The drive down and back left me with a few pithy conclusions about the state of interstate travel these days, none of them positive:
- Despite gas prices lowering from their highs of recent months, it still seems like there is gouging (or some inaccurately caliberated pumps) out there. $15.00 doesn't fill your tank anymore (and I drive a fairly fuel-efficient and well-maintained car).
- With troopers patrolling less and less due to increased gas prices, the days when most interstate drivers only kept to 5 or 10 miles beyond the speed limit are long gone. Average road speeds are now in the mid-80s/low 90s. With no enforcement, and long distances, people will speed because they can.
- Because of point #2, tailgating and rudeness is on the rise. I had several cases where someone rode my back bumper, forcing me to slide into the slow lane, or used the slow lane to pass me.
On the way down, Lauren took me to lunch at a Missouri winery/restaurant, Les Bourgeois, near Rocheport, that she had been to before and thought highly of, for both the view from the restaurant and the food. The pictures are of the restaurant and the incredible view from it, which overlooks both the Katy Trail and the Missouri River.
The food itself, we can both attest, was as good as Lauren promised, between a split appetizer, Cuban pressed sandwich for me and a panini for her, followed by a split dessert, and I'd highly recommend eating there, if you're on your way through Missouri on I-70. Their website address is below:
After the intern visit in Jeff City, we trundled back to Columbia for the overnight stay, and after checking into the hotel (and waiting out a nice rain shower, as well as meeting one of Lauren's professional organization colleagues to transfer a portable whiteboard), a search of the phone book and some web reviews helped us sort through our dinner choices. On the way to finding the restaurant, we checked out the homes (among them, some very nice, and very old, four-squares).
For dinner, we found a (thankfully) very inexpensive Thai place called Bangkok Gardens (26 N 9th St) for dinner in the District (historical downtown) area. Lauren had the Tom Ga Kai (coconut milk and chicken soup), while I had the Laap (Larb). While the Laap was a little greasy (we agreed it should have been drained a little more), it was mildly but satisfyingly spicy ... bear in mind that Lauren has me "in training", while I have to be vary careful about my spicy food choices.
After dinner, we walked around the downtown and window-shopped, discovering a very nice wine/cheese store and restaurant (see photo); quite expensive (we were content to window-shop), but they had a nice mix of domestic, Missouri-grown, and French wines.