Thursday, August 29
660 grueling miles
Pretty good sleep at the Blue Swallow. We are up early this morning because we know we have a long day ahead of us. The plan is to make it to Springfield, MO in order to have dinner tonight at Ophelia’s Wine Bar like Rich and I enjoyed two years ago. (read about our last time HERE). Many miles along with another hour’s time change mean that we must make tracks.
We make the time to sit outside in the cool morning air with our coffee before hitting the road.
Janel and Pablo are tasked with finding the perfect breakfast place in Amarillo – about an hour and a half down the road. The only caveat is that we want the restaurant to be close to the freeway to save precious miles and time. They turn to Yelp and quickly make a decision. Calico County restaurant here we come.
The miles fly by and are stomachs are grumbling. I got up early and made it through a workout on my iphone app – YAYOG (You Are Your Own Gym) so I am especially hungry. Somewhere along the way a thought of pork chops crosses my mind and won’t go away. I decide I must have chops and eggs for breakfast (protein, right?) and Janel readily agrees. Our biggest worry is that Calico County will not have the specified meat. We will simply walk out.
What we really want is a nap, but the road is calling. Janel takes over the wheel and we motor on while playing a rousing round of Contact (fantastic new word game that Janel taught us.) Pablo learns a few new English words along the way. (Did you know that “sonofabitch” is one word?)
Once again, dicey car snacks are brought out and various naps are caught.
I took a driving spin and then Rich brought us all “home” by driving the last 300 grueling miles into Springfield. We easily navigate to the Best Western Rail Haven Motel (very nice, very clean). We ditch the bike from the back of the suv, change clothes and head out to Ophelia’s in downtown Springfield.
As mentioned in our earlier post from Springfield, Springfield Missouri has managed to do something with their downtown area that many cities try to do and fail. They have revitalized an historic area and it is now filled with restaurants, bars and shops which attract a young, vibrant, walking clientele. Very nice.
Parking is a bit of a problem downtown and when Rich appears to be trying to park in a handicap spot (he wasn’t, but it looked like he was) Pablo piped up said “Stick it in your ear!) Rich was taken aback and I thought Pablo was being very fresh for only meeting us a few days earlier. However, the incident was smoothed over when we notice the sign that Pablo was reading on an audio shop just over Rich’s shoulder.
Ophelia’s is right where we left it and the same owner greets us at the door. We are disappointed at first to find out that they have removed the Stinking Bishop cheese from their menu. We figure it is because we were the only patrons who ever ordered it. We settle on a great bottle of Shiraz for Janel, Pablo and me while Rich opts for a glass of Sauvignon Blanc.
The owner’s help is enlisted for assistance in choosing dinner items. We settle on a cheese plate (he says he will spring a new product (Porter Cheese) on us since we seem to be guinea pig-like). He will also slice a variety of cured meats – bison, elk and summer sausages. We will supplement all with salmon skewers and a puff pastry “thing.” Done.
Since we don’t have to rise early tomorrow (shorter travel day), we linger for a good bit at Ophelia’s. Finally the fogies (Rich and Linda) are waning. Janel and Pablo choose to wander around downtown and then walk the 2 miles back home.
It has been a long day in the car, but it is made shorter and much more pleasant by the company which we have been keeping.
Tomorrow – family day in Lincoln. Start the Insanity!