8:30 PM (CT): After the heartbreaking loss to the Oklahoma Griffens, we departed the wonderful Kansas City. To our delight, the cashier at our parking garage was unattended with the gate open - free parking! We decide to take the $12 per car savings to the nearest Sonic. Despite the bombardment of tv ads for Sonic in Michigan, none of our group of seven had ever actually eaten at this drive-in wonder. We agree to stop at the first Sonic we see on our way home.
8:40 PM (CT): Well, that sure didn't take long. Second exit out of K.C. yields a Sonic. Instead of utilizing the drive in feature, our group decides to take advantage of the warm weather and sit at a table outside. My thoughts on the Sonic experience:
- The drive in option is pretty cool, but slows down the whole fast food process and probably leads to a significant number of car accidents in the south.
- I was VERY dissapointed that our waitress was not on rollerblades. They were sitting in the window, why didn't she use them. I felt a bit cheated.
- The food was very average, but they did have an excellent variety. From breakfast burritos to french toast, to patty melts there was something for everybody.
- The drinks! By far the most appealing aspect of Sonic. Too bad it wasn't happy hour which would have made the drinks 50% off!
9:05 AM (CT): On the road again, I-35 north heading towards Des Moines, Iowa.
Ground covered: 10 miles; Road: I-35 N; State: Missouri
11:05 AM (CT): Cross into Iowa, greeted by the welcome sign: "Welcome to Iowa, fields of opportunity"
11:58 AM (CT): Well, there sure are fields. Not a whole lot else though. We pick up 80 East in Des Moines.
12:25 AM (CT): The other car in our two-vehicle caravan pulls off the highway at the exit for Brooklyn. Upon exiting, they immediately get back on. Our car was confused as to what they could possibly be expecting to find at an exit where there was not a single light to be seen in any direction.
12:30 AM (CT): Finally a sign of civilization in the form of a gas station as we exit the highway 20 miles east of the nearest city which is called, Wat Cheer. Awesome name. We stop to use the restroom and refuel our stomachs and our gas tanks. Only in Iowa would there be an advertisement for “virtual cigarettes” above the urinal, “cigarettes you can smoke anywhere, anytime.” Oh, Iowa.
Distance covered: 270 miles; Road: I-80 East; State: Iowa.
1:34 AM (CT): We arrive at the much anticipated Largest Truck Stop in the World (pictured at right) off exit 284 on Route I-80 in Iowa. We get snacks from the Wendy’s inside this cavernous truck stop and take some time to appreciate the vast array of novelty souvenirs available at this bi-level truck stop. Some personal favorites:
- An entire rack of Jesus themed T-Shirts including a white t-shirt reading: Jesus loves You Too in the design of the Youtube logo.
- Shot glasses from each of the 50 states. Iowa’s read: Iowa, the state of tall corn.
- An entire rack of Iowa postcard, most of which featured broken down barns or cornfields.
1:51 AM (CT): Two states down, three to go as we exit Iowa! “Welcome to Illinois, Land of Lincoln.” I lose cellphone reception. Figures, T-mobile would be solid in Iowa but not in Illinois. Perhaps corn transmits wireless signals well?
Distance covered: 353 miles; Road: I-80 East; State: Illinois.
3:21 AM (CT): First radar shooting policeman sighting. The backseat of our car wakes up as Tom slams on the brakes.
Distance covered: 490 miles; Road: I-80 East; State: Illinois.
3:29 AM (CT): Speed limit on I-80 East drops from 70, to 65, to 55, to 45 over the course of about three minutes. Momentum breaker, but it is nice to see Toledo on a road sign.
3:35 AM (CT): 45 mph? Really? It’s 3:30 in the morning and we’re stuck going 45. Why?
3:38 AM (CT): Speed limit is back up to 65. I can live with that. 4ish hrs to go. I’ll take this opportunity to give my top five highlights from our trip to K.C.
Top 5 moments of the trip (in no particular order).
- Cramming four semi-grown 21 year olds into a 2001 Toyota Echo (great car for gas mileage, not so much for legroom) for a 12-hour overnight drive.
- Cramming eight semi-grown 21 year olds into a four person hotel room and then being covert enough to steal extra towels off the housekeeping cart when it was left unattended and being sure to stagger our exits every time we left the room.
- Turning the Arthur Bryant’s BBQ Restaurant into a pseudo Michigan party as coincidentally 25 Michigan fans all decided to make the trip to this one particular BBQ joint which was well off the beaten path.
- Running into Spud Webb along with another group of Michigan fans at a bar to watch #13 seed Cleveland State blow out #4 Wake Forest and #9 Siena knock off #8 OSU in Dayton, OH in double OT.
- The world’s largest truck stop in Iowa
Ground covered: 573 miles; Road: I-94 E; State: Indiana
4:30 AM (CT): Pass the exit for Chesteron, Indiana – home of Michigan freshman power forward (wow, I really just labeled him a power forward) Zach Novak.
Ground covered: 590 miles; Road: I-94 E; State: Indiana
--Cross into Eastern Time Zone --
5:42 AM (ET): We’re back in Michigan! “Great Lakes, Great Times” reads the sign.
6:20 AM (ET): Brett becomes our third driver of the trip as we enter the home stretch around Kalamazoo.
Ground covered: 673 miles; Road: I-94 E; State: Michigan
8:30 AM (ET): Arrival back in Ann Arbor!
Ground covered: 764 miles; Road: State St.; State: Michigan