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Lebanon, Missouri.

Earl and I have settled for the night at the Hampton Inn in Lebanon, Missouri. Earl had wrapped up his work obligations early, so we packed up the hotel room, jumped in the Jeep and headed west. Our original intention was to stop for the night in St. Louis, but since we were way ahead of schedule, we thought we’d keep on going until we got tired. We thought we’d make it to Springfield, Mo., another 200 or so miles beyond St. Louis. Well we made it as far as Lebanon, about 50 miles northeast of Springfield. It was getting a little foggy for driving, since neither of us have ever been on Interstate 44 in Central Missouri.

Earl snapped some pretty good pictures through St. Louis, he posted a really nice picture on his blog.

Mother Nature treated us to a couple of nice thunderstorms for the ride after St. Louis. She put on quite a lightning show and gave us some showers to slide around in. The weather kept me attentive to my driving but neither of us were nerved up or anything. I was able to enjoy the mild storm.

Now I’m going to plan out the route for the next couple of days and catching up on blogs. Tomorrow we hit the road fairly early, hoping to drive a bit and get our kicks on old Route 66.

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Spouse-ly Duties.

Earl is off to his business commitments for the day, so I’m sitting in our hotel room waiting for our laundry to finish doing it’s thing down on the second floor in the “Guest Laundry Area”. There’s 35 minutes left on the dryer.

I know some people think it’s crazy to do laundry while you’re on vacation but it makes packing much simpler plus you’re not overwhelmed with huge piles of laundry to do when you get back home. Aside from this hotel laundry experience, it’s actually interesting to go into a laundromat in a strange city. It really gets you in touch with the “locals”. One of our favorite memories of traveling is going to a laundromat outside of Las Vegas back in 2001. We were the only English speaking customers in the place, and maybe the only gay ones as well, but everyone was friendly and it was a unique experience to not be able to read the instructions on the washer or dryer, as they were all in Spanish. I like to think that on that day I expanded my horizons a little bit and learned something about the world around me. It expanded my view a little bit.

Speaking of expanding my view, we did end up going to the casino last night, where I sat down and played cards for the first time in my life. I played Blackjack. I lost $50. But I was proud of the fact that I lost $50 playing cards instead of watching the fruit whir by on a slot machine. Laura, the dealer at Casaer’s Indiana, did a wonderful job of helping me along after Earl pushed me out of the proverbial nest and had me doing my own thing. I now feel confident enough to play Blackjack whenever we go to a casino. In fact, we have another casino stop planned on the trip, in Deadwood, S.D., where we are going to meet up with our friends Tim and Gordon next week.

Earl kicked ass at Texas Hold ‘Em. His business associate was not amused, claiming that Earl is a “lucky bastard”. I think Earl was charming the two dealers, a fun older woman named Rose who needed a box to stand on to reach the table and Derek who would have distracted me away from the game had I sat down at his table. It’s a shame no cameras or cell phones with camera were allowed in the casino.

Anyways, after I get done fluffing and folding, I’m going to take a walking tour of the downtown area here in Louisville and see what’s a typical Monday is like. When Earl gets done with his meetings and the trade show, I’ll have the Jeep packed and be ready to go so that we can get to St. Louis tonight.