Thursday, 12 July, 2012 Chris left very early in the morning for work and we slept in. He was going to be back around 11.30 and by that time we had only showered, gotten dressed and checked some mails. We went out for lunch and Breakfast at the same time in a very cute little cafe. While Chris went to a coffehouse to get some work done we walked through little stores and laughed at things such as an "apology notepad". You had to fill things out basically saying what you did and why and if you will do it again haha :-D From the cofeehouse Chris took us to the mall and he went back to work at State Farm for two hours. We roamed the mall, stopping at various stores, skipping dangerous ones and ending up buying stuff at old navy :-D Victoria Secret will be visited again in CAL, that is a plan and a promise Having rejoined with Chris we went to telefon stores to try to get us an American number. We probably decided on a good plan from T-Mobile. Dinner was eaten at a delicious Indian restaurant. We tried different things and left the place comfortably full. We then drove around town for a while, looked at cornfields, the cute and tiny airport, the climbing hall, State Farm buildings, Hershey road and stopped by Walmart on the way to give Nici the chance to have been in and seen one. She was fascinates and a little horrified, well, the experience is made and leaving the store was harder than expected, since somebody was hard to move away from the hairband selection... ;-) Back at the hotel it was already more or less late and we watched a series of X-Files and listened to some music before going to bed again.
Wednesday, 11 July, 2012 My alarm rang at 8.30 and Tom, the owner of the hostel, knocked at 8.30 as well so I was up. After I had taken a shower Nici was just waking up :-D Her sleeping skills are amazing! We got everything packed, met our Swedish friends outside, packed the car and said goodbye, then we were off to have breakfast at the same place as yesterday. Once again it was delicious and with more company even more fun. They have such a good humor! We were constantly joking around. I think the craziest thing we did in St. Louis was to eat Melon with Tabasco on it! I did not try that but Richard and Nici dared each other and did it! We hid outside and moved the car, thinking Christian would not find us... the joke did not work out as planed because he saw the car instantly! hmmm Anyway, our next atop was the humongous arch. Due to lack of time Nici and Christian went in the boattour and Richard and I took the tour up to the top of the arch. I think all four of us enjoyed our choice. The elevator taking people up the arch was tiny and looked really spacy. Up at the top the view was amazing, how I'd love to be a bird sometimes. We saw chaped and things one cannot see from down below. Richard is a hobby pilot and appreciates the view from above as well. We stayed up there, leaning on the windowsill and just plainly stared outside. We met the other two outside again and made our way back to the car, taking pictures on the way. A St. Louis specialty was tried next: frozen custard. It was delicious! And it is so variable. When we arrived before the city museum I made the guys promise to do anything possible inside. They promised without knowing that this museum is like a kids paradise! You climb around, up, under and over things, feel young and enjoy this fabulous museum where everything is made of reused materials. We had such a good time! Richard and I are very proud of Nici and Chris for following and somng everything, because they are afraid of hights. I think we could have spent all day there but we had our train to catch. We said goodbye to our new friends with the promise of meeting up in San Francisco! We look forward to that. The trainride to Bloomington was very relaxing and Chris, our couch surfing host, picked us up at the station. Chris lives at a hotel! Well, he has to because his job sent him to Bloomington, which is a little tiny place in Illinois with not much to do. We spent the evening talking, drinking and chilling before going to bed and sleeping :-)
Tuesday, 10 July, 2012 good morning St. Louis! We slept surprisingly well and long before we left the dorm to start our days trip. Our plan for our stay in St Louis was to see Forest Park, the Gateway to the west, botanical.garden, city museum, art museum, the hill and another city district. Before we could concentrate on that we needed some food! We walked to the main train station, found coupons there ans made our way to this breakfast place called Chris Breakfast and Diner. We the train and a bus we finally got there and enjoyed a delicious breakfast! In the end we forgot to use our coupons... Next stop: forest park and the art museum. It gets extremely hot waiting for the bus outside in the sun! BTW, only black people travel on the bus! This extreme social disparity becomes very clear in this region of the country. It is weird but even though the bus and train connection is quite extensive, no whites use it. I hate having to make this differenciation but it sadly is that extreme. :-( Anyway, Forest Park is a remarkable place. This park is larger than central park in NYC! Basically no signs exist so you are doomed to get lost but it is beautiful. You do not feel like you are in the city anymore. Everywhere the ist green, plants, forest, trees, grass, water, lakes, fountains, streams, birds,... We enjoyed walking through the park. We did not have a lot of time at the art museum but we got to see half of the exhibition and my favorite piece is a painting by Buton, I think that is his name, where you can see a young lady standing at the beach with a wounded bird on her arm. The ocean, the sky and healthy birds can be seen in the background. She is standing at the beach and the colors and the light convey peace but at the same time melancholy. I loved finding this painting and just letting myself fall into it. On our way through the park on the bus we had seen people in a little paddle boat and we were determined to find them. We did eventually but decided against renting one because the sun was blazing hot and the water offered no shade. So we decided to check out the zoo! Well, it was already closing by the time we got there. Everything closes much to early in St. Louis! We took a break and then got going, on the mission of finding a way out of the park tadaaaaaa we found a way! The nearest busstop was not far away in a nice residential area. No busplan was available but we just sat and waited until it came We had decided to go check out downtown St. Louis and go to the Arch since it really was not that late jet. Downtown? What a joke! After visiting the Westward Expansion Exhibition, which was surprisingly well done and the way of telling the story quite objective, we walked around looking for a little shop with WiFi. Seriously - downtown St. Louis exists of Hotels, streets, office buildings, lights and absolutely no people! It was a gosttown! We gave up looking for stores or people quickly and took the metro back to the hostel, well not all the way because we had to change into a bus. At the busstop a guy selling water did not stop talking with us. I completely tuned out and let Nici talk while I tried to figure out which other bus we could so we would not have to wait for over 30 minutes. I did find another solution and saw a bus with the appropriate number sitting at the station and we went to ask the driver and showed him our destination on the map. His answer was, and here I will quote: "Well....what you need is the 10 in the other direction............................Let me tell you something......you have about less than 1 minute and 30 seconds. Your bus is back there!" He could not have said that any slower! We ran and got the bus and.eventually got back to the hostel where we joined some people outside, talking and enjoying the evening. Brandon lives in an apartment there, Shawn was a guest and so were Lilly and Charly. Charly had hitchhiked over 700 miles to see Lilly, is big love, but she was too drunk to pay any attention and ended up cheating on Charly with Shawn. As you might imagine, there was quite some drama going on and we felt sorry for Charly. Christian and Richard, two guys from Sweden, joined the party later on and we got along very well. We made plans to meet up in the morning. Eventually we went to bed without having Lolly and her dog sleeping with us.
Monday, 9. July, 2012 Even though we had stayed up late we all got up in the morning and got breakfast before packing up, realizing that my muscles are totally tense and trying to Posen them, profit from WiFi for a last time and finally checking out of the hotel. Thank you Tyrone for letting us stay with you there! You got great company haha The plan for the day were museums, post and Mexican lunch. First stop was the post office where Nici packed and sent off 2 dresses, a sweater and a hat for too much money. At least the cashier did not see that the box was from their stack so she did not charge for the box :-D Nice one and it made Nici feel less miserable for having to send things back because of lack of space. Tyrone got his mail off and we were back in the car on our way to the sculpture garden and the arts museum. I enjoyed the sculpture garden which was very wide speed, well decorated and obviously cared for with love. The most impressive art piece were gigantic batmitton birdies by Oldenburg! Wow, they were scattered through the area and two were places on their own on a gigantic grass area - wonderful effect. The art presented was mixed, mainly modern and fun to engage with. Unfortunately the museum in the Sculpture park was closed. We went to the other museum I wanted to visit but got unlucky there as well. Monday's is the museum's day off. We did get to get a beautiful glass sculpture and a brass spider... Nici had a very bad headache and so obviously was not feeling well. I gave her medicine and water but she really needed to be somewhere cold. We tried to hurry to find a place to eat, original plan had been mexican but that was dropped and the Cheesecake factory was chosen because it was close and Nick had never been there before. It was a little too loud but the cold and the delicious food helped. Oh my, we or at least I was stuffed after our little appetizers! Nici and I took about half of our main meal with us, having a dinner for the train ride. The piece of cheesecake we shared was delicious! I just adore the crust! No backtalk, it is THE best Tyrone does not like wearing shorts, did not bring any but was dying in his jeans. In a nice store we tried to find some shorts for him but they were all too much "daddy style". Nobody call tell me only woman are picky shoppers He likes shopping but dislikes most of the clothes it seems like. Whereas he was convinced into buying a very nice shirt. It suits him well and maybe he will remember our shopping trip while wearing it We left the store too late, got lost on the way to the trainstation and had total stress, which nobody likes. We made but I basically thrust our bag with little gifts into his hand and said goodbye within a second before he had to jump off of the train again. We had run a bit with our heavy backpacks, or at least Nici had, Tyrone was carrying mine and I had other bags. Unfortunately he did not get to write into our book :-( I think I will make him send us his text! We were completely exhausted on the train and when the conductor came were totally shocked because we could not find our tickets! We looked through everything, had other passengers helping, had two conductors with different opinions and were at a loss. A nice woman in front of us let us use her phone to call Tyrone and the tickets ended up being in the overhead compartment, camaflouged as advertisement! Wow. We had had our reservation number but the one conductors kept insisting on needing the paper ticket which got us all bent out of shape but in the end everything worked out just fine and we even had the permission to use the woman's phone to call the hostel to let them know when we were coming. When we finally arrived at St. Louis at 10.40pm we took a taxi as promised to Tyrone. I do not know how much he understood of what I was saying but I just repeated the adress several times and he brought us to the right place ;-) Tom awaited us and we got our keys and sheets and were off to bed in a dorm for 10 but we were the only inhabitants so we got a free choice of beds - nice and good night!
Sunday, 8. July, 2012 woke up with the alarm and backpain, took a shower and then rolled the other two out of bed in order to make it to breakfast. Good breakfast btw. Back at the room I connected to the internet and for my 10.30 Skype appointment with my brother. While waiting I repacked my backpack. It was in desperate need of that! Seriously, I do not have a lot of stuff but the way things had become my backpack was full! Nici tought me her rolling technique and tadaaaaaa now the bag is basically half empty! That is really nice After I wrote Johannes a textmessage that cost me about 3 Euros he called an hour late but at least he called and I was happy to talk to and see him and mom too. We got going after everybody was ready and drove into the city, where Tyrone showed us a street with many marvelous stores! The record store was on this street as well and since he is into records, we went there. I enjoyed the experience since it was a first for me. It is good to see that small stores can survive even if they do not sell top interest products. Some records there cost over 200 $! We got Tyrone a record from The Guess Who where the cover really suited our situation plus we knew he liked the group. If it does not kept during the rest of his journey, I am sure he will enjoy listening to it and thinking of our time together! A downpour surprised us in the store so we ran to a close vegan cafe Tyrone knew and had some food and drink there - delicious and so unique! Ever had Mexican hot chocolate? Worth a try We stayed there for a while, talking and playing the game of life, which I won with pure luck. I did not really get the game, for example I had to buy a helicopter and a yacht but they were no use and basically only existed in the way of my money being diminished... I guess I'll have to play Tue game again to get a better hang of it. Our next stop was an amazing vintage store. We had parked the car in the customers only Starbucks parking lot and were mildly worried but if you think about it for what reason? We could have been customers ;-D The store, I swear, if it existed in Germany, Nici would he there every day! She had lemonade there, clothes, hats, shoes, jewlery, sunglasses, little artifacts, furniture, flowers... basically anything and it was so homey! We spent a heck of a long time there but we all enjoyed the stay and Tyrone tried some stuff on but then resorted to watching us decide. Nici got a beautiful dress, she really had no choice but to get it, it was purely perfect! Then she still got a vintage hat, earrings and head deko. I got a turquoise hat and a dress I really like. By the time we were out of the store a lot of time had passed and it definitely was time for some food. Tyrone had been telling us about this fantastic barbeque but when we got there it was closed and while driving around we saw downtown Kansas City, poverty section, Jazz section and much more before we found a little pizza place close to our hotel and we ended up parking there and walking. The firewood oven pizza was good and we payed basically nothing for a salad, pizza and refillable drinks. After satisfying our stomachs Tyrone went to get some wine and we looked up ways to get to St. Louis. We found a train and a hostel and Tyrone was back before we could book it so we had to promise to take a taxi to the hostel before completing the transaction. Worried daddy Tyrone I want to mention at this point that we have only encountered extremely friendly, open, engaged and feeling people! We have been lucky for sure, but it is the best thing ever that we keep basically bumping into lovely persons! Thank you to everyone who has helped us and been part of our summer adventure so far ans in the future! We appreciate it Back to the day and away from being a little sentimental, we had a little bit of wine, relaxing from the day and then I got them motivated to go to a hooka bar! That is basically the only thing one can to with 18+ and under 21. That was a very nice way to spend the evening! Excellent hooks, nice waiters, good conversation, much fun and a great night! Back at the hotel we were craving a burrito and actually looked up how long taco Bell is open for (closes around two am...) but we had to settle with snack food, it was too late - dommage! We still chilled and watched crapy American tv before finally dropping into to bed and into a deep sleep. What a full and memorable day!
Saturday, July 7, 2012 It is Johannes's birthday! He turned 16! My little bro I thought of him all day and even talked to him briefly. His plan of day was to celebrate and enjoy his houseparty. Ours was to reach Kansas City! Nici started driving and at some point we stopped in Springfield. Original reason: take a picture in front of a Springfield sign - allusion to the Simpson's. Reality: drive through the city and visit of the Lincoln museum visitor center. There we got to enjoy a singing performance, songs from the time of the civil war were sung. The room had wonderful acustics and even though the others did not want to stay, they did enjoy it in the end! We saw Lincoln's house and then left towards Kansas City. Tyrone drove. We drove west, and further west. The advertisements along the highway changed. Now the church was advertising for themselves next to porn advertisement. Crazy place? Linner was eaten at the waffle house. I took over driving soon afterwards and drove right into the setting sun. Tip: try to avoid driving west when the sun is setting. Even you might not think so, it is annoying and irritating! But when I saw the beautiful sunset that developed, I forgot the bright beams and was mesmerized by the sky. I had been driving for a long time and it was getting harder, but we were down to 60 miles and I just started counting them - Oh was I glad when we finally arrived at Kansas City! Tyrone had offered us to stay at a Hotel with him and since a soft bed is never unwelcome and he was a fun companion, we gladly accepted! The hotel was very nice and beds so soft, we watched a little bit of television, had some milky way and went to bed. Nici ironed almost all of her clothes and was totally excited about having an iron! Driving is so exhausting! We were happy, the long drive was over and we still liked each other :-D
Friday, 6 July, 2012 Alarm was set for 8.30 am, it rang at 8.30 am but I was the only one who got up! The other two kept on sleeping for a while haha sleepyheads! Tyrone took us out to breakfast and then we started our road trip! A red headed teacher and track runner, one fully German girl and a German girl with an American passport who looks like 13 - destination: Kansas City! So, let's rock it! Plan had been to leave early in the morning but none of us really minded the fact that we did not get off until, what was it?, 12.30! I was our first driver and it took me some time to get accustomed to the oldish automatic car with terrible brakes haha it was hot, oh so very hot out and according to the car owner, we were lucky that the air conditioning worked as well as it did. Our lucky day! We drove, or more precisely, I drove on and on. We stopped in between for a little bit of food, drinks, restroom etc. Soon it was time to get gas. Nici and I sat in the car when we heard a loud scream from outside. There was a wasps nest in the gas door cover! It was hilarious because everybody was freaking out over 3 wasps. All of the others had not survived. Since Mr. Ginger was too chicken, I put gas into the car, aggravating the wasps to such an extent with my presence that one of them left the nest and flew around the car. I relocated the other two via paper to a grassy area, we knocked of the nest and were ready to go! What a gasstation experience! :-D At breakfast Tyrone had several bets with us: The winner would get a coffee - no, I, the big coffee lover, did not take part in this bet - because Nici said we would not have go in at the boarder, Tyrone disagreed. Then him and me still bet on how long it would take us at the boarder. Well, he ended up winning both bets, because we did have to go in and we were there for 1h 12min, which is more than 40. That little more than an hour was purely crazy, wow! Oh, how glad we were when we finally were let through! That was an experience full of rules, suspicion and riddle popsicles. We were all starving by the time we got out of there and took the officer's advice and soon found our selves sitting at Taco Bell in the little city named Port Huron. The place was getting ready for an oldtimer parade! People had chairs set up along the main road, old cars and little food stand were set up all over the place! Sure, we would have liked to stay and watch the parade but we had a heck of a long way ahead of us still. The ride continued and sometime around dusk Nici took over the steering weel. It was the first time I drove with her - excited! She is good, no question, just needs to get a bit smoother on the steering. We all got nicknames: I was rrgrgrrgrrg, because I passed the side line twice and it makes that noise, Nici was schwisch schwasch and Tyrone was Linecrosser, since he liked going back and forth or driving between two lanes :-D When it got dark, Tyrone took over and we started keeping our eyes out for a place to stay for the night. Not being able to find anything since we were basically driving through untouched nature apart from the freeway. The next exit was taken and we stopped at MCDonald's to use their WiFi...unfortunately they had already closed the inside area and their WiFi was not working. We stood outside for a while, looking really stupid with our cells in.our hands, waving them around looking for a WiFi signal..duhhh. Tyrone went to get a key, we got into the room, got ready for bed, I got a lazor treatment on my knee and we slept.