Vegas, Baby

I'm supposed to hate Vegas. I mean if you dissect it, I hate most of it's individual pieces. It's loud; I hate that. It's bright; hate it. It's over-the-top; yep, hate that, too. It's fake; It's a city built in a place there shouldn't even be a city. Everything about this town is fake from the facades to the boobs.

The view from my bathtub (see "over-the-top")

Yet, I just can't bring myself to hat it at all. In fact, I love this city. Maybe it's the fact that at any hour of the day you've got a variety of poker room choices. Maybe because it's a tourist-centered hospitality city. Service workers here do go out of their way to make you feel taken care of.

Or maybe it's just because they'll sell you a "roady" at the airport bar.

 "You want one to go?"

"You want one to go?"

Yeah. I love this town.

 Venetian canals in a desert. Sure, why not.

Venetian canals in a desert. Sure, why not.

Free Beer

A few months ago the wife and I headed down to the city to take the FREE tour of the Anheuser-Busch brewery.  And, in the process, scratch another "to do" off my 101 in 1001 list.  (#63 Tour the AB Brewery)

We had a great time.  I think Gina enjoyed it even more than I did.  We were both amazed by the scale and speed of the operation.  Though, I think the stop at the Clydesdale barn was her favorite part.  She especially loved seeing the Dalmatians.  One of them was active and walking all around the place while the other was just sleeping on the floor while 60 strangers bustled in, talking loudly and taking pictures.  That was one laid back dog.

After the tour we stopped off for our free refreshments.  For me, it was hard to pass up free Stella on tap so that was a pretty easy choice.  Initially Gina said she'd just have soda but I "encouraged" her to not turn down free beer and she went with the Pumpkin seasonal... which I ended up drinking as well.

We had a great time and decided we'd come back again for the "Beer School" tour to learn more about food pairings with the AB beers.  Our first attempt was denied because we arrived too late and the tour was already full.  So, it's still on our list of things to do.

I can't believe I lived in St. Louis for 8 years before making it down there for the tour.  If you're in the area you should definitely check it out.  A word of caution, though, while the tour itself may be free it ends at the Gift Shop (as do all good tours).  The shop is full of AB schwag (hats, t-shirts, keychains, etc.) and, of course, beer.  You can build your own mix-&-match 6 packs of some of the AB "boutique" brands.  Be prepared to spend a few dollars after the free tour.

Illinois Day Trip

I took Wednesday off because the wife and I had planned on taking a trip to Springfield, IL for some sort of Abraham Lincoln anniversary celebration.  We later found it that it was a tour for seasoned-citizens so we bailed on that.  But, rather than canceling my day off, we decided instead to take a drive down to Southern Illinois.

Of course, the first thing we did was to dress the dog up in a ridiculous shirt.

 Ando

Ando

Once he was ready to go, we piled into the car and took a scenic trip down Lucas & Hunt Blvd in St. Louis.  Emerging at I-70, we continued into the city and picked up I-55 South.

Our first stop (thanks to GPS confusion) was at Kaskaskia, IL and the Kaskaskia Bell State Historic Site.  It was eerily quiet and I tried to convince Gina that everyone had fled the impending zombie apocalypse.  Although she didn't buy it, she was still a bit creeped out by the solitude.  Kaskaskia is interesting because although it is Illinois, it's on an island on the WESTERN side of the Mississippi river.

From Kaskaskia, we headed to Ste Genevieve, Missouri and then across the Mississippi into Chester, IL.  We stopped in Chester briefly to take some pictures with the Popeye statue.  They're currently in the process of building a nice welcome/visitor center with a patio overlooking the river.  From here, we picked up the Great River Road (IL-3) and motored south.

After a brief stop for lunch, we arrived in Metropolis, Illinois... the home of Superman.  We walked around the quaint little town for a bit and, of course, took a bunch of pictures with the giant Superman statue.

Check out the rest of the pics...