Jul 12, 2013

Road Trip USA: Atlanta to St. Louis

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On July first, 2013 Hannah and I drove across America from Atlanta, Georgia to Portland, Oregon. Here's our adventure! There are pictures after the text; I promise! 

The first leg of our epic road trip across America was an eight and a half drive from Atlanta, Georgia to St. Louis, Missouri on July first. I've never been to St. Louis, so I was pretty pumped to see the city and go up the St. Louis Arch!

We ended up getting up around 6 AM so we could leave by 7 AM. The night before we said goodbye to people (and Hannah's wonderful cat, Tippy, whom I miss terribly), packed up the cars, and cleaned out Hannah's apartment. In the morning we said goodbye to the house and headed for the highway! Getting on the road so early was a huge help--there wasn't much traffic, and it meant we had a lot more time in St. Louis then we expected. 

We had all been to Nashville before, so the beginning of the drive wasn't too exciting. There were lots of trees, and the road is pretty mountainous, but it's also easy driving. We headed up I-75 N before switching to I-24 W around Chattanooga. We arrived in Nashville around 10:30 AM local time (one hour behind Atlanta), and stopped at The Pharmacy, a tasty burger joint Hannah and I had been to before. One of my friends from Emory, Kathryn, lives in Nashville, so she met up with us for lunch. We totally forgot about the time change, and we ended up being there 30 minutes before the restaurant even opened (at 11 AM)! It worked out nicely, though, because we got to relax a little. Seeing Kathryn was great, and the food was awesome--I got a falafel burger with a chickpea patty, yogurt raita, onion, and local goat cheese, along with their tasty potato fries. It really hit the spot! 

After our lunch we hit the road again around 12 PM. The drive to Nashville took a little under four hours, and we had about four and a half hours left to drive. The drive wasn't too exciting--we drove into Kentucky and Illinois for a little while and then passed into Missouri--and we came into St. Louis around 4:30 PM off of I-64, which gave us some great views of the Arch! Our first stop was our hotel, the Days in St. Louis North. It wasn't the nicest, but the staff were friendly, we got free breakfast, and it was only $60 for the night. At the hotel we "freshened up" a little, relaxed for a hot second, and headed back out around 5:30 PM to go see the Arch, which was an amazing experience. The structure was really impressive, and I loved being able to learn about some of St. Louis's history. We ended up going to the top, where we got an awesome view of the city from 630 feet up! You go up in these tiny little windowless pods that can only fit 4 people, which was a bit weird, but totally worth it.

After going up we walked around outside the Arch for a few minutes before heading to dinner. We drove to the Delmar Loop area of the city, near Washington University in St. Louis (WashU, Emory's self proclaimed "rival" school!). The city was incredibly beautiful, and not at all what I expected--very green, well lit, well kept up. For dinner we tried to go to Blueberry Hill restaurant because a friend of mine from St. Louis had recommended it to us. Unfortunately, we arrived too late and all they had was the bar menu (which wasn't supper veggie friendly), so we waked down the street to Seoul Taco, which was random but actually super delicious (and it was crazy late, so we were starving!). I ended up getting a burrito with kimchi fried rice, lettuce, cheese, carrots, sour cream, tofu, and seoul sauce inside, which was delicious. 

Our final destination for the night was Ted Drewes, a famous frozen custard shop in St. Louis. Even though we arrived kind of late, the place was still absolutely packed, and we were lucky to find a parking space! I ended up getting cookie dough, which was absolutely delicious. I can totally see why it's famous! The thing I love the most about frozen custard is how creamy it is. It's definitely one of the things I miss a lot from summers at the Jersey Shore (where you can find the original Kohr Brother's frozen custard on the beach boardwalk). 

It was a long day, but it was also full of awesome food and great new adventures! It was great to see Nashville one last time before leaving the south, and I'm super glad we made it to St. Louis. I could totally see myself going back there someday!

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