I think my boyfriend was a little disappointed when I wrote about my European adventures for Travel Week instead of my trip with him. This week, when I told him he could pick what I wrote about, he picked our road trip. I also asked him if he cares if I refer to him by name or if he wanted to protect his identity (did I mention that his profession is Super-Secret Ninja Spy?), and he said he didn’t care. But I’d still rather call him by his alter ego that I invented, B-Dawgz .
So last September, B-Dawgz got transferred from one super-secret spy job in Colorado to another in Virginia (yes, I live in New Jersey. Oh, the wonders of a long distance relationship). I didn’t have a full time job at the time, so I decided to accompany him on the drive from Denver to Manassas.
We had four days, Thursday to Sunday, for me to fly out to Denver, drive across country, and have him in Manassas for his first day of work on Monday. Needless to say, we didn’t exactly have tons of time for sightseeing, but we didn’t want to drive totally straight through either. So we planned our adventure around the only thing we felt was really necessary to experience…food. We both love the Food Network and the Travel Channel, so we decided to use TV Food Maps to plan our trip. And what a gloriously delicious trip it was.
I flew out to Denver at some absurdly early hour on Thursday and B-Dawgz picked me up at the airport. His car (Corollie the Toyota Corolla) was already packed, so we immediately set off. We eventually stopped for peeing/fueling/eating at a rest stop in Burlington, Colorado. We ended up at Pizza Hut, not exactly starting off our food trip with the highest caliber of food.
It took about 8 hours to go from the Denver airport to our first destination of Kansas City, Missouri. We spent a lot of time talking and listening to my CD collection, which, as we all know, was created in its entirety when I was in high school. But Corollie doesn’t have an auxiliary thingy, so CDs it was.
That night, B-Dawgz used his Super-Secret Ninja Spy skillz to find us a room at the Hilton Presidential in Kansas City for $25. It was the nicest hotel I think I’ve ever been in. I’m not even sure why they let us in. The bed was incredible and I want to live there forever. The free breakfast the next day was disappointing. But it’s okay, because there was much more and better food on the horizon.
After breakfast, we hit the road again for St. Louis. Our first stop when we got there was the Crown Candy Kitchen, which was also featured on Man V. Food. We each got a different sandwich, then shared.
I got The Big Cheese (essentially grilled cheese) and he got a Turkey Bacon Melt. We also shared a delicious, delicious vanilla milkshake. I’m glad I’m dating someone who appreciates vanilla ice cream as much as I do.
Our next stop was basically the only place we went that didn’t involve food or sleeping (my favorite pastimes). We went to the City Museum in St. Louis, which started off really cool, but ended up probably not being worth the money. There wasn’t as much to see as we would have liked, and all the really fun stuff cost extra money that we didn’t want to spend. We did have a good time though, and it was a nice way to spend the afternoon.
We left St. Louis with the intention of making it to Indianapolis that night (good joke) but instead drove straight into a crazy storm. We ended up having to pull over in the middle of Illinois. I honestly don’t remember the town we were in or the name of the place we stayed. All I know is that we spent a lot of time in a Wal-Mart trying to wait out the storm. We bought macaroni and cheese and chicken fingers for dinner.
We accidentally bought a corked bottle of wine without a corkscrew, and attempted to open it later using our keys (no luck). And we stayed in a pretty bad (but not the worst) motel. We had to go inside of a restaurant and ask the bartender for a room. It was weird as hell. But, it was a place to stay. And, because they gave us a room with two beds, this was the night we invented the “Food Bed” and the “Sleeping Bed.” If you can’t figure that out, you eat in one and sleep in the other. It’s the best invention ever and everyone should add this to their home. It’s incredible we’re not fatter than we are.
The next day was absolutely beautiful out, and we took off toward Indianapolis. We got there in time for lunch at Zest! Exciting Food Creations, featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. B-Dawgz got meatloaf and mac & cheese. I got a chicken sandwich: “marinated-grilled chicken, chipotle aioli, smoked gouda, organic greens, red onion, and tomato”…my favorite meal of the trip, by far. It was so, so good.
Our next stop was Columbus, Ohio. At this point in the trip, I was starting to get sick. But in the meantime, we had more food to eat! Dinner that night was at The Thurman Café, a really cool little burger joint, also featured on Man V. Food. While waiting for an hour and a half outside to get seated, we befriended an older couple (by “older” I mean around 35/40ish…so just older than us). They were very drunk and I kind of want to be them when we grow up. I got a Bacon Burger and B-Dawgz got a Three Cheese Burger. We got pizza rolls to start. It was really good, but it was crowded in there and I was exhausted and we decided that it would totally be a good idea to forgo the ice cream at Jenni’s Splendid Ice Cream and keep moving on that night toward Pittsburgh. It was Saturday night by then, so we had to be in Virginia by the next day. So on we went.
Of course, we ended up getting stuck in the absolute worst traffic I’ve ever been in in my life. And I take the Garden State Parkway to and from work every day during rush hour. We literally turned the car off. People were getting out of their cars and hanging out on the highway. It was insane. I was really feeling sick at this point, but I had to stay awake so B-Dawgz wouldn’t fall asleep too. We didn’t move for 2 hours. It was probably the universe punishing us for skipping out on the ice cream in Ohio.
Eventually we got to Pittsburgh at about 3 am, staying at what was definitely the worst hotel of the trip. And also the most expensive. We didn’t care at that point though, we just wanted to sleep.
We met B-Dawgz’s friend for breakfast the next morning (he lives in Pittsburgh) and then we were on our way. I’ve been to, and enjoyed, Pittsburgh before, but I think we were there for maybe 5 hours in total, most of which was spent sleeping.
We drove the last 6ish hours to Washington DC. By the time we got there, I was totally spent. I was taking a train back to Jersey while B-Dawgz continued on to Manassas and his new job. I think we were both sick of traveling and some of us were just plain sick and our mean boyfriends weren’t sympathetic and got mad at us when all we were trying to do was navigate to the train station in DC. But I digress…
So that was our road trip. We went from Denver to DC in 3 ½ days. By dinner time on Sunday I was back at my house in New Jersey. It was a fun adventure, full of lots of good food and good conversation. We’d only been together for 6 months at that point, but this trip brought us a lot closer together. And by that I mean geographically. Now we only live a 4 hour drive from each other. It makes our relationship much easier.
Everyone told me before this trip that by the end we would know if we should be together. If we can deal with being completely alone together for 4 days, trapped in a little car together with no way out, then we would probably be fine. I had little doubt that we would be fine, but it was nice to learn that we actually really do enjoy each other’s company and can manage to only have one extremely minor argument while on our little adventure.
And now I know that what they say is true, when you are dating a Super-Secret Ninja Spy, there’s never a dull moment. (By “they,” I mean me, right now. I just said it.)