Day 19 (Montgomery City, MO)
Today I drove the lunch van with Chris Lubas. Leaving St. Louis was sad, mainly because of the Tempur-Pedic beds, but also because I wish we could’ve stayed longer to explore the whole city. I enjoyed the last brief reprieve we had to take in the WashU campus as we packed everyone’s bags on top of the van, but once we left, it was go time. Step one was to drop off Bianca and Nate at a Starbucks along the way so that they could call up our future hosts and make sure we had places to stay.
Lubas and I drove around asking for lunch donations and by lunchtime…we had one tray of pasta, 4 salads, a bag of chips, and only two groups that made it there to eat it. One of the groups had managed to make their way something like 15 miles southwest of our lunch stop, putting them an extra 15 miles off our intended path. Another group made their own “shortcut” onto a long stretch of gravel that they ended up walking through.
In the meantime, there was a huge mid-day rainstorm that forced all of us off the road for an hour or so. Lubas and I spent that hour sticking people’s bags into the van. Afterwards, we found a McDonalds with a special promotion: “Come through the drive-thru from 12-1 and if you’re the 200th customer, get free value meals for a year!” At that point, we hadn’t gotten any food yet, it was just about to start, and I was craving chicken nuggets, so we went for it. Around 12:45, we went through the drive-thru and….didn’t get it. Thinking back on it, we were in a pretty rural area of Missouri and I’m not sure if they even got 100 customers going through, let alone 200. The food was still awesome though. McDonalds’ new ads have been all about the numerous dipping sauces they have with nuggets, so we asked for “all of them.” The lady in the drive-thru said, “hold on, let me check with my manager…” As we watched the screen, it suddenly filled up with different sauces, including grape jam.
"All of the sauces"
Brian joined us in the food van after lunch and we got to work on dinner foods. Last time Brian and I did the lunch van, we pulled together some chinese food (a first for the group!), so Brian decided to promise Clayton and Arvind that we’d get more this time. We started out with some good momentum, getting two buckets of chicken from KFC, a couple of pizzas from Pizza Hut, and salads from McDonalds. Having built up some confidence, we went to our first chinese restaurant. Bam. Rejected. We thought that was the only chinese restaurant in the town, so we got a bit worried. Drove around a little and we found another one. Another no. Somehow, we found one last one. As we were giving our spiel to the guy at the counter, the woman behind him was commenting as we talked (seemed like it was in Cantonese, so neither of us understood it). It looked like we were about to get a yes from the guy, but before he talks, the woman says something to him and…hit with another no.
Earlier in the day, we had stopped by Balls Q Shack to ask for food. It just so happened that the owner of the store had his own cancer story to tell. His grandmother, Gladys Ball, had recently passed away from cancer and his cousin, Rona White, was still fighting cancer. Brian, Chris, and I told him that we would dedicate our next ride day to his grandmother and cousin. He was so grateful and was just really excited about what we were doing. He also told us that he’d make us a tray of muscachone (sp?). He ran a BBQ restaurant, so we just figured it was some kind of BBQ’d meat. None of us knew, so we looked it up on wikipedia. First result: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muscazone. Whoo…hope it’s not that. To this day, none of us have been able to find a legit result of what it is on the internet. Thankfully, it turned out to be a lasagna-like dish with meat.
By the time we got back with all the food, it was around 9, dark, and everyone was starving, especially since some peoples’ detours had led to 13-hour rides. We dumped the food on the picnic table and as people devoured it, we tried to find a tent to sleep in. All of them were taken except Steve’s, so Brian and I hopped in with him.