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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Destination: Route 66 in our '67: Life in the Slow Lane

Starting time: 8:45 AM CST – St. Louis, MO
Starting mileage: 57843
Yesterday’s mileage: 470
Average MPG: 15.9 MPG

We stayed last night at Embassy Suites Downtown St. Louis, in a phenomenal old building that had been built in the mid 1800s as a department store, After several iterations, it was most recently a Dillard’s, which closed in the 1980s. The ceilings in our room were twelve feet high (and you really appreciated that height when you looked at the floor-to-ceiling curtains; what do you suppose was the yardage required per room...?) Complimentary happy hour and breakfast were served in what they called the Atrium which was, remarkably, NOT on the first floor, but rather on the fourth floor (of five). This is a picture of it, which fails utterly to capture the magnificence of scale.

And of course, one of the attractions of the Embassy Suites was the fact that it offered valet parking for the Duchess. The head valet, who stated "There hasn't be a car in forty years that I couldn't drive," needed instructions how to start her (it's a push button start). The valets this morning were so taken with her they were taking selfies in her front seat, hahaha.

While the selfie photoshoot and morning checkup was taking place in front of the hotel, I went across the street to get lattes at Starbucks. A serviceman in camo came in behind me,

"I want to get his drink for him," I said to the clerk, offering my card.

"That's okay, I've got it," she answered.

I love it - arguing over who gets to comp our military a cup of coffee. Just warms my heart.


Today's comparison of newer technology vs. old:

Pro: The Duchess has a vent that, when activated, a little door pops up right outside the windscreen to suck in air. Perfect for when you want a little freh air without the noise of an open window or even that of the wind wings (which for some reason sucks in the smell of gasoline).

Con:The Subaru has a feature that beeps at the two-hour mark when you've been driving, presumably to prevent driver fatigue. This has always been our signal to pull off, get a coffee, change drivers. But of course, the Duchess doesn't have this, so unless it's time for petrol, I have to practically wrench the steering wheel out of Chris's hands, LOL.

And when I do...it's life in the slow lane. Everyone who knows me knows that I talk fast, walk fast, drive fast. I honestly cannot remember the last time I observed the speed limit, especially on a highway. Usually when it's my turn to drive, we're doing 80 MPH. On this trip, I rarely crest 70 MPH. Cars and even semi trucks are passing us all day long. This is literally a letting go for me. Even without music or a book on tape to listen to, even with just the sound of the engine purring, it is a lesson to me in letting go of the anxiety that we have to be somewhere on a certain schedule...a lesson I have struggled all my life to learn.

Today is a short day, as we drove only to Topeka (just short of six hours, as opposed to eight hours plus), where my cousins live. Really wanted to stop in and see our friends Shawn and Chris in Liberty, MO for lunch, but as per the above, I am still finding it difficult to estimate the time vis-a-vis the slower pace. My cousins Betsy and Ron have kindly cleared their garage for the Duchess's comfort tonight, and not only did Chris take the opportunity to give her a thorough once-over ("what IS that odd noise that sounds like the compressor is on...?"), he immediately borrowed bucket and water and gave her a quick bath. Cue the eyeroll...

Noted on today's drive:

--In the bathroom in a truck stop in Missouri: After passing through aisles thick with junk food (Funyons, pork crackling, fifteen flavors of beef jerky, jumbo bags of candy) I find a SCALE in the restroom that will give you your weight and horoscope. I wonder how often it gets used.

--Advertising for Progressive Auto Insurance (that annoying Flo!) in a Kansas tollbooth, directly over the ticket dispenser: "Slow down for Savings!" WTF!? Is there ANYTHING that doesn't have an ad on it nowadays!?!?

--Another place I don't want to put on my return address labels:

Gotta run -- lots of catching up to do with family before we crash for the night!


Arrival: 3:10 PM, CST, Topeka, KS

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