We returned yesterday from a delightful long weekend celebrating the Fourth among relatives in Missouri, land of the free and home of the M-80. In contrast to most previous July visits, the weather was hot but not disablingly so, and the humidity stayed under wilting levels, so one could actually move around without penalty. Much of the time was spent either in or on Lake Lotawana, with an impressive official fireworks display launched from the lake dam and supplemented by enthusiastic quantities of locally-purchased ordnance.
Another milestone of the trip was my first taste of the fabled Fat Tire Amber, which got an initial "meh" from me. However, the next day I tried it again and understood my initial reaction. As a rule, I prefer hoppier beers to this Belgian-style amber, but having accounted for that, Fat Tire is an excellent example of the latter and it was very refreshing on a hot day. Fortunately, I had also picked up a sixpack of New Belgium's Ranger IPA which was more to my liking, so the beer exploration portion of our trans-Mississippi expedition was not in vain. Although it was too late to go back to the Price Chopper, I also heard good things about the output of Kansas City's own Boulevard Brewing Company, so I'll have to remember that for the next trip out there.
Our trip ended in fitting fashion as our plane approached National Airport from the north, following the twists and turns of the Potomac River and giving us spectacular views of the National Cathedral, Georgetown University, the Mall from the Lincoln Memorial to the Capitol, and hundreds of borderline-dehydrated tourists, all beautifully lit up by the setting sun. The few seconds between those views and the landing consist almost exclusively of the Potomac River coming up to meet you, which always reminds me of the story I had heard years before about airline pilots likening a landing at National to landing on a carrier. Fortunately the runway is long enough to preclude the use of arresting wires so we had a reasonably smooth arrival.