We decided that the perfect present to get the Bandit for her birthday was a case of beer-so a beer run was in order. For most people, a beer run is a quick trip (usually a few minutes away). For us, it's driving 1300 miles with Chachie to Munster, Indiana (just south of Chicago) to pick up some of the best beer on the planet at the 3 Floyds brewery.
I drank 4 cups of coffee before we left, so I was pretty excited. An hour into the trip Chachie said to me, "You know, you don't have to talk the whole way to Chicago." Oh snap! While we were "not talking" I formulated our cover story to tell any strangers why we were driving a big cargo van up to Chicago from Arkansas:
STRANGER at GAS STATION: Arkansas huh? So, why are you headed to Chicago?
GIBBY: Actually, we're funeral directors on our way to collect the remains of a man who specifically directed in his will that he not be transported via commercial air carrier to his burial site in Arkansas.
STRANGER at GAS STATION: That's weird. Why didn't this guy want his body-
GIBBY: Well, I'm really not supposed to talk about it-family confidentiality you understand, but my colleague and I figure that he either hated flying or had something against the airlines. Maybe be was a railroad magnate or something. Anyway, it's not something we can really talk about so we kind of just keep our mouths shut and go about our business of trying to ease the suffering of the surviving family. It's really tough, but we carry on because that's what we do, that's what we do....
STRANGER at GAS STATION: *blank stare*
When I was finally "allowed" to talk again I told Chachie this cover story. He didn't understand why we needed a cover story and said I was weird. Then he told me I couldn't talk for ANOTHER HOUR. Dammit! North of St. Louis everything that's not asphalt is frozen. Oh, and it's 20 degrees.
20 degrees was a picnic compared to the 8 degrees it was when we got to Chicago. It's so cold the light is actually orange like this at night.
I kept telling Chachie the camera wasn't working right and I made him stand there like this for about 5 minutes. He was freezing. Tell me not to talk eh? REVENGE IS A DISH BEST SERVED COLD!
We met the Little Rock crew (visiting Chicago as well) and went to this artsy-fartsy Greek restaurant downtown. Everyone got twisted.
DUKE: Seriously, who's taller-me or Alan?
US: Um, it's REALLY close. Stand up straight....
The next day, we went to the promised land of beer (Munster, IN pop. 25, 511). The 3 Floyds brewery/pub is in the middle of an industrial park. It's really weird. There are all these ugly electrical, plumbing, and chemical supply buildings all around with this pub/restaurant stuck right in the middle of it all.
Shannon kept loudly declaring that she hated beer and that she should get "extra points" for drinking fancy-schmancy cider (that costs $12/bottle) which she claimed is "just like beer." We gave her no extra points.
ANDY: We'll have all of page 3-minus the salads.
WAITER: Ha! Funny.
ANDY: ***stern look***
WAITER: Oh, you were serious. Okay, I'll get the order in.
Page 3 included baked four-cheese macaroni:
Scotch Eggs (sorry about the quality of the pic):
A jumbo Chicago dog for Chachie:
And fries! The fries were made in-house, natural-cut, and cooked properly. They were pretty good (and there were a lot), but the 6-dollar price knocked em down to an 8 out of 10.
Also as part of our "page 3 order" we got two different large pizzas, a chicken sandwich, and a brisket sandwich-but I quit taking pictures cause the people in the pub were getting annoyed by all the flashes. Needless to say, we were BLOATED. We told the waiter we had a long drive and needed 5 cases of Gumballhead "for the road". He didn't even blink. That must happen a lot there. Later that night, I decided to sleep next to the beer to guard it from thieves.
The next day we drove home and I wrapped up a case of Gumballhead for the Bandit.
The Bandit said it was the best present she ever got, and that everyone might as well stop giving her presents cause this one could never be topped. Sweet!