Category Archives: Travel
I am staying at a hotel (Marriott St. Louis West) where rooms cost close to $200 a night, often more, and the room doesn’t have a microwave. It’s not the end of the world, but it would be nice, considering the upper end hotels I’ve lodged at recently (Marriott West Des Moines, Sheraton West Des Moines) have microwaves in the rooms.
There isn’t even a microwave in the concierge lounge. There is one in the lobby where you can buy snacks, but it’s a minor inconvenience to travel seven floors down to use it.
I’m using my points for this stay, so at least I’m not paying for it. I’m not saying I will never stay at this hotel again, because the rooms are nice and it’s in a quiet area with easy access to Interstate 64, but it would be helpful if I could heat up leftovers.
Today’s outstanding citizen award goes to an entitled old woman (I won’t dignify this female by calling her a lady).
I stopped briefly at a Schnuck’s grocery store on Olive Blvd. in Creve Coeur. This woman pulls into a spot right next to the store entrance which is reserved for expecting mothers. There is a stork on the sign and it is clearly marked.
This woman looked like her childbearing years ended around 1997, and she might have children old enough to have reached menopause.
She didn’t even have a handicapped permit. There was no hangtag on her rear view mirror, nor was there a handicapped license plate (Missouri has front and rear plates, unlike Kansas, so it’s much easier to figure it out). Heck, she didn’t have a walker or some other mobility device, and she wasn’t using one of the store carts inside.
If the woman would have parked there with a handicapped permit, I might have been a little ticked off, but nowhere near as ticked off as I was.
I crossed paths with her inside the store and wanted to speak my mind. I just muttered something under my breath and walked on.
She happened to exit the store as I was about to back out. I thought about rolling down my window and saying something, but nah.
I hope this woman is proud of herself.
People who park in designated handicapped places without the proper identification are lazy and beyond rude. What, you can’t walk a few extra feet?
Unfortunately, there is no regulation for expectant mother parking places. Some ugly dude could park there, and I’m sure there are thousands of dickheads who do it daily.
I have noticed more and more businesses reserving close-up parking spaces for first responders and military members.
I completely respect every person who chooses to enter the mlitary, chooses to practice medicine, chooses to become a police officer, a firefighter, a paramedic, or a nurse. These people have lives in their hands every day, and the stress must be unimaginable for a sheltered fatass like me who has a no-stress job.
On the other hand, first responders have been getting quite a few privileges since 9/11, and more since the COVID-19 pandemic. Maybe too many.
Then again, I probably shouldn’t rant about a parking space or two.
I’m here until Sunday morning. Going to be too nasty in Kansas to drive home tomorrow. I’ll be okay.
In less than 12 hours–tomorrow at 0916 Central Daylight Time–my 46th year of life will end.
The 46th year began in beautiful Denver. The night before, I ate Rocky Mountain Oysters for the first time at the Buckhorn Exchange, one of Denver’s oldest and best-known restaurants. It’s just south of the Broncos’ and Rockies’ stadiums on Interstate 25.
The oysters–fried bull testicles–were delicious, and so was the elk I ate there as well. I got an order of oysters to go, but unfortunately, housekeeping at the Marriott Westminster threw them away. It was a not the best way to start the 46th year.
I drove to Boulder the day after my birthday. Gorgeous drive on US 36. The oysters I ate at a pub there were just as good.
I haven’t been back to Colorado since. I want to get back. Badly. I’m craving Rocky Mountain oysters just as much as real oysters. To satisfy my craving for the real ones, I’m going to have to get back to Louisiana. Soon.
My other travels during my 46th year took me to Des Moines a few times (and once for a side trip to the Quad Cities), to Omaha a few (not for the College World Series, but it’s the only place I can find PIbb Zero these days), to Kansas City more than I can count (no St. Louis since July 2021), and most importantly, back to northwest Arkansas for the first time since 2003.
Des Moines has the only Joe’s Crab Shack within 500 miles. Whataburger has expanded in Kansas City, and now some locations have mobile ordering. I splurged on Whataburger in Arkansas. Plus Fayetteville has the only Whole Foods I have seen with self checkout. Hopefully the new one being built in Overland Park will have it.
I lost a toe in June. I had a very nasty infection pop up on Memorial Day, and it oozed foul-smelling pus. It was grotesque. Amputation was the only solution.
The worst part was staying in the shitty Russell hospital overnight, being stuck with an a-hole who wouldn’t shut the f**k up, who hogged the TV, and worse, being on the side of the room with a window in the midst of a heat wave. If I had to stay more than one night, it would have gotten ugly.
Once I got out of the hospital, it was easy. I only had to go for IV antibiotics for six weeks, no more than two hours per day. I’ve been on oral antibiotics since August, and things are looking better.
Compare that to last year when I had two months of twice daily IVs, not to mention eight weeks of hyperbaric oxygen.
Honestly, if the toe had been removed last year when I had my first surgery, this probably could have been avoided. Better late than never.
I’m going to make it fine without the second toe on my right foot. Now the key is not to lose another.
I see Dr. Custer in a week. I’m glad I won’t have to show her something gross. I have shown Dr. Jones, but not Crista.
I saw Bill, Chris Blair and Dan Canevari in Arkansas in April, along with longtime Razorback athletic administrator Kevin Trainor and Bob Holt from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.. First time seeing Cano since my ill-fated brief time working at Southeastern Louisiana University. He’s forgiven me for the shit I caused him in Hammond. I felt bad about it for a long time.
I haven’t seen Peggy since last October. I haven’t seen Caitlyn since November 2019. I haven’t seen Brenda since April 2018. And there are some I haven’t seen in much longer.
I hope this changes during my 47th year.
Another thing I need to change in my 47th year: going long stretches without posting.
I need to discipline myself to post more often, even if it’s something short and pithy. It would probably help in other areas of my life.
The next time I post, I will officially be 46 years old. Time flies.
ROGERS, Ark. — Let the record show at 14:35 on 13 April 2022, David Steinle is eating in the dining room of a fast-food establishment.
That was impossible throughout most of 2020 and 2021, thanks in large part to the COVID-19 pandemic, but also in part due to a lack of employees who decided they’d rather draw unemployment rather than go back to work.
During the pandemic, customers were banned from all interior areas of many restaurants. You could not go in to pick up an order, complain about your order being wrong, or use the restroom. You had to use the drive-thru, or if you were technologically advanced enough, the app to pick up curbside.
The app was wonderful if you craved McDonald’s. Never a problem.
Chick-Fil-A? Great. Sonic? Excellent. Wendy’s? A few bugs at first, but it got its act together.
If you wanted Arby’s, you were out of luck. Arby’s did not roll out online ordering until late last year, and only a fraction of their locations have it now.
I did not miss not being able to eat inside a fast food joint. Since moving to Kansas, I hardly ever did it when I was alone prior to the pandemic, unless I was going to plug in somewhere to get work done.
In Kansas City, most of my restaurant time has been spent in Buffalo Wild Wings and Minsky’s Pizza, which are conducive to eating at a table and working if I so choose.
On the road, I hardly eat at fast food places anymore. Why eat at McDonald’s when it’s in Russell? I may go to Chick-Fil-A occasionally, but I can get that in Salina on the way to and from Russell, and if I’m craving it that bad, it’s only a 75-minute drive.
Today is different. Today is special.
For the first time since July 2008, I have ventured to beautiful northwest Arkansas.
When you think of northwest Arkansas, three things usually come to mind: (a) the Ozarks; (b) Walmart, whose world headquarters are in Bentonville; and (c) the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, home of the Razorbacks.
I ventured to Fayetteville three times during my association with the LSU baseball team. The Razorbacks have a beautiful stadium, one which has been named the best in college baseball by numerous publciations on numerous occasions. When it opened in April 1996, it became the blueprint for almost every other collegiate stadium, including the new Alex Box Stadium at LSU, which came online in 2009.
Baum-Walker Stadium is one km (0.6 miles) south of the main campus. Since Arkansas was smart enough to build from scratch instead of retrofitting its stadium into an existing space, it would build something bigger and better. It did, and the stadium has been upgraded significantly since my last visit in 2003.
When I departed Russell Monday morning, I was determined my first food stop in Arkansas would be Whataburger.
Yes, I ate at Whataburger in Independence last December.
However, the three Whataburger locations in the Kansas City area have significant flaws.
First, the menu is very limited. Several items found in locations in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana are not available in Kansas and Missouri.
Second, online ordering does not work in the KC metro. The last thing I want to do is sit in a drive-thru line for a long time, or wait in a long line in the restaurant. I waited 50 minutes for my food in December.
Third, I refuse to support Patrick Mahomes II. He is the main proprietor of the KC locations. I have had it with Chiefs fans and media who cover the team treating him as our Lord and Savior.
I reached the boiling point the Tuesday before the AFC championship game as I was driving in Des Moines.
Former Chiefs center Tim Grunhard compared Mahomes to Michael Jordan.
Okay, Tim. Whatever you say.
I don’t like Jordan. However, to compare a quarterback who just completed his fourth season as an NFL starter to one of the most iconic athletes in the history of sport is ludicrous.
Then The Kansas City Star showed its true colors by running dozens of photos of Mahomes’ wedding last month.
For a team which has won one Super Bowl over the last 52 seasons, Chiefs fans have become quite entitled and spoiled. I guess the 2-14 seasons of 2008 and 2012 don’t exist anymore, and anything before Andy Reid’s hiring in 2013 was part of an alternate universe.
I ventured south on Interstate 49 today from Kansas City to northwest Arkansas. the sun broke through the clouds near Joplin, and it turned into a nice day. Not too hot, not too cold.
My first thought was go to the hotel in Fayetteville, then order from Whataburger there, since there is one just down the road.
When I crossed the state line, I decided I couldn’t wait for Whataburger.
I pulled off I-49, and the Whataburger app pointed me to one in Rogers. There is also a Walmart nearby, so I figured I could eat and shop before heading south.
I can tell you the last time I was inside a Whataburger: 16 April 2008, when my dad and I stopped in Shreveport driving from Baton Rouge to Oklahoma.
Wait, now I remember the last time I ate inside a fast food joint: October at the Russell Subway with Peggy.
However, I cannot remember the last time I did it alone.
Thank you for reading this pointless post. At least it shows I’m not six feet under.
Technology made a fool out of me yesterday.
The story begins two weeks before Christmas (11 December), when I purchased a new case for my iPhone directly from Apple at its store in Leawood. I had been using an OtterBox case, since it was the only one which came with a belt clip, but the belt clip kept coming off. I counted at least 491 times between my old iPhone Xs and the 13 Pro Max I acquired on 29 September.
With the new case (Marigold silicon), I purchased a small leather wallet which would hold a few cards and attached to the back of the phone. I didn’t know until I put the wallet on the phone it could be traced by the phone whenever you took it on and off. I found out when I returned to my hotel; I took the wallet off and the phone notified me the wallet had been removed at 8320 North Stoddard, the location of the Springhill Suites in Platte County where I was staying.
Yesterday, I began an eight-day journey away from Russell, beginning in Omaha. At first, I was going to go the long way through Kansas City and St. Joseph, but when I woke up, I decided to go the proper way from Salina to York via US 81. Good call.
I made a stop at a Walgreens to pick up a bunch of Ghirardelli chocolate for someone I’m going to meet in Omaha later this week. Everything seemed normal until I pulled up to the Hallmark store across 132nd Street.
The wallet was not on the back of my phone, and the phone told me the wallet had been last located at Walgreens. I frantically went back to Walgreens, but neither cashier said they had seen a wallet.
Oh God. Here I go again with losing things. I was panicked. Not only was my ATM card and American Express in that wallet, but so was my driver’s license. I could easily replace the financial products. The license? Not so much, considering I was out of state and it was the last week of December, when offices are either closed or barely staffed.
I searched through a trash bag and turned over everything on my front seat. I searched the bag I got from Walgreens. Nothing.
Fortunately, I discovered it on the floor behind the armrest. Holy crap.
Apple’s wallet technology is great. I am going to keep using it. Sometimes, it is too smart for its own good, and way too smart for its users. I’m going to try to find a belt clip for this case. It would be nice to have my right front pocket freed again, but if I have to keep carrying it in my pocket, it’s leaps and bounds better than any third-party. And I will never patronize OtterBox again.
I woke up at 0400. I didn’t go to bed that late (2245) and I was up at 0500 Monday. Again, more energy on the road than at home.
I’m staying at the Marriott in west Omaha near Interstate 680. The rooms have been renovated since I last stayed here in June 2012, and I was upgraded to a two-room suite. The only problem is the faucet barely runs. I get trying to conserve water, but it’s going a bit too far. The shower does not have a door nor a special floor, but the wood dries quickly and the water doesn’t get far past the curtain.
I’m on the first floor, which suits me just fine this time, even though I’m partial to higher floors. I’m going to be in a rush to get to a 0900 appointment Thursday, then on to Des Moines after that. Kind of wish I could stay here longer, but there’s something about Iowa now, including Joe’s Crab Shack in West Des Moines.
The closest Joe’s Crab Shack is in the Denver area, but (a) I didn’t realize it when I was there in October; (b) there’s one thing I crave in Denver, and it comes from a bull, not the sea; and (c) driving to Colorado is dicey in winter, since I don’t own chains for my tires (Colorado requires chains in snow, whereas states in the Plains make it optional or forbid it). Des Moines does fine, considering it’s not in Kansas City, St. Louis, Omaha, Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Wichita. The only thing which would be better would be an oyster bar like Louisiana, but the occasional crab legs do nicely.
Last night it was calamari from Cheesecake Factory, which is the closest restaurant to the Marriott. I watched the Saints lay an egg against the Dolphins, to be expected staring a quarterback (Ian Book) who probably has no business starting an NFL game.
It’s overcast this morning, befitting the feeling of football fans from Scottsbluff to Omaha. The Cornhuskers went 3-9 in 2021, their worst record since 1961, the year before Bob Devaney arrived and built Nebraska into a perennial power.
Saturday happens to be the 50th anniversary of Nebraska’s 38-6 demolition of Alabama in the Orange Bowl which clinched the Cornhuskers’ second consecutive Associated Press national championship. Nebraska went 13-0 in 1971, with its other signature win coming on Thanksgiving when it beat Oklahoma 35-31 in Norman in what is considered by some to be the greatest college football game ever played. I don’t know if I’d rank it first, but I’d have to put it in the top three with Texas-Arkansas in 1969 and Notre Dame-Michigan State in 1966. (As for games I actually witnessed, either on TV or in person, I can only think of
The 1971 Huskers were generally considered Nebraska’s greatest team until those with very short-term memory began putting the 1995 Huskers ahead.
I have one word for those who think 1995 was better than 1971: BULLSHIT. (pardon my French)
Nebraska beat the teams which finished 2-3-4 in the final AP poll: Oklahoma, Colorado and Alabama. It dominated the Buffaloes in Lincoln and mauled the Crimson Tide as mentioned previously. The Huskers could not hold two 11-point leads vs. Oklahoma, but the Sooners were at home and weren’t half bad. Heck, even Iowa State went 7-4 and played LSU in the Sun Bowl.
The 1995 Huskers had no real competition. Yes, the Big Eight had four teams finish in the final AP top ten, but the three other than Nebraska–Colorado, Kansas and Kansas State–would not have stacked up to the Sooners, Buffaloes and Tide of 1971.
Nebraska mauled Michigan State 50-10 in East Lansing in the second game of 1995, but the Spartans were trying to find their way under their new coach. Nobody could have predicted Nick Saban would have seven national championships and Nebraska none between 1998 and 2020. 0
As for the rest of the Big Eight in 1995, Oklahoma was listing through its first and last season under Howard Schnellenberger. Oklahoma State was digging out of the devastation of severe probation under a new coach. Missouri hadn’t had a winning season since 1983 and was still bitching about the fifth down vs. Colorado from five years prior. Iowa State was a hot mess, which it had been since Earle Bruce left the Cyclones in early 1979 to replace Woody Hayes.
It’s 3 Celsius (37 F) outside. Balmy for late December in Nebraska. Global warming sucks.
So much for avoiding Outback Steakhouse. I got takeout last night, but no steak. Lobster tails and grilled shrimp. Unfortunately, the shrimp was not on a bed of garlic toast like I’m accustomed to, and the mixed veggies was only broccoli. Can’t be perfect.
Today, I made the 30 km (18 mile) trip northwest from my hotel to Boulder. There is a bar just off US 36, the highway connecting the western Denver suburbs to Boulder, whichwa also serves Rocky Mountain Oysters.
Great call. Oysters were excellent. I’m getting a second order to go. I am also going to hang around Boulder, going to Safeway just down the street and then to the University of Colorado campus to see Folsom Field and Coors Events Center.
I made another reservation at the Buckhorn Exchange tonight, but I’m guessing I will either cancel or only order takeout. I’m not in the mood for another $127 meal ($97 plus a hefty tip; I make sure the ladies are taken care of, and Andrea deserved extra for suggesting the elk/bison combination), as tempting as it sounds. Worse is the traffic from Westminster to downtown; I couldn’t go last night because (a) I had a prior engagement from 1700 to 1900, and (b) the Avalanche played the Blackhawks at Ball Arena (formerly Pepsi Center) in their NHL opener last night. No way I wanted to fight Interstate 25, which is a parking lot much of the time between rush hour and the four sports teams playing at facilities on the highway.
Back to Russell tomorrow. Will be so weird going east to get home, plus the time change will get me.
I’m convinced it’s easier to go from Central to Eastern or Mountain to Central, then come back home than the other way around. I went from Central to Eastern in April 2017 on my trip to Kentucky. I was grateful to get that hour back on the long drive from Lexington to Kansas City. If I leave the hotel at 1200, I figure I’m back at 1830 in Russell.
One week ago, I was in another state for the first time.
Okay, it was not my first time in Iowa, but it was the first time I stopped in Iowa. Prior to last Tuesday, when I drove north on I-35 from northeast Kansas City to West Des Moines, the only times I had been in the Hawkeye State was on I-29 between Kansas City and Omaha.
One time going from Omaha to KC, I bypassed Iowa completely, driving south on US 75, then taking US 136 over the Missouri River at the Nebraska-Missouri state line.
I got to experience a quirky Iowa law during my five days there.
In 1979, Iowa adopted a law which requires consumers to place a nickel deposit on bottled and canned beverages. The deposit can be recovered by returning the containers to a recycling center. They’re not hard to find in Des Moines, Council Bluffs, Cedar Rapids and the Quad Cities (Davenport and Bettendorf), but in rural areas, many counties don’t have places to recycle.
I’m old enough to remember a small food store near my residence in New Orleans which placed deposits on glass bottles, but when plastic replaced glass, there was no need for it.
Iowa is one of a few states with a “bottle bill”, and the only one between the Continental Divide and Mississippi River. I wonder if many Council Bluffs residents buy drinks in Nebraska, or those in the Quad Cities go into Illinois, to avoid the deposit.
It would be akin to Wyandotte and Johnson County residents in Kansas going into Missouri (or Metro East in Illinois going to St. Louis) to buy cancer sticks, because Missouri refuses to tax cancer sticks at a reasonable rate (17 cents? That was unreasonably low in 1971, much less 2021).
I was lucky to receive a great rate for the lovely Sheraton in West Des Moines. I had a two-room suite at a lower price than it usually is for a standard room, and it was only seven steps from the elevator to the door.
It is one of the few hotels I’ve lodged where the rooms all overlook an atrium. There are two glass elevators on the east side of the hotel, and that creates a lot of problems when there is a large number of guests, as it was when I was trying to check out Sunday morning.
Check out was hell. Luggage carts were being hoarded by elderly guests, and elevators were jammed. I have always hated riding elevators with strangers, but I have hated it exponentially more since COVID. I had to be a jerk during one ride down, shutting the door on three different floors (from the seventh) to avoid others. Lucky for me, the final ride down was alone, and I was on my way back.
There was one jerk from Kossmuth County who parked his Equinox so far right his passenger side tires were one meter over the yellow line. JERK.
I didn’t see the Iowa State Capitol. I didn’t venture to Ames to see Iowa State. I didn’t drive to Clear Lake to see the location of the plane carsh that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. (The Big Bopper) Richardson. I didn’t venture east on I-80 to see the world’s largest truck stop, somewhere between Iowa City and the Quad Citites.
No, my long outing was to Omaha of all places to buy ten cases of Pibb Zero (formerly Diet Mr. Pibb). The addition of Interstate 880 allows motorists to bypass Council Bluffs and downtown Omaha, something I was grateful for.
I was also grateful for Kum & Go and their rib patty sandwiches, which are superior to QuikTrip.
I may be back in Iowa sooner rather than later.
The patty melt at the Boulder bar was awesome. Now I have my Mountain Oysters for tonight. I still crave the kinds you find in the ocean. I need to get back to Louisiana. Soon.
Call me lazy, disinterested, whatever you will. I deserve those epithets for going almost three months without writing something, anything.
The last time I posted was 20 July, the night the Bucks won their first NBA championship in 50 years.
Today, Milwaukee is in mourning. The Brewers were ousted from the National League Division Series in four games by the Braves, the team which occupied that city from 1953-65.
Milwaukee’s offense was putrid, which negated possibly the best pitching staff in the franchise’s 53 seasons (counting the first as the Seattle Pilots).
That was the reverse of 1982, when “Harvey’s Wallbangers” terrorized American League pitching, winning the pennant and blowing the last two games of the World Series to the Cardinals.
My first trip to Colorado was going great…then it wasn’t.
I returned to my room this afternoon and discovered the order of Rocky Mountain Oysters I got to go from the Buckhorn Exchange, the oldest and most famous restaurant in Denver and possible all of Colorado, were gone.
Housekeeping at the Marriott Westminster threw them away.
First, I had no idea housekeeping was coming into the room. I have stayed in at least 15 different Marriott properties in Kansas City, St. Louis, Wichita and other locales, and only once or twice did housekeeping come in, and that was only after I had been at the hotel for three days.
Second, housekeeping is not supposed to touch anything in the room except dirty towels on the bathroom floor.
I made sure the front desk realized it. I would settle for two orders of oysters (not the kind I inhaled in Louisiana). I thought about asking for having at least one night of my stay comped, but I am not that greedy.
The good news was I did get to eat oysters last night at the Buckhorn, as well as elk and bison. I love beef, but I told Andrea, the lovely waitress who took care of me, that I can eat beef anywhere, and it was time to try something different. Great move.
I do well grilling steaks on my George Foreman grill in Russell, just as long as I take them off the grill after three minutes. I can’t remember the last time I ate a restaurant steak. Outback used to be my go-to- in Kansas City and Wichita, and before that, Baton Rouge, but not now. Ruth’s Chris is in Denver, but I’m more than halfway to Boulder, and both locations are a good drive.
Gas is EXPENSIVE in Denver.
When I bought gas this morning, the price listed on the marquee in front of the station was $3.40.
Unfortunately, that was for 85 octane, which is okay in higher elevations, but in almost all of Kansas (except Goodland and a few places which border Colorado), it’s no go.
The 87 octane cost $3.75 a gallon, making it the most expensive fill-up since 2008, when gas was north of $4 a gallon.
Sorry for burying the lead, but I turned 45 at 08:16 MDT (09:16 CDT). I figured I’ve had too many birthdays in Kansas City and it was time for something different.
I was born in the same hospital in the same year as Reese Witherspoon and Peyton Manning. I feel like apologizing to them, not to mention Archie and Olivia Manning, for tarnishing the hospital’s good name.
Last week, I spent time in another state for the first time. More on that later. I promise it won’t be three months.
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.
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.
The first half of two weeks (almost) in Kansas City ends tomorrow morning. I have to return to Russell to pick up another week’s worth of prescription meds, go to an appointment Monday in Hays, and get clean clothes. I return to the big city by Monday night.
Friday was a major bust. Larry was too busy to meet at Minsky’s for lunch; besides, I had another case of indigestion, and I woke up very late. Must have taken two Seroquel by accident. I had enough energy to go to Overland Park and pick up an Amazon shipment at Whole Foods, then go to Best Buy to replace the keyboard I bought last week in Topeka, which malfunctioned after eight days. I bought the two-year warranty, so it didn’t cost anything.
When I got back to the room, I was spent. I ordered in, watched the new Bunk’d, then aimlessly sat in the chair at the desk watching TV and typing up work things.
Today I’m back at Buffalo Wild Wings Shoal Creek for the second time in three days. I’m seriously considering not coming back. It is very, very painful right now.
I am going to stop staying at that SpringHill Suites on I-435 across the highway from Worlds of Fun, probably for the rest of this year.
The biggest problem is the location. I-435 in that area is under severe construction over the Missouri River. When I departed the hotel just before noon, southbound traffic was backed up to the exit at Parvin Road/48th Street and slow all the way to the river, and probably south of it too.
If I want to go back into Kansas, or even to Columbia, this is problematic. I found a way around it when I went to Overland Park and Leawood Wednesday and Friday, but it is a pain in the rear. Going north on I-435 isn’t as bad, but southbound stinks. Really stinks. I’ve already devised a detour tomorrow morning.
The television is antiquated compared to some other Marriott properties, notably the SpringHill Suites in Leawood—where I’ve stayed twice this year. The Leawood hotel now has Chromecast, where I can cast any app, except AppleTV, to the TV from one of my devices and watch. The same thing is also available at an older property, the Courtyard in St. Louis County off I-270 in the Westport area.
I purchased a Chromecast unit for my basement TV. Love it. Going to install it for my parents in the living room soon, and maybe in my mother’s bedroom.
I decided Wednesday I couldn’t live without Chromecast so I bought one to carry around with me and plug in to the TV at the hotels without it, which includes the TownePlace Briarcliff, where my next stay is. Love the hotel, but the TV is a little outdated, plus it hangs from the wall, which means I’ll have to run an extension cord. That’s life.
I want to go to Columbia and/or St. Louis (actually, Wentzville will suffice) this week. Tuesday is out because of my appointment, and Wednesday would have to wait until I’m done with work. Then there’s Larry’s plans. I need White Castle right now. I’m hurting. Badly.
My 44th year of existence ended three days after the LSU-Missouri football game in Columbia.
Now that I’ve seen LSU and Mizzou play since, the result—a 45-41 victory for the Tigers in Black—was not surprising in the least. The Bayou Bengals’ defense has struggled mightily, and Mizzou has shown enough on both sides of the ball to stay competitive in its first season under Eli Drinkwitz.
LSU was beyond dreadful in losing 48-11 at Auburn two weeks ago. It was Auburn’s largest margin against LSU since the series began over a century ago. The Bayou Bengals were supposed to host Alabama Saturday, but an outbreak of COVID-19 at LSU forced the game to be postponed.
Alabama was favored by 28 points just before the game went off the board at the sports books. This means the “sharps” think Alabama would have won by 31, since the home team gets three points for home field.
How the mighty have fallen. But that’s college football.
Mizzou is also idle this week. The Tigers were slated to host Georgia, but Columbia has been hit hard again by COVID. CoMo and Boone County have been hot spots in the Show-Me State, and it’s not hard to see why: large population, small geographical footprint, flagship university.
Texas A&M-Tennessee and Auburn-Mississippi State were also victims of COVID in the SEC, while Ohio State at Maryland was cancelled and will not be made up. Nothing surprises me anymore.
The first month of my 45th year has been quite crazy. An incident in the last 24 hours demonstrates why.
Last night at 23:15, I went to the garage, hoping to load some things into my car so I could leave early for Kansas City.
Much to my shock, the Buick was locked.
I never lock my car when I’m parked in the garage, but my mother locked it for some reason when she came home from the American Legion post last night.
I have two sets of keys, but I carry both sets. This is for hot weather, so I can dart inside somewhere and leave the A/C running. It also comes in handy when it’s bitterly cold, although I haven’t had to start the Buick on a day when the temperature was below minus-15 Celsius (10 Fahrenheit).
There was nothing I could do late last night (or in the first hour of this morning), so I tried to sleep as best I could—not well—before getting AAA on the horn to unlock the car.
I put in the service call through the app at 8:45.
Ten minutes later, my car was unlocked, but not because AAA arrived in record time.
My dad found a gray key to a GM vehicle in a desk drawer in the kitchen. I thought it was to my old Impala, but I figured it would not hurt to try.
Turn the key…OPEN! Phew.
The trouble with my Buick has been a recurring theme of the last month.
The “Service Engine Light” had been on constantly since mid-September, even though I thought I had it fixed then. Three other notices kept coming on “gas cap loose”, “engine oil low” and “low tire pressure”.
Before I could get any of that taken care of, I had another emergency with my grandfather’s old ride.
The latch to the trunk broke in the parking lot of the Schnucks in Lake St. Louis. What was stunning about this is I went to Dierberg’s in Wentzville less than an hour before that, and the trunk closed just fine.
Since it’s me, the latch would have to break while the trunk was stuffed. I somehow got everything inside the car then had to drive 30 minutes through St. Charles County with the trunk flapping before reaching Lou Fusz Buick on Page Avenue in Maryland Heights.
The latch was not available from GM, so I had to leave the Buick in St. Louis that weekend and drive a rental back to Russell. The rental was a Toyota Corolla, a fine car, but too small for yours truly. I hit my head every time I entered and exited, and could not use my seat cushion, since my scalp was butting up against the roof.
I made an intemperate remark while driving around St. Louis about how I felt people who drive small cars are clueless. I should have said people who can afford large cars yet drive small ones are clueless. Sometimes, a person can only afford a small one. Also, most Americans are not grossly overweight like me.
The good thing about the second trip to St. Louis was discovering Imo’s Pizza.
Imo’s Pizza has been a St. Louis institution since Lou Brock and Bob Gibson were starring for the baseball Cardinals. I can see why.
The pizza is served on a crispy cracker-style crust. Topping go all the way to the edge. And the slices are small enough to where intake is easily managed.
I devoured three Imo’s pizzas in the space of a week during my travels to St. Louis—two after the trunk latch broke, and a third to return the rental after the Buick was fixed.
I also had a lot of White Castle. Good stuff, but I may need a break. Lot of indigestion.
The next to last day of October was mostly spent at Cable Dahmer Buick. I waited seven and a half hours to see if the engine light and other warnings could be fixed.
After less than 500 km of driving, the service engine and loose gas cap warnings were back in full force. I made another trip to Kansas City last week. So far, the lights are staying off.
I also have discovered Springfield. More on that in another post.
I love you Caitlyn!