Wind Farms, Happy Hour, and Cheese

When I left Kansas on Tuesday, I was ready to run into the boring part of the trip. Vast vistas of grassy nothingness. And those were there. Exits where the road turned to dirt as soon as you left the overpass. Corn fields as far as the eye could see.

But then there were the wind farms.

Not long after I left Manhattan, Kansas I came across two oversized truck towing blades from a wind turbine. A few miles past that, there were a couple more. In an hour, I probably passed a dozen of these trucks. I saw one cause a back up in the middle of nowhere as it tried to take a left turn off an exit ramp, but at this point I was in the middle of the first wind farm. Blades almost as long as a football field spinning on these turbines out on the flat plains. I was mesmerized. I thought they were beautiful in all honesty and it surprised me. They were just sitting there, stretching out on my right as far as the eye could see, spinning just out of sync. Everyone should go see a wind farm.

I pulled into Denver late in the afternoon on Tuesday. Prime happy hour time. I met up with a friend and we caught up over drinks and appetizers. I’ve gotta say, I could get used to this happy hour thing. Cheap drinks and cheap, yet outstanding, food? I’ll take it.

Denver is an incredibly walkable city, and I enjoyed that aspect of it. I walked from my hotel to lunch to the aquarium to Laramie Square and then back to the neighborhood I had lunch at to catch a second happy hour with my friend and had no problems at all.

I was a little underwhelmed by the aquarium. Stopping at aquariums are the touristy thing I do. I walk through, stare at the fish, take bad pictures, wonder what it would be like to live underwater. And I could do that at this one, it just seemed a little small.

Yesterday was a food day to remember. I went to Masterpiece Delicatessen for lunch and had this amazing pork belly, ham, and avocado sandwich. Then, for happy hour/dinner, we went to The Truffle Table and had a phenomenal experience. I tried some phenomenal cheeses and cured meets while wafting in the musky cheese aroma coming from the kitchen. I could go on and on about both these places, but just go to Denver and find out about both of them for yourself.

Today I hit the road again and head to Salt Lake City, but first I’ll make a quick stop at the Coors Brewery in Golden, Colorado to take the tour, something I’ve been looking forward to for some time. More to come!

Wait, This is Kansas?

I write today from a hotel room on an urbanized portion of the prairie, the university town of Manhattan, KS. I spent maybe an hour an a half downtown last night getting dinner at a place (Rock-a-Belly) recommended by a friend and former coworker and, I have to say, I really dig the vibe of this city. It’s some sort of weird cross between a larger Boone and Chapel Hill and I almost wish I could spend more time here, but I must I press on westward.

Yesterday started off with a trip to the Super Museum in Metropolis, IL. It was a nice look at a bunch of Superman memorabilia, but I would hesitate to call it a museum. It was more of a collection that had been open to the public. Most of the signs just read “Don’t touch!” and there wasn’t much organization going on. There was plenty of stuff there that peaked my interest, but none of it was labeled so I had no idea what I was looking at or what it’s significance was. Overall verdict? If for some reason you find yourself in Metropolis, stop by but don’t go out of your way to go there.

The highlights from the Super Museum. Commentary on the blog later

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Lets talk about these pictures though. This first one is in the town square. Just a huge Superman in front of what I’m guess was town hall.

Second was this gem. “Superman in Scotland Yard.” This was one of the few items that had a sign nearby. Apparently, in the early days of Superman, when it was distributed overseas they sent out these black and white promo pictures that artists would late color in themselves. The guy who did this one apparently had no idea who Superman was.

What is there to say about a paper mache Doomsday? That Batman is life-sized.

Let’s talk about this creepy kid in the last picture. He looks like he’s going to grow up and become some bro that look on his face and his stance just screams “Hey bro, take a picture of me while I sexually assault this unconscious girl.” Way to go 90s.

The rest of the day was largely uneventful. Missouri was odd. There were a bunch of state routes that were just labeled with single or double letters instead of numbers. But there were numbered state routes too. There was quite a large number of adult superstores just off the highway. I guess there’s not a lot to do in Missouri. St Louise looked cool from what I saw from the road and Kansas City was a knot of bridges.

Let’s talk about Kansas though.

I am thoroughly impressed with you, Kansas. I was expecting flat, flat, flat. Instead I get rolling hills and sweeping prairie vistas. I chuckled to myself when I saw the “Welcome to the Flint Hills” sign. What could be so great about them? Well I crested the hill and I saw what was great. Tall, rolling hills of green and amber grasses, dotted with cattle and copses of trees. I was stunned. My mouth dropped open. I said “Wow” outloud, which is a rarity to me. I regret not getting that picture. Here’s a picture from the Flint Hills Tall Grass Prairie Overlook I took in a downpour late on though:

Some rainy Flint Hills Tall Grass Prairie for yah

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Did I mention the speed limit here is 75? That’s great too.

I’m off to Denver today to take a break from the road and reconnect with some old friends.

Greetings from the Burgeoning Metropolis of Metropolis, Illinois

I feel like I wait my whole life to make bad jokes like that.

The weekend in Boone was pretty good. I got to spend time at some of my favorite places with some of my favorite people. I had a Philly at Cafe Portofino and a mediocre sandwich at the worst bar in the world, Macados. There were places I didn’t get to go and people I wasn’t able to see, but that’s life and overall I got what I think I needed during my visit.

It’s creeping up on 7 AM here in Superman’s hometown (no, seriously, they claim that title, but more on that later). I left Boone yesterday morning and not long after that the Eastern Time Zone as well. The drive was pretty uneventful. People in Tennessee drive fast, but generally aren’t dicks about it. The roads in Kentucky are not that great, but I did get to cross the Ohio River. It was pretty big.

I also ran parallel to a large thunderhead moving across the relatively flat landscape of western Kentucky and was quite struck by how awesome it looked. Big, billowy clouds of white ending in varying layers of dark grey to almost black sheets of rain. I don’t know why it left suck an impression on me, but it did. I almost stopped to take a picture, but then realized the camera on my phone wouldn’t have done it justice.

Today I head to everyone’s favorite island, Manhattan, KS!

Wait, there aren’t any islands in Kansas….

Oh, Manhattan, KS in a university town.

And it’s probably nothing like it’s big cousin in the northeast. Not that I have much experience with NYC.

I guess it’ll have to do, though.

Before I head further west, I’ll head to downtown Metropolis, IL and see this “Super” Museum. Like I mentioned earlier, the city of Metropolis claims to be Superman’s hometown. Even though he was born on another planet. And landed in Kansas. And I think the comic book city of Metropolis was supposed to be based on Cleveland or Chicago or something.  But, hey, there’s a museum that opens at 8 AM and there’s a big statue and it’s only like 15 minutes from my hotel, so I’ll stop by. I’ll take some pictures that you can check out on my Instagram @murrayme89

Speaking of university towns, quirky, small cities, and Instagram, here’s a picture of one of my favorite places in the world, Boone, NC:

How man pictures on my page are from Howard's Knob? One last look at my favorite little city.

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