(written by J)
10 days, 13 states, 2900 miles, T family, you are the winners of the amazing Midwest vacation. We are back home now and while it was an incredible journey, it is great to be back in the Commonwealth. I would like to use this final post to recap the vacation. First off, I've always seemed to equate a song with a trip. Usually there's always one song you hear on the radio during your trip that whenever you hear it, it reminds you of that trip. As we've traveled, there have been 2 songs that we have heard relentlessly over these past 10 days. They are Daughtry's "Home" and Gwen Stefani's "Sweet Escape." We've heard these songs probably 1000 times over the past 10 days. In fact, I had never heard the radio version of "Home" until this trip - only the American Idol "you are getting kicked off and all the girls cry" version. But because I've heard "Home" so much recently, I found myself singing it in the shower the other day, and I believe it was unvoluntary. Now onto the rest of the recap.
Best city - Chicago
Best hotel - Hampton Inn, St. Louis - the view from the room was outstanding - you could see the Mississippi River and traffic snarl on Interstate 70 all at the same time.
Best attraction (tie) - Sears Tower, Chicago, skydeck and The Park at Mall of America, Minneapolis - the views of Chicago were spectacular and the rides at the Mall of America were enjoyable and the lines for them were not long
Worst gas prices - Chicago - $3.79 for regular unleaded
Most boring state - Iowa - nothing but corn
Best T-shirt worn by a local - a man at the Noodles and Company restaurant in Chicago was wearing a shirt which said "Ipood" in lieu of "Ipod" and it had a picture of a person sitting on a toilet. H and J are still laughing about that one.
Best observation by a T family member - B shouting out "bear" in St. Louis when she saw a crazy woman walking down the street holding a teddy bear for some reason
Worst parking lot - City Museum, St. Louis - J had to get out of the car and let H park because she is much better at fitting big cars into tight spaces.
Overkill award - Mall of America. J loves hats but seeing 6 Lids stores in the Mall of America with pretty much the same stuff ... that's a bit much.
Underrated attraction (tie) - St. Louis Walk of Fame and Great Lakes Science Center, Cleveland - St. Louis's walk of fame is kind of like Hollywood's walk of fame but in essence, if you have ever been in St. Louis, you are eligible for the Walk of Fame. Z and B should get their stars shortly. The Great Lakes Science Center was a very enjoyable hands-on place that the kids loved. It wipes the floor with the Richmond Science Museum.
Worst tour guide - Chicago bus tour guide Judy - she told a lot of stories some of which were not true including one about the design of the Sears Tower. How do we know this? We watched a movie about the Sears Tower at the Sears Tower the day before which contradicted what she said. I would have preferred to have Vince Vaughn be our guide like in "The Breakup."
Shameless promotion award - Louisville Slugger Museum - the very first thing we did upon entering the factory where they make the bats was watch a video on how to buy a bat with your own name on it.
Worst meal - Center Point, Iowa McDonald's - B found a bone in her Chicken McNugget. It was truly amazing that she didn't eat it.
Best Midwestern accent award - Yankee Candle employee, Mall of America, Minneapolis - He said "So are ya having a good day at the mall?" and it kind of made H laugh. It was just like an accent from the movie "Fargo."