Through Michigan and Beyond

Starting mileage: 620.0 km

I slept like a champ and then took the dogs for a quick walk.  We were walking by a furniture store and saw a sign posted in what looked like a loading dock that said “No Parking Except for Bob”.  I wanted to wait until later and ask who Bob was and why he got to park there.

The next order of business was breakfast.  A quick consultation with Yelp pointed me towards Zingerman’s Bakehouse, which it turned out, was pretty close to the hotel.  It’s tucked away in an industrial-looking plaza so it’s not likely a place that you will stumble across.  I walked in and was transfixed by the pane of glass that separated the retail side from the production side.  Apparently scenes from the movie “The Five-Year Engagement” were filmed there.  I wanted to press my face to the glass and just watch but more pressing things needed to be taken care of: namely a coffee and chocolate croissant.  The coffee was good for drip and the chocolate croissant…well…it wasn’t bad it just wasn’t how I normally like my croissants.  I like flakey and buttery and melt-in-your-mouth.  This was more crisp and toasty.  It was still a great breakfast and I devoured it as I guided the car back onto the highway.

And pretty soon we were in Coloma, Michigan at The Chocolate Garden.  It was exactly as I had remembered it, right to the rows of jars waiting with shards of chocolate on the shelves.  There were so many packages of truffles that I stood and lingered for a while after selecting some to take to my grandmother for her birthday.  I hesitated at the counter and thought about buying a mocha for myself but decided against it.

I pointed the car south towards St. Louis, Missouri, stopping only to fuel the car and snack on a few slices of last night’s pizza as I walked the dogs.  They were less than impressed that I made them walk instead of sharing with them.

Another small confession: I am a HUGE fan of Alton Brown, the host of Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen” and “Iron Chef: America” and a previous show called “Good Eats”.  He also had a short lived series called “Feasting On Asphalt”.  “Feasting on Asphalt” was a show about road trips and finding true American road food.  There were two seasons: the first was about Alton and his crew travelling across the United States from the east coast in South Carolina to the west coast in California.  Season two had the group follow the Mississippi River from Louisiana to it’s headwaters in Minnesota.  Now you may wonder why I mention this.  First of all, my Standard Road Trip Rules were inspired by this series.  Not the road trip bottle; that’s all mine.  The other reason is that there were some places that I was going to be close to and felt that I had to stop at.  One of those places happened to be in St. Louis at a place called Ted Drewes Frozen Custard.

I went to the original location on Chippewa Street and after studying the menu at the walk-up window, ordered the S’mores concrete.  It was a little selfish of me since the dogs would not be able to have any because of the chocolate in it but I figured they would have plenty of other opportunities to share.  I am so glad I stopped because the frozen custard is so good and it doesn’t even come close to a blizzard or Mc Flurry.  It’s creamy and rich and well worth the stop.

I had originally planned to head out of the city but then figured I had to go see the Gateway Arch in downtown St. Louis.  The only downside was that the entire area around the Arch was under construction.  It was still pretty incredible though and we ended up walking around a lot longer than I had planned.  I love historic areas and parts of it reminded me of the Distillery District in Toronto.

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Standing on the bank of the Mississippi River.
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Even Lewis and Clark travelled with a dog.
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The old and the new.

It was almost dark by the time we left downtown.  On one hand I was kicking myself for taking so long but on the other hand, I had really enjoyed the walk so I wasn’t too upset.  I had seen signs for campsites before we arrived in St. Louis but as we left, I didn’t see any so decided to get a room rather than continue in the dark.

We ended up at the Relax Inn in Warrenton and curled up as I finished the pizza.

Note:  The bandanas the dogs were wearing are courtesy of HOGdog Swag.  Visit the site on Etsy or check Facebook and Instagram to pick patterns and sizes for fully customized, reversible bandanas.

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Follow three dogs (and their human) as they roam the open roads.

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