What a lovely weekend! We had a great road trip to St. Louis all things considered. The trip started off expeditiously, and we made good time with little traffic, which nowadays is an unexpected blessing on Tennessee, Kentucky and Illinois roads.
Once we reached St. Louis, we headed straightaway to Van City and had a marvelous time crawling through the new Unity Rear Lounge (URL). It was everything we thought it would be and better. This is a unit without a slide, so our expectation was that it would feel very close, but that was not the case at all for us. For one, the rear lounge was very loungie (technical term), just the sort of place where you could get comfortable. The two back windows on the left (human and cat) made the smallish space feel very light and roomy. The 32 inch TV was lovely and felt plentiful for the space. The wine rack did nothing for me, as I suppose you must be a wine drinker to have a true appreciation. What was surprising was that the front area was roomier than expected, with the nice big kitchen area (yes, we recognize that big is relative when talking RV space) and with the front seats turned around, I could see being happy hanging out in the front as well as the back. The bathroom door could block off the back area of the RV, which was nice. The finish was better than either of us expected, it’s similar to the Wonder and we have not been a fan of the Wonder finishes overall, but this one looked really good. The new countertop surface worked for me.
It was all good until we took it out for a test drive. Then it became TOTALLY AWESOME!!! For starters, the driver’s space was roomy and well laid out, and I had a deep appreciation for the beefy cup holders, as that is a sore spot for me. The seats were comfortable, and the seat extender, which we both thought was a bit gimmicky, really did improve comfort. The best part was driving. It was almost too easy. Driving it was like driving an SUV. Anyone can do it. The steering wheel really could be turned with a pinky finger. I liked the paddle shifters more than I thought I would (being a stick shift purist, paddles are no substitute) giving me the extra measure of control that I would have with a stick shift. I really wish the Mercedes came with a stick shift, but I do not know of any American RVs that are manual, and the paddles are a compromise I can live with.
After spending several hours at Van City, chatting with Don Klassen, a group of other LTVers we headed out to our hotel in Edwardsville, with a stop at a place called “The Cup” which was recommended to us by a friend. Think glorious cupcake confections, folks, and many varieties. We picked up a dozen (plus 2 small ones for the road for quality control) to give to the friends we were visiting and headed to see them. We had a lovely time out with our friends and then went back to their place for desert….and what a glorious dessert it was. We opened the wonder that was the cupcake box and there, before our eyes were 12 distinctly different cupcakes. It was at this point that strategy came into play. We all wanted all of the cupcakes. No two were alike, so if we each picked one, the rest would be denied the lusciousness of the claimed cupcake, so out came the knife. Being that there were 5 of us, slicing up the cupcakes was not exactly scientific, but we made it work. We knocked off 5 cupcakes in the first sitting, with the obvious winners being the german chocolate cake and the Italian wedding cupcake. Woozy on sugar, we finally called it a night. On Saturday, we met up again, went out on the lake, enjoyed another fine meal and between lunch and dinner, managed to kill off the rest of the cupcakes. By unanimous vote the absolute winner of all was the banana cream pie cupcake. The birthday cake, red velvet and the chocolate chip cupcakes were also strong. There was really only 1 weak player in the entire dozen, which was the lemon blueberry which was neither lemony or blueberryie. In looking back over this paragraph, I wax rhapsodic about the sugar quite a bit, but the real joy of the weekend was seeing our friends, with whom we seem to do nothing but laugh. All the time. Until our sides hurt. Then some more. These friends are part of the not so secret mountain dulcimer underground, and all musicians know how to have a good time, this weekend being no exception. Finally, we said good bye and went back to our hotel, getting to bed around 11:15 pm-ish with the expectation of getting up and hitting the road around 10 am. Now why would anyone care what time we went to bed? Well, that is where it got interesting. At about 1:15ish AM, the hotel was struck by lightning, all of the fire alarms went off, and we were evacuated. Staggering out of our rooms, we smelled smoke, which put some spring in our steps as we made our way to the lobby, where we stayed while the fire department was brought in. Fortunately, the lightning did not cause a fire, it just burned out some electronics, but the hotel staff and fire department could not get the alarms to reset. Finally, they told us we could go back to our rooms, but, with the alarm going off at an earsplitting decibel level, there would be no sleep, so we grabbed our stuff and checked out at 3:45. After filling up on the complimentary coffee (Kudos to the smart front office clerk who refilled it during our wait), we hit the very, very empty road.
The ride home was rough, as we were both operating on fumes and staying awake was a two person job. Fortunately, no one can stay asleep when I am belting out Radar Love. We arrived home at about the time we had expected to leave Edwardsville and promptly went face down for a couple of hours.