Saturday, March 29, 2014

Stop #58: Reed Road, Kokomo (#145)

Jen and I were not done in Kokomo after our stop at Essex Drive. But, what do you do when Kokomo has broken your heart?

What DO you do?

You drown your sorrows in milkshakes at the OTHER Kokomo Steak 'n Shake!

Goldie's a big HIMYM fan like me, apparently.
Also, I totally free-handed that. Maybe.

So Jen and I headed to the next SnS on Reed Road.

We each ordered a Red Velvet milkshake with fudge drizzling. Then waited.

For forever.

Jen got to work on solving the Steak 'n Shake puzzles on the back of her placemat.

Cruel puzzles taunting us with a spring while we sat in a snow-covered Hell.

Then things got worse: Our shakes arrived, but the server had to tell us that they were out of fudge drizzling and had to use chocolate syrup instead. We didn't mind that so much, but when I took off the lid to my cup, I nearly wept.

Where's the top quarter of my shake?

It was sadly low on the shake. Seriously, I'd had one sip at this point. And as big as my mouth is, it can't fit THAT much shake. 

Also, I had no spoon to fetch the cherry.

Basically, Kokomo decided that it wasn't going to break our hearts just once. It was going to break our hearts again, and again, and again. 

... Then again, I did have a mostly-full tasty shake to try to take my mind off my broken heart. As long as the lid was on.

Meanwhile, Jen distracted herself from the sadness by stealing my placemat and continuing the puzzles activities.

Jen might be a masochist, looking at all these spring-y things amidst a blizzard outside.

Sadly, with this stop, our "tropical" vacation was over: Jen had to work, and I had some tears to shed in the privacy of my own home.

 And, of course, we did get a postcard for all you lovely readers.

Reverse: Next time, just go to Florida.
There might be giant gross bugs, but there's also beaches.
And 81 Steak 'n Shakes.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Stop #57: Essex Drive, Kokomo (#244)

After one of the most miserable winters in my memory here in Indiana (seriously, it's been like a billion inches of snow and temperatures so low at times that you can throw boiling water outside and get snow), I decided I'd earned a vacation. A quality vacation, better than any vacation I've had before. One to a place everyone's heard of.

Because after you put up with a billion inches of snow, don't you deserve bodies in the sand? After you put up with temperatures so low that you can throw boiling water outside and get snow, don't you deserve a tropical drink melting in your hand? After your pipes have frozen five times and you've had work canceled thrice for weather-related reasons, don't you deserve to get away from it all?

Way down in Kokomo?

So I invited Jen to join me on my tropical paradise vacation. Where I happened to know that they had not one, but TWO Steak 'n Shakes for the enjoying.

But you know what, lovely readers?

Kokomo is a LIE.

Behold: The saddest vacation picture ever.

Okay, technically, Kokomo exists, but the beach promised by the line of sand in the song? The warmth promised by the tropical drink melting in the song? The pleasant vacation promised by the steel drums? John Stamos?

It's a lie. It's ALL a lie. Kokomo had inches of snow on the ground when we arrived, a temperature a whopping two degrees above freezing, and nary a ray of sunshine to be seen, save for my artwork.

My heart was broken.

Fortunately, the two Steak 'n Shakes were NOT a lie.

At the first Steak 'n Shake we went to, the one on Essex Drive, our server, Patrick, was very friendly, and seemingly a bit confused by our decision to take a vacation in Kokomo. (Well, Patrick, you live here. You know what it's like. We've apparently been fed a diet of lies all our lives thanks to the Beach Boys.)

Jen managed to keep an upbeat and "let's enjoy our vacation anyway" attitude.

Probably because she wasn't just standing outside
in a puddle of melted snow wearing flip-flops and shorts.

And convinced me to follow suit with my own as-close-as-possible-to-tropical-melting-drinks-thanks-to-drinky-umbrellas shot.

Pictured: Faking it.

To mend my broken heart, I ordered what has become one of my favorites at Steak 'n Shake, a veritable comfort-to-Marcy food: the Guacburger.

Hope, and the promise of a better tomorrow.
The hope is the burger;
the promise, the guacamole.
The better tomorrow? Apparently fries.

Belly full, I was able to get over the fact that I could not find a beach in Kokomo to sun myself on. Though, as photographic evidence proves (and the photographic evidence of a rare variety, I promise), my legs definitely needed it. They do not see the light of day but once every ten years, kind of how Davy Jones' legs wouldn't see the light of day but once every ten years when he gets to set foot on land. Except his legs probably see more sunlight by virtue of being on a pirate ship in the in-between years.

But my vacation was looking up. I'd had a burger, I'd had a wannabe tropical drink, and I had the traditional "group shot" with Jen.

Though more fitting is the shot of the postcard variety.

 Reverse: Wish you were here! Because misery loves company!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Steak 'n Shake Quest: Back with a Vengeance!

Sometimes life gets in the way of things. Which is sort of sad, but on the other hand, in this situation you can take that statement to mean that my long absence from the quest does not mean I have died (unless you wanted me dead, in which case, this isn't sort of sad, it's entirely, 100 percent sad).

No, it means I continue to live, and in a state that has made it difficult to maintain my questing duties, though I still reside in Indiana. (State! Indiana! Ha!) New jobs, new homes, new planets. One of these listings doesn't impact me and was not a part of why the quest paused. And the hint is, I have not been able to verify yet, for-real and in-person, that there is NOT a Steak 'n Shake on Mars for me to add to the quest.

But never fear. A stop post, a for-real stop post, is on the horizon.

In the meantime, I do have some sadness/happiness to confess. The quest has been on pause for so long that I have officially had to add another stop to the list. Sadness, because the name of the quest is now officially wrong (though I won't change it because "Around the State in 71 Steaks. And Shakes." just doesn't have the same pleasant ring to it). Happiness, because MORE EXCUSE FOR QUESTING!

I discovered this addition from the Steak 'n Shake Facebook page several weeks ago.

See all those happy people in that picture? They're happy because Batesville just got its very own Steak 'n Shake! Prior to this, their closest options were all at least 20 miles away, and two of the three were in ...

... OHIO!

So the good people of Batesville definitely deserved this. 

And patient quest followers, you have definitely deserved a 71st stop to make up for my absence of more than a year. You've also deserved exactly what's coming ... in the next stop-post.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Interlude #5: 71st and Woodland

On my birthday, I did two awesome things.

First, I ran from zombies.


I technically did not survive. But I also didn't literally die as I did the event, so there you have it.

And because I did my first 5k in the afternoon, I figured I earned a bit of a treat later.

Not only that, but Steak 'n Shake on my birthday was also a good opportunity for ...

... the return of the Brett!

It's true. Brett is done with his program in Wisconsin. So he's back in Indy, and he moved in while I was running for my life.

I had earned a Frisco melt and fries.

And Brett earned a simple shooter.

Brett hungry!

 Our stop was pretty quick, as we were all a bit tired from our exertions for the day, so we took a moment for the traditional group shot.

Of course, Brett messed up the first one.

Also, this officially marks the end of Catch Caragher, unless he leaves Indy again before the Quest is complete.

Eventually, there will be an "Answers" post to that game as well. And some of the places I've hidden him will blow your mind.

Stop #56: New Castle (#619)

After our stop in Richmond, Splenda and I left scary-close-to-Ohio territory and made our way to the next stop, and the stop that really motivated Splenda to join me on my trip for the day.

That's right: We went to New Castle.

New Castle, home of many a Butler Basketball player, all of whom Splenda appreciates greatly due to them playing basketball for Butler.

I, too, am a fan, because they shoot many ...


That is, they shoot a lot of 3-pointers, and 3 is my second favorite number. 3 is also the highway you take to get to New Castle, which is where, as I've already mentioned, many Butler players are from.

Once we got there, with basketball on my mind, I got excited by the Steak 'n Shake measuring stick by the door, 'cause according to it, height is measured in Steak 'n Shake characters. I am apparently Goldie Fries tall.

Most Butler basketball players are Milkshake tall, or taller, apparently.

Since we had had lunch in Richmond (close enough to Ohio to warrant worrying about being poisoned, I might add), Splenda and I decided we only needed milkshakes this time around.

Splenda was glad to finally get the chance to try the Nutter Butter milkshake.

 Meanwhile, I was glad to get the chance to have the brownie bits milkshake.

 Sad to say, this is my before face. The shake itself was a bit of a disappointment. If you go to Steak 'n Shake and you're craving both brownie and ice cream, please, don't waste your time on this milkshake.

Get the glorious, wondrous brownie sundae. For reals:

 Someone about to take on a delicious, delicious combination of ice cream and brownie.

 Someone about to take on a not-so-delicious combination of ice cream and brownie.

After we finished our shakes, Splenda and I decided to do our group shot with Darnell Archey, Zach Hahn, and Chase Stigall, the very boys who had motivated us to stop by that Steak 'n Shake that day.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Stop #55: Richmond (#235)

In early June, I headed dangerously close to Ohio in order to continue with my Steak 'n Shake Quest.

Dangerously close.

But then, what's a quest without a bit of danger?

And so, Splenda joined me for her first Quest Stop and ventured with me to Richmond, Indiana.

Being as close to Ohio as we were, we decided to tempt the fates, and actually venture into Ohio.

See? That's the bridge over nothing, the path to nowhere, the sure sign that you are headed for ... Ohio.

Confirmation: That's us in Ohio. You can tell, because Ohio is the only reason to be so sad.

Don't believe me? Think we just got close to the bridge and turned around? My trusty(ish) navigator pal, GPSy, can show you.

Think I used my awesome awesome tech skills to confuse my less-than-genius navigator and trick it into saying we were in Ohio?

Not so. Against my better judgment, I went into that gas station we were stopped at and contributed to the Ohio economy by buying gummy worms.

And what did my receipt reveal?

That Ohio somehow thinks they have a new and improved version of one of the top international cities. Pfft. Ohio. You so silly!

And dangerous. So Splenda and I high-tailed it out of there.

But of course, the primary focus of this trip was Steak 'n Shake, and not our death-defying adventures into *shudder* Ohio.

We had come this far east for Steak 'n Shake.

Though we did continue to make fun of Ohio once we got there.

First, I drew some artwork.

A look at my interpretation of the states.

Then Splenda tried her hand.

A close-up of the finished product for those who wan to see her awesomeness.

Though we realized partway through our visit that we were probably surrounded by Ohioans. Fortunately, they didn't actually attack us or anything. Though we were getting the evil eye from some fellow customers.

So we called for back-up.

Becca was jealous that she couldn't join us on this quest trip, but I promised we would call her and she could be with us in spirit.

After chatting with Becca a bit, we went ahead and ordered. I got my standard guacburger and fries.

After eating (and getting the stinkeye from what we suspected were several surrounding Buckeyes), we did the traditional "group photo" and headed out.

And, of course, shortly after taking this photo, we stepped outside and confirmed, by looking around the parking lot, that we had indeed been surrounded by citizens of that un-great state, Ohio.

Frankly, you're lucky to be reading this post from me. Having been that close to Ohio, then in Ohio, then surrounded by Ohioans -- that's almost as bad as driving blindfolded with no seatbelt.

Also almost as stupid.

Monday, June 4, 2012

For those of you keeping score at home ...

For those of you keeping score at home, you likely know that I'm now at 54 of the 70 Steak 'n Shakes in Indiana -- I have just 16 left to hit, plus my planned victory lap at my favorite location, the one where we started it all: Nora, Indianapolis.

For those wondering why I seem to have slowed recently, the answer may become apparent if you choose to check out my GoogleDoc for Quest Progress. I do still have some stops left in Indy, as I tried to save some for later in the quest so that I wouldn't be spending the homestretch being forced to drive 3+ hours away for every single stop -- but beyond those few, many of the stops left are an hour or more away, and often in geographic areas I don't find myself in frequently (I'm looking at you, east-side-of-Indiana-and-subsequently-dangerously-close-to-my-nemesis-Ohio).

But progress is being made, slowly. Watch for more of my wild and crazy adventures soon!