For this week's entry I have selected a bar not because of anything particular about the bar itself, rather it's because this bar culminated our greatest accomplishment in our personal history of barhopping.
We had spent the first half of the day traveling through northern Missouri and southern Iowa, stopping at bars here and there along the way. By the late afternoon we reached the town of Ottumwa, IA. We checked into a motel on the edge of town, took a cab to the opposite side of town, and began walking back. Along the way we stopped at every bar we saw.
Ottumwa has a plethora of drinking establishments, and despite visiting bars on both sides of the Des Moines River we had visited only about half of all the bars in town when at 1:18am, we reached a tiny little bar called Cocacana.
We got our beers ($1 each for 10oz Bud Light draws) and I began looking through my notebook to see how we had done. I did a double-take and rechecked my figures. I was stunned to discover that we had just ordered our 30th drink at our 30th bar of the day, shattering our previous record by 7 bars.
We high-fived and clinked our glasses, sending a splash of beer onto the bar counter. A guy standing at the end of the bar asked what we were celebrating.
"We've been to 30 bars!" we said.
"Really? This is your 30th ever?" the guy asked.
"No," we replied, "our 30th today!"
"Oh my god!" interjected the bartender. "PLEASE tell me you are not driving!"
"Oh no," we reassured her, "we're on foot."
"Well, congratulations, then, and be careful," she told us as she wiped up our minor spill.
After we finished our drinks and left the bar, we were met in the parking lot by a group of patrons, a man and two women who had heard us talking about our accomplishment. They asked us where all we had been and shared with us a wealth of information about some of the bars we had been to earlier in the day, including some in towns a good distance away. (Some of their information will be used in a future post.)
We began walking back to our motel down a dark, wooded, shoulderless highway. About a quarter mile down the road our new friends spotted us as they passed by and gave us a lift the rest of the way to the motel.
We never did get their names, but we owe them our thanks!
Cocacana is located on Main Street (Old US Hwy 34), just east of Elm, in Ottumwa, IA. Ottumwa is located at the crossing of US-34 and US-63 in eastern south-central Iowa.