For those who aren't familiar with the geography, there's spike or panhandle at the top of West Virginia that sticks up between Pennsylvania and Ohio. That was some of the most beautiful country I've ever driven through.
It's almost distracting, the breath-taking explosions of color as the leaves were all changing. This is one of the few instances when I really wished I'd had a camera. Of course, if I had, I would have been even more distracted, and might not have ever finished the trip.
And then I was finally in Missouri! This was my last state for the day. All I had to do was drive around St. Louis and I'd be done. Since it was Sunday night, I thought it would be best to stay at a hotel on the other side, so I wouldn't have to fight St. Louis traffic on Monday morning.
By the way, you can see the famous St. Louis Arch from pretty far away. For a while, it almost seemed like a mirage, and that even if I sped up, I still wasn't getting any closer to it. I was also fortunate in that the National League Championship Series was going on, and even though the Cardinals were home, playing the Astros in game 4 of the series, I got in, around and out of St. Louis without dealing with Championship traffic.
Found my hotel, just west of the city, and then took some time for a treat. I didn't want to stay out late, going to one of St. Louis' famous blues clubs. Well, I did, but I knew it would be tough to get going early the next morning if I did.
But I certainly wasn't going to stop in St. Louis and not have ribs!
The night before, in Pennsylvania, when I had gotten online to find a hotel, I also looked up ribs. The internet informed me that one of the best places in St. Louis was a barbecue joint called Charlotte's Rib (named for a local TV celebrity). I was glad I did the research, as I heard someone asking the guy at the front desk for suggestions, and he told them he didn't know as he wasn't from the area, so there wouldn't have been any help there.
Not to turn this into a restaurant review (ten years later), but if you're ever in St. Louis, you should put Charlotte's Rib high on your list of things to do.
I found my way back to the hotel, booked my next stop and said goodnight to Lisa. I was now half a country closer!
Seems like I should have been listening to the blues on the way to St. Louis, but one of my most vivid memories of this leg of the trip is crossing a bridge in West Virginia, marveling at the spectacular display nature was providing me, and hearing "Telegraph Road" coming out of my car's speakers. I may very well be the only person who connects Dire Straits to West Virginia.
Ken Kessler has always been interested in psychic phenomena, and like Mulder on the X-Files, wants to believe. But like most, he tends to look for, and accept, rational explanations. (More)