Me-Knot bed and breakfast in St. Louis, Missouri, we were back on the road in a light drizzle that evolved quickly into driving rain. With a cool, strong breeze blowing too, it was undeniable that we weren’t in Louisiana anymore.

The dramatic temperature change even prompted us to ditch the car’s air conditioning for the heating!

We were both a little weary and lethargic this morning, a not uncommon feeling at this three-quarter point in a month long vacation. But spending a few days with our San Francisco friends and their two sons, who were joining us in Chicago, would no doubt re-energise us.

It was still the tail end of the rush hour, so driving was more challenging than it had been for the southern leg of the trip.

Another phenomenon that we had not experienced before – roadworks – slowed us down still further on I-55 (also Route 66), though we never reached the type of standstill that is a daily occurrence on the major motorways of the U.K.

At Litchfield we filled up on gas, the penultimate time we would need to do this before returning the car at Midway Airport in Chicago tomorrow.

Endless fields of corn and barns dominated the landscape.

I had remarked in a previous chapter that, even when the scenery might be bland for hundreds of miles, the directional and promotional signs that dot the highways of the United States are always a good read.

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Our history professor at the breakfast table earlier had self-disparagingly claimed his home state had little to commend it other than its connection to Abraham Lincoln.

And we were reminded of that on a number of occasions on the roadside.

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We had set out with the intention of visiting the Lincoln Museum in Springfield, but the dismal weather, and relatively slow progress, prompted us to decide to drive on to our destination, with only a brief stop near Chatham where we had McMuffins (for the last time) and coffee for the ludicrously low price of $7.49.

Arriving a little earlier in Peoria would also enable us to rearrange the suitcases as it would be the last opportunity to do so before our next flight (from Chicago to New York).

And for me to catch up on the blog!

We arrived at our Motel 6 (the cheapest accommodation of the whole trip at only $60 (£46) for the night), as the rain finally relented.

It was located in a typically American roadside complex of gas stations, a variety of stores and a handful of modest eating places, one of which, amidst the fast food outlets, was the fantastic Biaggi’s.

We had been disappointed on our last evening in St. Louis that we could not have the classy Italian we had craved, so to discover such an elegant establishment in such an unexpected place was a delight.

Our only reservation was having to endure the barman ‘s pretentious descriptions  of the dozens of exotic craft beers he was willing to dispense. It almost made me pine for  the days when all you could get was a Bud or Coors!

Tomorrow would be the last day on the road.

And, as if to complete the set of different types of accommodation we had stayed at, we would have a whole three bedroomed house at our disposal!

Folkestone meets San Francisco in Chicago!

 

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After an all too brief week in the area last year, we landed back in the southern San Francisco neighbourhood of Noe Valley yesterday. Well, we didn’t actually land here – that was further south still at San Francisco International Airport, but I’m sure you know what I mean.

After the frustrations of recent flight delays to both San Francisco and Las Vegas, our journey went astonishingly well. But it started ominously as, alone of all flights out of Heathrow that morning, we were delayed by an accident on the M25 motorway which halted the progress of Virgin Atlantic cabin crew. Which begs the question: why was no other airline company affected?

But never mind. We took off fifty minutes late, but with a remarkably short flight time, touched down at San Francisco International Airport fifteen minutes early. The twenty minute wait to collect our luggage afforded us ample time to contemplate, fresh from stories of friends experiencing hours in line at other American airports, the anticipated horrors of actually getting into the country through U.S. Immigration, especially, as there had been significant cuts to staffing in the service in recent months.  

We needn’t have worried. The entire process – waiting in line, one last, frantic check of our customs declaration form, having our photographs and hand prints taken, and explaining what we planned to do whilst in the country – took less than ten minutes!

And the Eurasian guy who saw us was chatty, friendly and intrigued by both our love affair with SF and also the fact that we waited 30 years before getting married, and then doing it in Vegas! I think the story would have been repeated over a beer with his mates later that evening.

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A short taxi ride brought us to our spacious apartment an hour and a half after landing, and we were quaffing Sierra Nevada Pale Ales and Coors Lights in the Valley Tavern on 24th Street less than an hour after that. A typical American sports bar – voluminously stacked shelves behind the bar and lighting provided by around a dozen TV sets all showing the (Indiana) Pacers and (Miami) Heat NBA play-off game. After a shop for essentials at the 24th Street Wholefoods market we settled down for a plate of pasta and bottle of wine, followed by some mellow Jerry Garcia licks on the ipod as we struggled to stay awake (no reflection on Jerry, mind).
It was a little too cool by now to take advantage of our outside deck with views of Bernal Heights to the east and Diamond Heights to the west. Forecast is for bright, largely sunny weather for the duration with temperatures varying between the lower sixties and early eighties.
Despite, as ever, gaining minimal sleep on the plane, I needed only six hours sleep before rising at 4.30am to await the sunrise over Bernal Heights – and sate my craving for peanut butter granola and sourdough toast (though not at the same time). The cloud cover, however, and the fact that the sun was hidden by the hillside anyway, rendered this an uninspiring event. But I’m sure there will be more spectacular mornings to come. 

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