We left for our vacation yesterday around 10:00 in the morning, made a couple of stops before we got out of town, then headed west.
Food is always an important part of any trip for us. But this is vacation, which means were going to lighten up just a little on the frugality for the next week. We won't go hog wild, but we aren't going to eat bologna sandwiches in our motel room, either. Our plan of attack for meals is to avoid the chain restaurants and fast food places and instead eat only at the privately-owned establishments. Our hope is to avoid a lot of the food additives that can make us feel yucky, as well as hoping we'll get better quality cooking. We'll also eat some home-cooked meals during the time we stay with Shane's sister and brother-in-law.
We arrived in Lawrence, KS, around lunch time, so Shane suggested we eat at Biemer's BBQ, a place he had discovered a couple of years ago when he was on a job in Lawrence. It was a great idea and between the three of us, we quickly polished off a pulled pork sandwich with fries (for me) and a full slab of ribs with fries for Shane and potato salad for Kat. The food was amazing and the ribs were fall-off-the-bone tender. All accompanied by some great blues music over the sound system. We'd recommend this joint to anyone.
|It appears to sit between a junk yard and an RV dealership, but really it doesn't.|
|Yum! Pork ribs.|
|Yum! Pulled pork.|
|Victims of bad camera shutter timing.|
After lunch we drove on, stopping at a place called Grandma Hoerner's. The highway sign said they sold organic and natural foods, so I was expecting bulk foods and health foods. Instead, they actually sold gourmet jams, jellies, barbecue sauces, salsas, relishes and the like. We didn't buy anything, but it was worth the stop because Kat had an opportunity to watch a commercial bottling operation through large display windows. It was pretty interesting to watch.
Our drive on into Salina, KS, was uneventful, except for this reading from our on-board thermometer. Yep, it really was that hot.
|I know we were traveling west. A person can get confused in this kind of heat.|
Once in Salina, we checked into our room. We are staying at a place called AmericInn. It's the same chain where Shane has been staying while he works away from home. They have a rewards program in which patrons can earn point for each night they stay, then after they amass ten points, they can cash in for either $40 cash or $50 in room credit. We opted to use some of the points we've accrued to discount our room both last night and when we stay there again on the way home. More about this in a few minutes.
We left the cool comfort of our room to go to Target, because we forgot Kat's pool toys and needed more toothpaste for her, too. We decided to go ahead and eat dinner while we were out and I suggested a place called Martinelli's Little Italy. On several internet review sites, it got great ratings. We'll never understand why. The food was perfectly edible, but perfectly mediocre.
|Blah! Rotini carbonara.|
|Blah! Blurry s'ghetti and meatballs.|
|Check out her basket. Fruit, candy and cigarettes.|
Back to the room and into the pool we went. We all swam for a while and Kat swam for a long while and had a great time.
Unfortunately, Shane and I decided to get in the hot tub for a while. Oops! The chlorine levels must have been off the chart. Here is what Shane's navy blue print trunks looked like when we got out.
|Not a good color for a redhead.|
And here is the top of my swimsuit. I have no idea why only the chest area was affected, but the chemicals seem to have eaten right through the spandex.
|Boo hoo! This suit was nearly new.|
We immediately told the management, then went to the room to get out of the suits and shower. Shane went back to the front desk and discussed the matter. The management had already closed down the hot tub so no one else's skin or swimsuits would be at risk. She said that she couldn't do anything to make it right with us until morning, when the general manager came in, but that she was going to try to not only comp out our room for the night, but would also try to get our points returned to our account and give us a couple of complimentary points to boot.
And so ended the first day of our vacation. Tomorrow night I'll try to post an update on the room remedy, what we find to eat on the rest of our drive into Colorado, and anything interesting (or not so interesting) we find to do on the way.