Quotation du jour: Graham Chapman ~ I can't talk to a man who bears an undeserved animosity towards ferrets.
My goodness, what a good one this week. If i could find a radio station that played music like this 24/7, would i ever listen to anything else? Would i ever sleep? Go to work? Ever leave the house?
The James Gang -- Alexis Atlanta Rhythm Section -- I'm Not Gonna Let It Bother Me Tonight Genesis -- Dance On A Volcano Foreigner -- Headknocker April Wine -- Oowatanite Spirit -- Nature's Way Charlie -- L.A. Dreamer Pink Floyd -- Free Four The Babys -- Looking For Love Wet Willie -- Everything That You Do (Will Come Back To You) Bachman-Turrner Overdrive -- Gimme Your Money Please Henry Gross -- One More Tomorrow Michael Murphy -- Geronimo's Cadillac Billy Joel -- Prelude/Angry Young Man Stingray -- Lovesaver Bruce Cockburn -- If I Had A Rocket Launcher Kansas -- What's On My Mind Queen -- Bicycle Race Blind Faith -- Sea Of Joy Jackson Browne -- Boulevard Emerson, Lake & Palmer -- Still ... You Turn Me On Rod Stewart -- Blondes (Have More Fun) Aerosmith -- Toys In The Attic Bruce Springsteen -- Badlands Marshall Tucker -- Take The Highway Loverboy -- Lucky Ones Jimi Hendrix -- Stone Free Cheryl Dilcher -- Together Sniff 'N' The Tears -- Driver's Seat Michael Bolton -- Fool's Game The Rolling Stones -- When The Whip Comes Down The Byrds -- Eight Miles High Sammy Hagar -- The Ice Man Molly Hatchet -- Gator Country Cream -- Tales Of Brave Ulysses David & David -- Welcome To The Boomtown America -- Don't Cross The River Utopia -- Love Is The Answer Little River Band -- It's Not A Wonder
And my own personal playlist for the week (incomplete):
Dan Fogelberg & Tim Weisberg -- Twin Sons Of Different Mothers Propaganda -- A Secret Wish T. Rex -- Electric Warrior Mike Oldfield -- Ommadawn Roger McGuinn -- Cardiff Rose Jeff Beck -- Loud Hailer 10 c.c. -- The Original Soundtrack Poco -- Crazy Loving Joan Osborne -- Bring It On Home Rory Gallagher -- Top Priority Steeleye Span -- All Around My Hat Yes -- Relayer Jethro Tull -- Heavy Horses
Quotation du jour: Eddy L. Harris ~ A vacation is external. A pilgrimage is internal. An adventure combines them.
Wednesday, June 22
And so i awoke at Chuck's apartment, in his spare room, in Belleville, Illinois -- not too far across the river from St Louis. Belleville is part of Metro East and is served by St Louis public transit (MetroLink and MetroBus).That's their logo over there.
I have often maintained that Americans in general are among the friendliest, most generous people on this planet. I was proven right many times during my stay, but Chuck went over and above. When i was first planning this trip over a year ago, and trying to find a relatively inexpensive hotel, Chuck messaged me to offer me his spare room. (I was at Kelsey's pub having an after work beer at the time.) I was overwhelmed. We were "only" Facebook friends, after all. But with hardly any hesitation at all (after all, he might have been a serial killer -- or i might have been, he didn't know, either) i accepted gratefully. (Facebook, love it or hate it, sometimes it leads you to the wrong people, but more often it introduces you to the absolutely right ones.)
Chuck did so much for me -- buying my favourite tea, giving me oodles of useful advice and more than anything, driving me to the Swansea MetroLink station every morning and picking me up every evening -- even when MetroLink deposited me somewhere unexpected that was 'way out of his way. And that's the Swansea MetroLink station.
Missourians and Illinoisans also seemed a more-than-usually friendly folk -- strangers greeting you in the street and people i asked for directions when i got lost -- which was often! -- who would go out of their way to point me in the right direction.
I need to bitch and moan about MetroLink a bit, though. Okay, obviously i was unfamiliar with the system, so some of the problems i had were my own fault, but really, the system sucks sometimes. For a start, there are no manned stations, so i was never able to ask an actual human being for help. I wanted to buy a week-long pass on my first day, and although the option was there on the ticket machine, the capacity to buy one didn't seem to exist. So i bought a one-way ticket ($2.50) and then had to validate it at another machine. It took me several tries to realise that that machine wasn't working. The one next to it worked fine.
And i saw this sign on every train. It took me aback a bit!
But i had so many problems: one day the ticket machine ate my debit card, another, late one evening, i was very tired, wanted nothing other than to sleep, it deposited me so far from where i wanted to go that out of desperation i took a room in an hotel -- the City Center Hotel, in fact. It was dark. If it had been daylight i would have seen that i wasn't all that far from where i wanted to be. That was a $179 mistake. (My room was sumptuous, i must admit!)
As for MetroBus, i never even tried to figure them out! The destination signs never meant anything to me. (I wanted to buy a street map but was never able to find one -- maybe in this age of the GPS they no longer make them?)
Anyway, i had determined that my first stop was going to be the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park. Took the train to the Forest Park/De Balivière station, found the museum almost immediately and it was terrific. Exhibits from all eras of Missouri's history. Unfortunately an exhibit that would have been very interesting, the history of Route 66, was opening after my departure, but it was an excellent start. Then i decided to head east into Forest Park -- which is larger than Central Park In NYC and includes the Zoo, the Art Museum, and the Jewel Box, a massive greenhouse. And headed south instead.
The first few days in St Louis, i had heaps of problems getting my bearings. With the sun directly overhead i had no way of telling in which direction i was traveling. Plus most of the cities i know have a north/south axis -- St Louis is east/west. It was difficult to get orientated. It didn't take long before i realised that i was out of the park but i kept going -- i like exploring anyway, i wanted to see where it would lead.
Now, you have to remember that it was about 100 degrees Fahrenheit and very humid and it wasn't long before i began to think that maybe this wasn't such a good idea. I was hoping to find a restaurant or pub, feeling more than a little dehydrated, but i saw nothing but suburban streets. Sure, i have Google Maps on my phone but in sunlight that bright i couldn't see the screen! And i wasn't sure how to backtrack, as i had taken too many twists and turns. There were very few people around, either, but eventually i met an elderly black man and asked him how to get to a MetroLink station (my polestar at this point) and he gave me excellent directions and even walked with me for a bit, even though he'd been traveling in the opposite direction and ultimately i found the Skinker station and headed back downtown. Where i immediately got lost again!
Downtown St Lou is certainly not what i expected. It's a beautiful place for sure, but where are all of the shops and restaurants? I found very few. Where do the office workers have lunch? And the ONLY two shops i found that day were Missouri Threads -- which sold souvenir t-shirts and sweatshirts and postcards and what-not, and a combo smoke and liquor store (where i bought Chuck a "thank you" bottle of Glenfiddich). I finally found (i.e., stumbled upon after what seemed like hours of wandering around) Tigìn Irish Pub on Washington Avenue ("Tigìn" is Gaelic for "little cottage"), and was able to eat and re-hydrate But i didn't stay long. I wanted to get to the river.
Well, i knew how to get there. Had my first daylight close-up view of The Gateway Arch, the tallest man-made monument in the western hemisphere.
But just beyond the Arch is the Mississippi River. Oh, my! At my first sight of Ol' Man River, the strangest thing happened.
A tiny little tear rolled down my cheek. Well, more than one. Actually, i wept with joy. I'm really not sure why i reacted like that. Sure, the Father of Waters is so full of majesty. power, history, imagination, music, literature. But it could have been something more mundane, like the fact that i had wanted to be there for so long and had finally made it!
Quotation du jour ~ Thomas Jefferson: He who knows best knows how little he knows John Kay -- Easy Evil Climax Blues Band -- Using The Power The Ozark Mountain Daredevils -- Chicken Train Robin Trower -- My Love (Burning Love) King Crimson -- 21st Century Schizoid Man The Police -- Canary In A Coal Mine Montrose -- Town Without Pity Blue Oyster Cult -- Hot Rails To Hell Chris De Burgh -- Don't Pay The Ferryman Nazareth -- This Flight Tonight REO Speedwagon -- Music Man Jimi Hendrix Experience -- The Wind Cries Mary Crawler -- Sail On Rush -- Roll The Bones Kansas -- Play The Game Tonight Dickie Betts -- Hand Picked Head East -- Since You've Been Gone Eric Clapton -- Let It Grow Sammy Hagar -- (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay Breathless -- Takin' It Back Jackson Browne -- Red Neck Friend Bachman-Turner Overdrive -- Hey You The Byrds -- Mr Tambourine Man Shooting Star -- You Got What I Need Little River Band -- It's A Long Way There Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young -- Dark Star Jimmy Barnes -- Working Class Man Spirit -- I Got A Line On You J. Geils Band -- Musta Got Lost Kenny Loggins -- Love Has Come Of Age Grateful Dead -- Touch Of Grey Elton John -- Grey Seal Ted Nugent -- Call Of The Wild Roger Hodgson -- Had A Dream (Sleeping With The Enemy) Cat Stevens -- Bitter Blue Mott The Hoople -- All The Young Dudes Chilliwack -- Arms Of Mary Toto -- I'll Supply The Love The Band -- The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down Cheryl Dilcher -- High
And my own personal playlist for the week, Kitra:
Bluehorses -- The Well Beyond The Wild World's End Procol Harum -- Home Manfred Mann's Earth Band -- Solar Fire Mama's Pride -- Rebirth Yes -- Tormato 10 c.c. -- How Dare You! Max Webster -- High Class In Borrowed Shoes Paul Simon -- Stranger To Stranger Jane Siberry -- Ulysses' Purse The Association -- Greatest Hits Chicago -- Chicago II Terje Rypdal -- The Singles Collection Renaissance -- Renaissance The Kinks -- Live At The Hippodrome Andy M. Stewart & Manus Lunny -- At It Again Marin Carthy -- Because It's There
Quotation du jour: Donovan ~ Here i am is all i know
Tuesday, June 21: Stratford=>London=>Chicago=>St. Louis
Yes, i finally made it to St Louis, nearly three years after first conceiving a visit. (My passport problems last year are well-documented.)
The worst part about traveling by air must be airports. The flights themselves went very smoothly but the airport security was a nightmare. First of all, i discovered when i tried to check in at the United Airlines desk at London, that, as a Canadian resident traveling on a British passport, i needed an ESTA card (Electronic System for Travel Authentication) in order to enter the USA. I'd never heard of it before! It's like a visa. I was able to buy one there and then, but it was a hassle. Glad i arrived early...
Chicago's O'Hare was a bit of a nightmare, too. The place is huge! As i was travelling with an ESTA card, first of all, i had to go through a security check for people with visas. It was a long line, and most of the people ahead of me seemed to have a very limited grasp of English. I'm glad i had a ninety-minute layover as i must have spent nearly an hour in that damned line, and when i finally reached the security agent, he wasn't in a good mood. I was grilled pretty throughly but he finally conceded that i probably wasn't a threat and waved me on .. to the next security agent. I wasn't looking forward to it.
Did i mention that i was wearing a Rory Gallagher t-shirt? The first thing that the next agent said to me was, "Oh, i LOVE Rory Gallagher!" We spent a couple of minutes chatting about guitarists -- he was more of a Jeff Beck fan, but no one's perfect LOL -- and he sent me straight on through. And i had to take a subway train to the terminal from which my flight was departing.
Arrived at Lambert Airport in St. Louis a little bit early -- it was a very smooth flight, bless you United Airlines, and was met by two Facebook friends, two wonderful, crazy, and wonderfully crazy women, Jan and Kitra. Never let anyone tell you that Facebook friends are any less real than "real life" (whatever that is) friends. The mutual hugs were spontaneous, warm and genuine. That's Lambert, there.
And then we waited for my luggage. The only carousel was unloading suitcases from a plane that had just arrived from Houston, and the agent told Jan that it would be twenty minutes before the luggage from Chicago was unloaded, so Kitra and i went off on a search for a burger and a beer -- i hadn't eaten or drunk anything in about eight hours apart from some United Airlines pretzels and that was at the top of my list of things to do at that point. Alas and alack, all of the restaurants at Lambert were closing, so we returned to Jan at the carousel and .. still no sign of the Chicago luggage, and the agent was still saying twenty minutes. So we waited. And waited. And waited. No sign of the luggage from Chicago. I went outside for a cigarette -- after eight hours in air-conditioning, the heat and humidity were staggering, like a blast furnace i'd just wandered into.
Then back to the luggage carousel and still no sign of the Chicago consignment. So i decided to wander about a bit and, oh, guess what? There was my suitcase, sitting on the floor next to the office of the agent who had said it would still be twenty minutes.
Then finally, into Kitra's car, and into the city in search of beer and burgers. Jan was using Siri on her phone and asking him (it?) for directions, but the route from the airport was taking us through Ferguson, and Siri was directing us there -- we were all agreed we didn't want to go to Ferguson! It was actually hilarious, Jan interacting with Siri: trying to find a burger joint in St. Lou, Siri kept trying to send us to Louisiana, Jan kept telling him (it?) to eff off and the inevitable response was "sorry i didn't get that."
And i had my very first view, as we were driving, of the St Louis skyline -- with a strawberry moon rising over it. Magic.
Anyway, we finally found a bar in the Soulard neighbourhood, the Soulard Social House. By this time it was around 10 p.m. and their kitchen was closed but they were able to offer us pizza, which we gladly accepted. (Oh, and beer too, of course.) (I had pizza twice when i was in St Louis and it's weird. Instead of being cut into triangular slices, it's cut into squares, and both times i had it it was a thin crust. It was very good, and i don't know if all St Louis pizza is like that, it was just a little unexpected.)
Oh, and i should mention, Jan and Kitra and i were so wrapped in the pleasure of each other's company, that it took us a few minutes to realise that we were in a topless bar! Hard to believe, i usually notice things like that right away....
And then it was off to Chuck's, in Belleville Illinois -- just across the river from St Louis. Chuck had very generously offered me his spare room and the girls had written directions to his apartment -- too bad they couldn't find the piece of paper upon which they were written! So, Siri was once more enlisted, there was much more effing and blinding by Jan and many illegal U-turns by Kit and quite a lot of messaging between us and Chuck -- who wanted to go to bed (as did i). It was midnight (Central Time) by the time we finally reached Moreland Drive in Belleville -- thirteen hours since i'd left home.
I'll write more about Chuck in the next post -- day 2 -- which i may have done by the end of the year, at this rate!
Quotation du jour: Dan Fogelberg ~ Burning lines in the book of our lives.
It's just the playlist this week, folks. I've been busy with a post about my trip to St Louis and i've almost finished day one. At this rate i'll have the entire thing done by about the end of the year!
Roger Daltrey -- Say It Ain't So, Joe
J. Geils Band -- First I Look At The Purse
The Sutherland Brothers & Quiver -- You Got Me Anyway
Good Rats -- Injun Joe
The Police -- Driven To Tears
Dr. John -- Right Place, Wrong Time
Chilliwack -- Baby Blue
Mott The Hoople -- All The Way From Memphis
Styx -- Snowblind
Heartsfield -- Shine On
Yes -- Starship Trooper
UFO -- Shoot Shoot
Kansas -- It Takes A Women's Love (To Make A Man)
Dwight Twilley -- Twilley Don't Mind
Jackson Browne -- In The Shape Of A Heart
Bob Dylan -- Rainy Day Women #12 & 35
Foghat -- Drivin' Wheel
B.B. King -- The Thrill Is Gone
April Wine -- I Like To Rock
Loggins & Messina -- Vahevala
Dave Mason -- Let It Go, Let It Flow
Nazareth -- Holiday
The Eagles -- Ol' 55
Jerry Garcia -- Sugaree
City Boy -- Cigarettes
Kim Mitchell -- Go For A Soda
Shooting Star -- Bring It On
Crawler -- Stone Cold Sober
David Bowie -- Young Americans
Free -- Wishing Well
Charlie Daniels -- Caballo Diablo
Pink Floyd -- Pigs (Three Different Ones)
Billy Joel -- Root Beer Rag
Off Broadway -- Stay In Time
Joe Satriani -- Always With Me, Always With You
J. Geils Band -- Whammer Jammer
Robin Trower -- Victims Of The Fury
Loggins & MEssina -- Back To Georgia
And my own personal playlist for the week (incomplete):
Dan Fogelberg -- Greatest Hits
Jan Akkermann -- Tabernakel
Mike Oldfiield -- Ommadawn
Survivor -- Vital Signs
Rory Gallagher -- Fresh Evidence
Jeff Beck -- There And Back
Mama's Pride -- Guard Your Heart
Fairport Convention -- Liege And Lief
Billy Talent -- III
Paul Simon -- Stranger To Stranger
Quotation du jour: Yogi Berra ~ “I really didn’t say everything I said. Then again, I might have said ’em, but you never know.”
Well, i'm still working on my blogpost about my recent trip to St Louis, but i haven't even finished Day One yet. Maybe, if i spent less of my one day off listening very intently to the radio.... (But also, the PC has been acting up -- in fact i'm runnning an anti-spyware scan as i type this.) Meanwhile, KSHE takes me back there.
Here's this week's playlist:
The Amboy Dukes -- Journey To The Center Of The Mind Jefferson Starship -- Girl With The Hungry Eyes Robin Trower -- Too Rolling Stoned The Allman Brothers Band -- Revival Ray Gomez -- Make Your Move UFO -- Cherry Hudson-Ford -- Take A Little Word Supertramp -- Poor Boy Real Life -- Send Me An Angel Headboys -- The Shape Of Things To Come Foghat -- Stone Blue Rare Earth -- I Just Want To Celebrate April Wine -- All Over Town Elton John -- Funeral For A Friend / Love Lies Bleeding Dave Mason -- World In Changes Russ Ballard -- Rene Didn't Do It Dan Fogelberg -- Illinois Styx -- Lady The Tubes -- Don't Touch Me There Charlie Daniels -- The South's Gonna Do It Again Wet Willie -- Baby Fat Jackson Browne -- That Girl Could Sing Jo Jo Gunne -- Ready Freddy Queen -- Liar Rainbow -- Long Live Rock And Roll Badfinger -- No Matter What Electric Light Orchestra -- Telephone Line Patti Smith -- Because The Night Kenny Loggins -- Celebrate Me Home Gary Wright -- Silent Fury Emerson, Lake & Palmer -- Knife Edge Poco -- Rose Of Cimmaron The Babys -- California The Grateful Dead -- Casey Jones Santana -- Everything's Coming Our Way Touch -- Black Star Cream -- Strange Brew Heart -- Dreamboat Annie Roger Daltrey -- One Man Band Rory Gallagher -- Country Mile Mama's Pride -- In The Morning
Oh, Dan Fogelberg. I'd heard the name but never actually heard his music until KSHE entered my life. I love his schtuff, and just ordered the CD from which "Illinois" comes -- a beautiful song i didn't know until today.
And here's my personal playlist:
Paul Simon -- Stranger To Stranger Rod Stewart -- The Rod Stewart Album Rod Stewart -- Gasoline Alley Jeff Beck -- Truth Genesis -- A Trick Of The Tail Van der Graaf Generator -- World Record Talking Heads -- Remain In Light Jethro Tull -- Benefit Electric Light Orchestra -- Out Of The Blue Mama's Pride -- Mama's Pride Rory Gallagher -- Top Priority 10 c.c. -- Deceptive Bends
Quotation du jour: Mama's Pride ~ So if you wanna see the birth of the blues, come on to ol' St Lou
I didn't post last week's playlist, for the very simple reason that i was actually in St Louis last Sunday, and there's so much to do there, i wasn't really listening to the radio. I think that, while the program was on, i was hanging around at the Gateway Arch!
Finnigan And Wood -- Highway Song
Rory Gallagher -- Brute Force & Ignorance
Journey -- Look Into The Future
Strawbs -- Lay Down
The Fixx -- Stand Or Fall
Michael Stanley -- He Can't Love You
Brownsville Station -- Smokin' In The Boys Room
Tarney Spencer Group -- No Time To Lose
Dan Fogelberg -- As The Raven Flies
Stabilizers -- One Simple Thing
April Wine -- Wings Of Love
Electric Light Orchestra -- Mr. Blue Sky
Headstone -- Turn Your Head
Steve Winwood -- Don't You Know What The Night Can Do
Head East -- City Of Gold
Rod Stewart -- Gasoline Alley
Survivor -- Poor Man's Son
Jethro Tull -- Living In The Past
Mason Proffit -- Two Hangmen
Wet Willie -- Keep On Smilin'
Dave Mason -- Headkeeper
Climax Blues Band -- I Am Constant
Uriah Heep -- Easy Livin'
Robin Trower -- Day Of The Eagle
Steve Miller -- Serenade
Def Leppard -- Hello America
George Harrison -- Bangla Desh
The Moody Blues -- Questions
Prism -- Julie
Mistress -- China Lake
Marshall Tucker Band -- This Ol' Cowboy
Slade -- Get Down, Get With It }
Slade -- Gudbye T' Jane } (It's 4 on the 4th weekend!)
Slade -- How Does It Feel? }
Slade -- Run Runaway }
Bandit -- Visions Of You
Greg Kihn Band -- The Breakup Song
The Grateful Dead -- Friend Of The Devil
Ambrosia -- Holding On To Yesterday
Supertramp -- Bloody Well Right
And here's my personal playlist for the past wee while:
Jethro Tull -- Benefit
Yes -- Going For The One
Mike Oldfield -- Ommadawn
Roger McGuinn -- Cardiff Rose
Steeleye Span -- Hark! The Village Wait
Kate Bush -- Never For Ever
Wishbone Ash -- Argus
Home -- The Alchemist
Mama's Pride -- Guard Your Heart
Dick Powell -- Lullaby Of Broadway
Fairport Convention -- Live In Finland 1971
Steely Dan -- Katy Lied
Paul Simon -- Stranger To Stranger
I'll be posting about my entire trip in due course, but it's difficult to collate all of the info from my phone, my iPad and from Facebook posts, but it'll be done. I loved St Louis, and will be going back for sure.