Driving past St. Louis today opened up the memory banks. I was last there in 2012, my senior year of college. That trip to St. Louis was an earned extension of our college spring break. My alma mater, Ohio University, was matched up with the North Carolina Tar Heels for the Sweet 16.  But in order to be there in person, myself and three former roommates had to peel out of Panama City Beach a day early.

And we did.

Four guys driving from Panama City Beach to St. Louis in my 2000 Honda Civic with two functioning doors (and two broken doors) was actually an improvement over how we got to Panama City Beach (five guys driving in my 2000 Honda Civic with two functioning doors). The fifth guy was smart enough to fly to St. Louis.

On the drive up to the Gateway to the West, we had countless conversations. But one in particular will stay with me for a lifetime. 

My friend J.J., a pre-med Huckleberry Finn of sorts, begins to rattle off this bizarre list of animal parts he's consumed over the years. No one in the car doubts this guy. So naturally the conversation pivots to see if anyone else in the car can match something on the list.

Two shrugs from the other three guys in the car left only Walsh.

Walsh, Zack Walsh, the Zack Hammer, Wal$h Street, the Idea Man, has quite the reputation for delivering genuinely awe inspiring answers to questions. He's my high school best friend. And I'm sure he'll ask this blog post be redacted.

After hearing a list ranging from armadillo to sea urchin, Walsh, with wide eyes and the innocence of a small child on Santa's lap, offers up his claim to exotic food fame, "I've had artichoke hearts!"

"ARE YOU KIDDING ME WALSH!", none of us could get that out fast enough. We couldn't. 


The only time I've been west of the Mississippi with Walsh was a 2008 trip to Minneapolis. With no more overlapping geography on this trip, Walsh's credibility will survive to fight another day.

(I say this story mostly for those that know us, but I think there's a common thread in that answer for most to enjoy. We still love you Walsh.)


Tonight I made it as far as a Motel 6 in the northwest corner of Kansas, a town named Colby. There were more flashbacks in this state. What I almost drove across in a day, took me six to cross by bicycle back in 2011 (blog post).

Overall, today was uneventful. As I keep heading west, I'll keep you all posted. The PCT isn't too far off.

Kansas sunset

Kansas sunset

My road trip setup

My road trip setup