Monday, August 24, 2015

Lessons from the Road, Part One

I'm going to try something new here. I've never written a series before, but there is no way I could possibly write one post to cover the trip Alex and I took from Illinois to Arizona last week. Just no way. So I'm not gonna try. There are a dozen or so different life lessons we learned along the way, so I'm going to dole them out, one at a time, and try to be as entertaining as possible. And so, without further ado, I give you ...

Drink what the barkeep pours you.

On Night One of the Epic Road Trip, we found ourselves in St. Louis, MO. My sister Kathie, the mastermind behind the planning, had booked us a room at this darling boutique hotel, Moonrise, right in the entertainment district known as the Delmar Loop.

Alex and I intended to get checked in and immediately head out to see the sights. After a long and stormy drive, though, we arrived pretty exhausted (yet full of pasta; thank you, Noodles!) So instead of heading out, we headed up ... up to the rooftop bar, the Eclipse Lounge. From there, you could pretty much see everywhere. It was a lovely night, not too cool, and the rain had stopped.

We walked to the bar and the bartender asked what we'd like. Alex ordered a beer (Fat Tire? Memory fail.) and I was unsure. So I said, "I'm not sure, what do you feel like making?" And without missing  beat, the bartender grabbed a bottle, poured a shot, and handed it to me. I asked what it was, and he showed me the label - Four Roses Bourbon. Well, I've never met a bourbon I didn't like, so after a bit of snappy patter, I drank the shot.

Much to the surprise of our bartenders.

Apparently, the indecisive patron is more common than one would think, and they explained that roughly nine out of 10 people don't drink the shot. They wouldn't allow me to pay for it, and we had a few (okay, more than a few) laughs about it as I enjoyed my Seven-Up chaser.

The thing is, sometimes life serves us unexpected things. Sometimes they are wonderful opportunities. Sometimes they suck. But the unexpected will often take you somewhere you'd not planned for, and that, gentle reader, can deliver you straight to something truly amazing and wonderful ... and why not? many of my best memories were made not according to plan, but rather while following what life (or my bartender) served up in a particular moment. Sometimes it's a matter of going where you're led.

But back to that night in the bar ... Alex and I were full of anticipation, ready for the longest leg of our journey the next day (St. Lou to Albuquerque). We only stayed up there on the rooftop for an hour or so, but man, what a night it was. From our spot above the city, anything was possible. Plans were solidified and soon it was time to get back in the elevator and head down to our room. But while we were up on that roof, I discovered a new favorite bourbon, and felt wanderlust take hold.

Coming up next: Not all whales are the elusive Great White.

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