Captain Amurica Across America – Includes a Poll!

Part two in a three part guest blog series from the amazing Captain Amurica. Did you miss part one? Check it out here.

Arriving into Denver via dark mountain tunnels and passes, with the occasional bighorn sheep apparently just chillin on the side of the mountain. Insert mandatory Will Ferrell/Robert Goulet reference here. Starting with an early morning in the Mile High City compliments of a college friend, Biker Jim’s exotic sausages made for the perfect fuel for the day. A pheasant – rattlesnake and Alaskan Reindeer duo of sausages happily consumed, a tour of Denver was to be had. With a great food scene and even better beer scene, Denver was frankly, awesome. Rocky mountain oysters (which are apparently not actual oysters haha but with the flavor of great veal) and a hand crafted mint julip to start, followed by pizza and a good conversation with the waitress of Lucky Pie Pizza about the greater merits of the prosciutto and fig combination. Any of my close friends will tell you that prosciutto and fig is not only one of my all time favorite combinations, but also extremely funny to shout out randomly in Italian at any given time. Talk about my kind of place. I was sad to see Denver and its Rocky Mountain Back drop fade into wide open sky and endless prairies of Kansas towards Jefferson City, MO and Morgantown, WV, the final leg of our trip.

 Jefferson City, Missouri

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Jeff City, MO is a small town about two hours from St. Louis ( affectionately known as Da Lou) that is also the capital city of Missouri. With so many billboards promoting “adult shops for both singles and couples” I could only imagine what awaited us there. Driving at night we apparently missed the opportunity to view a multitude meth houses per capita for which Missouri leads the US and possibly the world, Jefferson City was a quiet, clean, and quaint town that has that Main Street vibe of old time Americana without ever having to try. A few Busch Lights (in honor of Missouri, of course) and we were walking the steps of the Capitol Building, gazing towards the Governor’s Mansion, and touched by the law enforcement officers memorial. The Mighty Missouri River lay in front of it, and had it not been for the enormous swarms of bugs that often surround large bodies of water on hot and humid summer days, I could have spent all night there. Alas free time was not something we had the luxury of truly enjoying, so instead packed up the next morning for Morgantown, with a stop in Da Lou on the way.

St. Louis, Missouri 

Having been to St. Louis before and having enjoyed it, this stopover was for two things: the Gateway Arch, and frozen custard. Ted Drewes to be exact. And while i’ve never met the dude, gotta give mad respect to him cause the guy knows how to make a bowl of ice cream. Rich, creamy, flavorful and smooth, this was definitely not your low fat treat. Calories be damned, that shit was money. And a perfect sugar rush to get us on our way. As for the Arch? It’s big. And when I say big, I mean it. The Washington Monument ain’t got shit on the Arch. You have to strain your neck just to take in the full purview, and the fact that there are windows across the top presumably for tour taking would’ve the kind of shit your pants awesome that one can only get from sky diving or bungee jumping.

Leaving St. Louis was also the first time that I’ve ever in my life stopped at a Jack in the Box, but the mere fact that you can get cheeseburgers, curly fries,  mozzarella sticks, AND tacos all at the same counter left me befuddled and giddy at the same time.

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Morgantown, West Virginia

Heading into Morgantown,WV reminded me of the trips I used to take to see my grandparents in Pittsburgh. Same landscape, same tyoe of people, same blue collar feeling.  Other than that I was able to glean one other aspect of life in the Mountaineer state and the accompanying West Virginia University – those kids party. And party hard. And love football. And when those two things mix together you have one of lifes greatest events – college football tailgates on Saturdays. Props to those cats at WVU for doing it big. Gotta get back up there in the fall.

The Star-Spangled Girl asks:

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Mile High Munchies

It was a gamble leaving Cedar City, Utah for Denver at 8pm on Monday. There was a chance we wouldn’t make it, but my instincts told me to take the gamble. I’m happy to report we safely made it to the Mile High city at 4:30am on Tuesday.

We dropped the car off at the VW dealership in Lakewood, and were able to pick it up 4 hours and $1000 later. That’s fun.

But the car trouble didn’t stop us from enjoying the full splendor of the city of Denver, Colorado. To be honest, I didn’t have high expectations for the city. In fact, I thought it was going to be full of hipsters and mountain men. I was right…but it turns out that’s not a terrible thing. In fact, Denver is extraordinarily cool. Anthony and I met up with his college buddy who works as a bar manager (as well as a number of other jobs). Adam graciously led us around the city, showing us a little peek into the everyday world of Denver.

Denver speaks to me. In particular, Denver speaks to my tummy. If you know me, you know I like some crazy food. Denver didn’t disappoint. First, we stopped off for lunch at an exotic sausage place called Biker Jim’s.

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There’s a similar style place by where I live in Clarendon, but NOWHERE near as good. Anthony and I split:

Alaskan Reindeer Sausage w/ Cream Cheese & Caramelized Onions
Rattlesnake & Pheasant Sausage w/ Harissa Roasted Cactus, Malaysian Jam, Scallions, Cilantro & Onions (two ways)
Charred Tahini Cauliflower
Good Juju, a beer brewed with Ginger

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It was refreshing drink, delicious food, and outstanding company. But the food and drink adventure didn’t stop there!

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After a stop off at the Great Divide tap house for some of the best IPAs and stouts I’ve ever tasted (don’t worry, Guinness, your place is safe in my heart), our wonderful host took us to one of the most highly-rated bars in the whole US of A, Falling Rock Tap House. For a mere $7 I had the opportunity to taste a world renowned IPA on tap, Russian River Pliny the Elder.

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After taking an afternoon nap fueled by early mornings and strong beer, I fulfilled a long-time dream…trying Rocky Mountain Oysters. In a moment of vacation brain, Anthony protested to eating them because he’s “allergic to oysters.” After a beat, a wave of embarrassment washed over his face as he realized that Rocky Mountain Oysters are actually bull testicles.

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So what do balls taste like? Actually, not much different than veal! I’m going to have to look for a place close by to D.C. to try them because boy-oh-boy those things were good.

We hopped over to a pizza place in downtown Denver for dinner. After devouring a charcuterie plate and an entire pizza, we headed back to Adam’s place to crash and prepare for our journey to Jefferson City, MO.

There and back again

Today, I embark upon a journey. From the muggy swampland of Northern Virginia, I’ll venture to the mystic and plastic land I once called home: Los Angeles. Then, in my golden chariot, I will ride across this majestic country, through 13 states, to return to my Capitol City-adjacent home in Arlington, VA.

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Along the way, my trusty sidekick and I will face perilous obstacles that make us ask ourselves questions we’ve never explored before, like “How much is too much BBQ?” and “How long can I hold it so I don’t have to stop at that nasty rest stop?” Our path will take us through

  • California
  • Nevada
  • Utah
  • Colorado
  • Kansas
  • Missouri
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • West Virginia
  • Maryland
  • Virginia

With stopovers in Las Vegas (Nevada), Denver (Colorado), Jefferson City (Missouri), and Morgantown (West Virginia), it promises to be a thoroughly blog-worthy adventure. Stay tuned to the Star-Spangled Girl and the “Everywhere in Between” tab for more on the sights and sounds from across the U.S. of A.