Category Archives: Automotive
Return to the Gateway City
NOTE: I am now posting this Sunday, two days after most of the action below occurred.
Is there a new rule which says I will encounter trouble driving to St. Louis?
Today, it wasn’t my car—thank God. The air conditioner is still humming one month after the compressor replacement on the other side of Missouri.
The problem occurred in Callaway County near the tiny hamlet of Williamsburg, 58 kilometers (35 miles) east of Columbia and 140 km (90 miles) west of the Gateway Arch and Busch Stadium.
Traffic began to slow down shortly past the US 54 exit. Ten miles later, Interstate 70 eastbound became a parking lot.
It got to the point where I turned off my car for three minutes. Nothing moved.
I called the Missouri Highway Patrol (each state has a quick dial to its highway patrol; Missouri is star 55 and Kansas is star 47. The nice lady on the other end of the line told me a semi was on fire. I just sighed “oh boy” and hung up. No need to vent my frustrations on anyone.
The cab was no more. It was black rubble. I wonder how the driver got out without suffering serious burns.
I was about to turn east on Interstate 64 at Wentzville, but traffic was backed up onto I-70. I decided I wasn’t going to sit in any more traffic jams if I could help it, even if it meant wasting a little gas.
The good news—traffic moved steadily east on I-70 through O’Fallon and St. Peters.
The bad news—I didn’t realize Missouri Highway 370, which is a six-laned, controlled access route, veered north and not south toward I-64.
I figured what the heck, I’m here until very early Wednesday morning, why not take a tour of some unseen land in the St. Louis metro.
It rained HARD on 370 from I-70 across the Missouri River to I-270, where I wanted to get to in the first place in order to find my hotel. At one point I was down to 60 km/h (37 MPH), but some figured it was still okay to go 60 MPH (97 km/h) even with water ponding.
The rain has abated, so it looks like the Cardinals and Giants will get to play at Busch tonight.
Herb Vincent, my mentor at LSU who now works in the Southeastern Conference office in Birmingham, attempts to see the Cardinals every summer. I’m going to inquire about us getting together in 2022.
Larry, my trivia pal, is a huge Cardinals fan stuck in Kansas City. So is Lisa.
I went to the old Busch Stadium in 1992 to see the Cardinals play the Braves. The first game found my dad, brother and I stuck in the bleachers in dead center field, more than 150 meters (440 feet) from the plate. It was like watching ants. We had tickets for the second game behind home plate, but almost at the top of the stadium. Back then, I could not handle heights as well as I can now, so I was too afraid to watch and just walked around the concourse while my brother braved those bad seats. We all agreed we wouldn’t miss Busch when it was torn down in late 2005.
Busch Stadium was one of the three worst MLB stadiums I’ve been to. The others were the Astrodome and the first Rangers stadium in Arlington. At least the Astrodome was air conditioned. I won’t go into just how awful the original Arlington Stadium was—at least now.
The best MLB stadium? Pittsburgh’s PNC Park, with Houston’s Minute Maid Park a close second. Kauffman in Kansas City is far better than the ones I went to in St. Louis, Arlington and Houston, but well behind the current one in Houston and Pittsburgh.
Speaking of awful, this hotel is AWFUL. Cannot stream through the television. I have been able to do that at EVERY OTHER HOTEL I have stayed at in the past year except one—the Courtyard which is connected to this Residence Inn. Not saying it is life or death, but it would be nice to have that option in 2021. Worse, Amazon Prime is not offered as a streaming option through the hotel; only Netflix, which I find terrible, and HBO, which I am not paying an arm and a leg for.
UPDATE 1: I have figured out the TV situation. I have to unplug the main HDMI cable from the back of the TV and plug in the cable for my device. Not as easy as I would like, but it gets the job done.
UPDATE 2: As usual, St. Louis is giving me self-inflicted indigestion. White Castle, Imo’s Pizza, sushi (I’m partial to tuna and salmon) and a few other things do that. But I love them too much not to eat it, considering I cannot get it in Kansas City, much less anywhere in western and central Kansas…although Whataburger will be in KC by November (thank you, Jesus, I mean Patrick Mahomes II).
UPDATE 3: The Bucks are one win away from their first NBA championship in 50 years. More on that in the next post.
UPDATE 4: The Giants and Cardinals have split so far this weekend: San Francisco 7-2 Friday and St. Louis 3-1 Saturday. The Brewers have won their first two in Cincinnati against the wretched Reds. I have hated the Reds ever since I started watching MLB over 35 years ago for (a) Marge Schott, the racist anti-Semitic C**T who owned them at the time and (b) glorifying degenerate gambler and child rapist Peter Edward Rose. Very sad, because I have grown to admire Johnny Bench from watching highlights.
Foots is alive…somehow
If there were any rumors regarding the demise of the author of the Foots Prints blog, they were well-founded, but not true.
Yes, I had surgery on my right foot exactly three months ago. No, it isn’t an excuse for going this long without posting.
The surgery came quickly. I was at my usual Monday morning treatment on 15 March with Kelly Miller at the wound care center in Hays when she called Dr. Kirk Potter to set up surgery. Eight days later, I was under the knife.
I almost changed my mind. The Saturday before surgery, I had a terrible experience at the White Castle in Columbia, and I left a message for wound care stating I would not have the surgery three days later.
Fortunately, it got much better when I got to the White Castle in Wentzville, 130 kilometers (80 miles) east of Columbia. I then decided to go through with the surgery.
I won’t be frequenting the White Castle in Columbia anymore. Not only did they lose my online order—which was confirmed by the company’s app—they told me to get lost and not come back. What the heck?
It was the first time I went under general anesthesia since I was in the hospital in late 2004 for pneumonia and a collapsed lung, a serious ailment which almost put me 2.3 meters (six feet) under less than two months after my 28th birthday.
Following the surgery, there was hyperbaric oxygen treatment in Hays and twice-daily IVs in Russell. The IVs were seven days a week; at least with the oxygen, I got the weekends off.
I had to interrupt oxygen treatment for two weeks when my left eardrum came close to rupturing. I had to have tubes placed in my ears to make sure they could handle the change in pressure in the chamber. They did, and my last treatment was 4 June.
Right now, things are looking up. I have an IV treatment this Tuesday (29 June) and another appointment with Dr. Potter 6 July. Then comes more routine medical appointments, Dr. Custer and Dr. Jones 14-15 July.
I was in hell—almost literally—last Wednesday.
I was planning to go to St. Louis for a few days to enjoy the things I can’t in Kansas City or points west: White Castle, Imo’s Pizza, shopping at Schnuck’s and Dierberg’s.
Everything was great until Columbia.
That’s when the air conditioner in my car dead.
I won’t repeat the obscenities I blurted.
I begged a Buick dealership in St. Louis to repair my car, but they said no, then accused me of screaming, which I wasn’t. I realize I have a loud voice and when I get accused of screaming, I feel worse than I already do.
By time this played out, I was at New Florence, 80 km (50 miles) west of St. Louis. I was sweating profusely by time I made it into town, and of course, I got lost trying to find the hotel.
The only good thing: White Castle.
As bad as Columbia to St. Louis was, St. Louis to Kansas City was worse.
Of course, there was a record heat wave over Missouri last week. The heat index above 40 C (104 F), and I sweated more than I have since my trip to Baton Rouge in June 2010.
I was LUCKY to get an appointment at Cable Dahmer, my regular service location in Kansas City, last Friday. Four hours and $1,500 later, life was back to normal, or at least as normal as it can be for me.
As I mentioned Tuesday evening, I’m staying on the Kansas side of the Kansas City metro for the first time in a long time, and in a Kansas hotel for the first time in a year and a half.
The reason? I had to be in Kansas to hold a Zoom conference with Crista at 08:00.
Last May, I got on a Zoom with Crista in St. Louis (Chesterfield to be exact), and at our next session, she told me I couldn’t be out of state to for a virtual session. Think it has something to do with Blue Cross/Blue Shield rules, although it could be High Plains Mental Heatlh’s rules.
This has forced me to make the long drive north of the Missouri River. It takes about 30 minutes, give or take, to reach my destinations.
Buffalo Wild Wings at Shoal Creek is an easy drive. Interstate 435 all the way past Arrowhead and Kaufman Stadiums to Shoal Creek Parkway.
The drive to Zona requires four highways….435 to 35 to 635 to 29. The problem with that drive is traffic is horrendous where I-635 ends and defaults to I-35 south. Metcalf Avenue is a better option.
Today I went to get my car washed in Leawood. I signed up for a monthly plan, and the lovely young lady behind the counter asked if I knew my license plate. I rattled it off without hesitation. She was impressed.
More bits of useless information…I can recall every license plate of every car I’ve driven. I also remember some my parents drove.
In Louisiana, when I began driving the 1989 Chevy Cavalier my dad purchased in July 1989, the license plate was 604 A 407.
Prior to 1995, Louisiana license plates featured six numerals, and in the middle was the letter of the state police troop issuing the license plate.
Bryan Lazare, the great sportswriter for The Times-Picyaune and later Rivals.com, found it strange my car had a license plate on a New Orleans-area car with an “A”.
A is the letter for the state police troop in Baton Rouge, which is on Highland Road near the East Baton Rouge/Ascension Parish line. That troop has responsibliity for East Baton Rouge, West Baton Rouge, Iberville, Pointe Coupee, West Feliciana, East Feliciana, Livington, Ascenion and the east (actually north) bank of St. James (the west/south bank of St. James is handled by Troop C near Houma).
Troop B is the New Orleans troop. The 1978 Oldsombile Custom Cruiser station wagon my family drove until July 198t6 had the plate 706 B 406.
It was the last Steinle car to have a “B” plate.
The 1980 Datsun 310–one of the two worst cars my dad has ever bought—had a plate of 254 X 414. There is no troop X; rather, it’s an overflow designation for trooops which ran out of letter plates (mostly in New Orleans, sometimes in Baton Rouge, never anywhere else) in a year.
The other bad car my dad bought was a 1971 Chevy Vega, which rusted. My dad bought the Vega after he was forced to trade in his 1969 Pontiac Firebird due to the wheel rims being stolen numerous times, and State Farm refusing to insure the car.
The Vega was traded in 1975 for a Mercedes, then for the station wagon three years later. Two kids will do that.
The wagon became a 1986 Oldsombile 88, license plate 252 N 928. “N” was a second designation for Troop B.
In case you’re curious, the other troops are:
B—Kenner (Jefferson, Orleans, St. Bernard, Plaquemines, St. Charles, part of St. John)
C—Houma (Assumption, Lafourche, Terrbonne, St. Mary, parts of St. James, St. John the Baptist)
D—Lake Charles (Calcasieu, Cameron, Jefferson Davis, Beauregard, Allen)
E—Alexandria (Rapides, Avoyelles, Grant, Vernon, Sabine, Winn, Natchitcohes, LaSalle, Catahoula, Concordia)
F—Monroe (Ouachita, Morehouse, East Carroll, West Carroll, Richland, Madison, Tensas, Franklin, Caldwell, Jackson, Lincoln, Union)
G—Shreveport (Caddo, Bossier, Webster, DeSoto, Red River, Claiborne, Bienville)
I—Lafayette (Lafayette, Iberia, St. Martin, St. Landry, Evangeline, Acadia)
L—Covington (St. Tammany, Washington, Tangipahoa, St. Helena)
In 1995, Louisiana changed its plates to three letters and three numbers. The Cavalier got plate EIP 887.
I don’t remember the plate number the Corsica I drove from 1998-2001 had.
In 2002, I took over my mother’s 1998 Olds 88, license plate LFV 472. The plate went to Kansas and was traded one month later for Kansas plate WDA 498.
On 4 October 2005, I crashed the Olds into a deer. Less than 48 hours later, the plate moved to the 2005 Pontiac Grand Prix I acquired in Hays.
WDA 498 lasted for the entire run of the Grand Prix, almost six years, and went to the 2010 Chevy Impala, which was my car through 2018. In 2012, the first Kansas plate was replaced by the current 545 FEH.
No wonder I’m good at trivia. 😜