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Entry date: 1-28-2022 - This trip story will seemingly never end - Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

In thinking about this trip some three months later, it is amazing to me how many details I have left out. For example, a couple of weeks ago I blogged a few times about drinking and the struggle I have had with how I have been drinking. I think this trip really made me question how much importance I was putting on beer. As I think about how much I drank during that short period of time, it was a lot, which is probably why my memory of the trip is, indeed, hazy.


Perhaps as I look back at these blogs and read what I have written, I will remember more. We shall see.


*****


The Uranus Fudge Factory caught my attention in June of 2021 when I was driving back to Maine with my dad. He was at wheel during our second day of travels, and we were laughing about all the ridiculous things you can do on the side of the road in Missouri. There are tons of billboards, for example, touting this or that interesting thing to see or do as you drive through the heart of the state on I-44. As the green rolling hills flew by, we came upon the Uranus Fudge Factory and I was giddy at the double entendre. I knew then I would have to explore it at some point.


When I was planning our trip back, I decided that I would make day two a bit longer of a drive so that we could stay near enough to the Uranus Fudge Factory to stop and check it out. I’d looked up the website and knew it would be worth it. When we walked in the door, a nice-looking young lady smiled and said, “Are you ready to get your fudge packed?”


They have a really large selection of fudge and other confections to choose from, as well as just about every nifty little trinket you would find at a good roadside attraction, but the best thing they have there is t-shirts. The UFF has the very best selection of t-shirts I have seen in a long, long time. Second only to a place that used to be in Berkeley many years ago… but maybe not. The Fudge Factory shirts, and there are a number to choose from (check out their website: https://www.uranusgeneralstore.com) and they are funny as hell. I spent entirely too much money on shirts, but most of the family has them now. They also had a bunch of really funny shirts that were unrelated to the store.


We would have definitely hung out longer if Bailey wasn’t in the car. Rick tried the fudge since I was off sugar at the time and said it was good. They have a number of different things to do there and the store itself is not far from a large army base, Fort Leonard Wood, so I’m guessing they get tons of traffic. If you ever find yourself near there, you have to stop.

We made our way to our motel, which was a fucking dump, and got settled in for a bit before exploring St. Michael, Missouri for some food. We struggled to find a decent dog friendly place, so we ended up getting some terrible drive through from Hardee’s and going back the room to eat, drink good beer, and pass out. It was chilly there and we did take Bailey for a long walk around the weird neighborhood near the motel.


The next morning, we got up and skedaddled early, heading towards Oklahoma City. As we started the day, I don’t think we had plans to stop in OKC. We chatted on our way about the possibility of finding a good brewery somewhere in Oklahoma and Rick started doing research while I drove. We found that Prairie Artisan had a tasting room in what we found to be a really cool area of Oklahoma City, so we decided to stop there and see what they had going on. They were also dog friendly, inside even, which was nice because Bailey wasn’t super happy, and it was raining pretty good in the city.


The people at the brewery were great and so was the beer. There was a Vietnamese sandwich place next door, so Rick got us some lunch and some beers, and we had a nice break from the road. We stocked up on a sixer or three from there and got back on the road after driving around the neighborhood for a bit. We had to buy an extra cooler to hold our new purchases, too, so we were well stocked. I will definitely make a point to stop at Prairie Artisan whenever I can. Their beers are really diverse, and I enjoy both their sours and their stouts.


I had made the executive decision to not stop or spend any money as we drove through Texas. By this point, we were listening to the No Dogs In Space story of the Dead Kennedys and it more than made up for the boring scenery in Oklahoma and Texas. We did have a tiny celebration every time we saw one of the big crosses on the side of the road (there are many) and made fun of all the Trump signs. I had told Rick about how some people in 2020 were turning the Trump/Pence signs into “I Pump Penis” signs, so we said “penis pumper” a lot as we saw the numerous signs.


Driving across America gives you an idea of the stronghold that clown has on rural people. Wow. It is really sad. That guy could give two shits about them, but they still love him like he’s the second coming. None of this is new information but take a drive and see for yourself.


As we got into New Mexico, it just all seemed so bleak. We were a bit shagged from the road, for sure, but the green was farther and farther in between, and you can tell there is just no money being infused into this area at all. We made it to Tucumcari, New Mexico with a lot of light left in the day even though we’d been on the road for 10 or more hours. I wish we would have pushed on to Albuquerque, but oh well. Tucumcari is a fucking pit.


I guess I’ll have to finish this when I see you tomorrow.



This is what I saw in the parking lot of our motel in St. Robert, Missouri as we loaded in. Not a terrible sunset.



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