So established is Circle K that even brand-new vehicles recognize what its red-and-white logo stands for?fuel, snacks, and everything else a car might need to keep powering down the road with its driver. Circle K's story starts back in 1951, when Fred Hervey bought three Kay's Food Stores in El Paso, Texas. Under his guidance, these three little shops grew into the more than 3,000 convenience stores that crouch on our nation's street corners today.
After rolling up to a Circle K, drivers can pump their faithful roadsters full of high-octane fuel and send them skipping through a car wash to experience the cleansing touch of Blue Coral Beyond Green and Rain-X products. Then it's time to step inside the air-conditioned shop for a peek at the provisions. Rows of sodas hibernate behind glass doors, and snacks, candy, and their ATM guardians stand boldly out in the open. Some Circle Ks also offer theTake Away Fresh Caf?, which presents an appetizing lineup of healthy road fare including sandwiches, fruit cups, and fresh-cut vegetables. Drivers can gear up for a long drive with premium coffees or enjoy a cold Polar Pop, whose specially formulated cup keeps drinks colder thanks to the family of tiny snowmen trapped in its foam walls.
Across hundreds of stores in the U.S. and Canada, Lumber Liquidators provides homeowners and contractors with more than 340 flooring options. Lumber Liquidators, which has been featured on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and HGTV’s Dream Home, lays down floors such as solid and engineered Bellawood pre-finished hardwood with a transferable 100-year warranty and eco-friendly bamboo and cork. An array of professional-grade tools, such as table saws and floor nailers, help homeowners easily install their new floors, and the company's Flooring 101 search engine and Ask Bob customer-support team answer any questions that arise on the fly.
With iridescent miniature golf courses in malls throughout North America, Glowgolf adds elements of phosphorescent fun to shopping sessions. Courses contain sights such as light-defying blush corals, incandescent animals, and lush foliage reminiscent of the glowing trees on Neptune. Each pass is good for three 18-hole games, giving golfers ample opportunity to get familiar with each hole's obstacles. Equipment is available on the spot, so players won't have to carry around personal clubs or seek out a bioluminescent caddie.
The team at PPG Porter Paints has dedicated 90 years to sprucing up homes with the company's revered brand of vivid paints, stains, and primers. Silken Touch paint ($54.19+/gal.) stands ready to replace previous wall and ceiling embellishments, such as presidential murals painted in mustard. Permanizer ($67.65+/gal.), which carries a lifetime warranty against the development of flaking and other defects, helps to prevent al fresco fortifications from cracking and peeling during supersoaker season. Acri-Shield ($55.97+/gal.) lasts for long periods indoors and out, and coats outer walls easily in the hands of both professionals and casual painters. Amicable staff members roam the aisles and are eager to provide product recommendations for any home, office, or abandoned grain silo.
The experienced construction gurus at Waltco Tools, with more than 8,000 square feet full of wares from 200 major brands at their disposal, guide customers toward the right tools for any handyman job. A Dremel engraving tool ($19.99) etches signatures into personal property or local playground slides, working its carving magic on a variety of surfaces and materials such as metal, plastic, glass, ceramics, wood, and leather. The convenient telescoping magnet ($1.99) facilitates quick retrieval of screws and other metal parts, and a pair of Black Stallion gloves($16.99) protects hands when battling squirrels for dropped shiny things. Waltco packs supplies for all manner of DIY projects, as well as professional projects, outfitting area businesses with essentials for automotive and industrial work.
In December 1803, Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark set up the Camp River Dubois, right where the Mississippi and Missouri rivers meet. There, they and a crew of 30 men spent five months preparing for their legendary three-year expedition to chart America's newly acquired Louisiana Purchase territory. On May 14, 1804, they finally set sail on a 55-foot-long keelboat, named for its habit of keeling over in fear when it passed a shark.
To commemorate the bicentennial of its namesake's journey, the Lewis & Clark Confluence Tower opened on May 14, 2010, the 206-year anniversary, to the day, of the expedition's embarking. Tower is a slight misnomer?the structure is actually two parallel towers, connected by viewing levels 50, 100, and 150 feet above the ground.
The platforms afford panoramic views of Lewis and Clark's departure point, as well as the rivers' intersection, and, 25 miles north, the union of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers. Downtown St. Louis and the Gateway Arch are visible on clear days, and during evening events, sunsets and fireworks reflect gorgeously on the water. Back on the ground, the Meeting of the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway, complete with educational plaques, accommodates visitors interested in following the rivers' convergence on foot.