Quotation du jour ~ Dan Fogelberg: There is no Eden or Heavenly gates / That you're gonna make it to one day / But all of the answers you seek can be found / In the dreams that you dream on the way
Thursday, June 24th
And so i awoke at the City Center Hotel, with a dead cell phone, no toothbrush (although i did have chewing gum!) and no razor -- and i really hate not shaving or being able to brush what remain of my teeth -- and hardly any cigarettes. So i went out around 7 a.m. and it was hot already, and bright, and i found cigarettes at a gas station, but nowhere i could buy a toothbrush or razor. That was the first time in five months or so that i hadn't shaved. I didn't like it, especially, but what the heck, i was on holiday.
Also, daylight revealed to me where i was -- not that far away from the Arch. If i'd known that the night before, i could have saved myself $179 (U.S.) and made it back to Belleville! But as i have mentioned previously in this journal / epic / illiterate rambling, i had heaps of trouble getting my bearings on my first few days in St Louis.
Anyway, i returned to the hotel, had a shower, had a coffee, changed my shirt (i'd bought a souvenir t-shirt at the Blues Museum the day before) and then headed off to Union Station.
In two hours, i was meeting Jan, Dave, and the wonderful Kitra there. I have to say a few words about Dave, here. Years ago, before Facebook was a twinkle in Mark Zuckerberg's eye, i met Dave on a Yahoo forum devoted to cult media. In a discussion about radio stations, he recommended St Louis's KSHE to me. I started listening (online, obviously), became fascinated with the city and was, ultimately, inspired to visit. So, the fact is, it's all Dave's fault LOL.
Kit had arranged a tour of the KSHE studios for us! I didn't know they did that! But that was a couple of hours away. I found Union Station no problem, then just started exploring. Went as far as Lafayette Square,
a lovely little greenspace, then, fortunately, found a convenience store where i was able buy breakfast (a bag of nacho chips) and a bottle of fruit juice (there are very few shops in downtown St Louis, as i've said before), and then back to Union Station.
And then, to the KSHE World Headquarters at 401 South 18th Street. Where we were met at the door by the beautiful Kristi Carson,
Kristi took us on a pretty comprehensive tour of the station, all of the rock'n' roll paraphernalia they have on their walls and we met all sorts of people -- including Uman and Lern -- and here's a pic of them with me and Dave -- the man without whom i never would have started listening to KSHE and never have fallen in love with St Louis.
Uman was great (i told him how much i loved the Sunday Klassics show and he replied that doing it was the favourite part of his week) and Lern -- although she seems to be a bit of a ditz on the radio, was really nice, too. I also met the program director and told him to play more Rory Gallagher!
And then we met the young lad who dons the Sweetmeat (the station's mascot) at community events, and, ohmagerd, he donned the costume for us. Jan was so excited, she grew up with this schtuff, she was like a 14-year old meeting Justin Bieber!
But then it was over and i left Kristi with a message to say "hi" to Tommy T. -- their overnight deejay and a Facebook friend (as the overnight man, he was long gone by this time) and i gave Kitra a huge "thank you" hug and the four of us headed off across the parking lot ... to The Hard Rock Cafe for lunch. I'd never been in a Hard Rock Cafe before. I can't, at this distance, recall what i ate or what beer i had to drink, but it was darned good, and the Muzak was excellent. As was the company.
And then we all headed back to Jan's apartment in South County -- the Maryland Heights neighbourhood, i think it was.
American highways are extraordinary -- they're massive and everywhere. Here's one (don't know if you can see it, but the road signs are for Tulsa and Memphis and somehow i loved being this close to those two cities).
Canada may have an automobile-based culture but it as nothing compared to America's! Anyway, we all four had a lovely, relaxing afternoon and i felt truly comfortable there, with three beautiful friends and Jan's dogs Harry and Grinser. But then Dave had to go home to St Clair and Kitra drove me back to Belleville. And of course we had extraordinary difficulty finding Chuck's apartment yet again. Many illegal U-turns later we made it, though. And i gave Kit a huge hug. Of course it was only the heat that made me perspire then. (My cat interjects: "Yeah, right!" To which i reply, get your own blog, you!")
Now, Chuck's sister Rosemary was staying with him at this point -- sleeping on his couch -- and the three of us went out to eat at a roadhouse, i forget its name, but it's where i snapped this pic of sunset over Illinois.
After an unexceptional meal, we went for a beer (or in my case, two) (Chuck's not a beer-drinker) to a brewpub called the 4204 -- full name the 4204 Main Street Brewing Company -- at 4204 West Main Street, strangely enough. 'Twas a lovely spot and the beer was excellent!