Thursday, August 25, 2011

SoSG Road Trip: St. Louis (Part 1: Getting to St. Louis)

Monday morning, up early for the 250-mile drive from Kansas City to St. Louis. Armed with a powerful engine in our bright orange Dodge Charger, SoSG AC and I set off across the state of Missouri in search of more baseball.

The actual road part of the journey is (obviously, I suppose) what baseball road trips are all about. Which made this trip odd; this was one of the few baseball road trips I've taken in which there wasn't much driving involved. Part of this was due to the fact that this was a short, two-stop trip. And part of this was due to the fact that we were able to fly in and out pretty comfortably, which was a real luxury.

When I've done baseball trips in the past, we've stayed at some hotels at which I feared for my life, propping chair backs against doors and looking at bedspreads with designs that went out decades ago. Now that I'm older and a little more financially stable, it is a real luxury to be able to visit these ballparks of America (and Canada) while getting a good night's sleep, and being able to enjoy the city, restaurants and nightlife, without worry or too much financial concern.

I know I'm very fortunate--and on this trip, I couldn't help but feel really grateful and appreciative to not have to do this trip like a student staying in hostels and campgrounds. Not that there's anything wrong with that--I've done my time "roughing it" on baseball trips--but I'm older now, and that time has passed. SoSG AC and I talked about how lucky we were/are on the ride out to St. Louis. And honestly, getting the four hours of time just plugging across Interstate 70 made for some great conversation and overdue time to catch up.

We didn't have a lot of time to see some any major roadside attractions, opting to pass on "Nostalgiaville" (as AC put it, "Junk"), and only making one stop along the way for lunch.

With thunderstorms looming ahead, I had braced for weather difficulties in the drive. We did see some lightning in the distance, but by the time we reached the halfway point (Columbia, MO), it had started to clear up.

Almost at the halfway point: the water tower at Boonville, MO.

Remember that really nice family that sat next to us at the Royals game? Well, in the course of conversation, they had advised us to eat lunch at Shakespeare's Pizza, right outside the University of Missouri in Columbia, MO (more or less the halfway point of the trip). I didn't have any big desire to go hang out at Missouri, but I was okay with a Los Angeles native spending more than 4.8 seconds of interaction this time.

Low blow, I know.

Anyway, Shakespeare's Pizza was pretty damn good, two slices and a coke for $7. Bright orange washcloths for napkins, plastic reusable wide-mouthed cups for soda. Total college vibe, and as the backpack-wearing students trickled in from classes yonder, I couldn't help but notice how young these kids looked (or how old I've gotten). Pretty cool place, and really good pizza (I had a canadian bacon + pineapple slice as well as a vegetarian slice).

Shakespeare's Pizza, from the outside.

Inside the pizza joint.

Then we were off again, back on the road and headed straight into St. Louis.

Crossing the Missouri River (one of the many times!) on I-70.

Look, there's the arch!

We get it! You're coming up on the arch!

Enough with the arch pictures in the distance!

Finally! Busch Stadium, in sight! We have arrived!

Soon after driving by the stadium, we went and checked in at our hotel; it was about 2pm CT, which was plenty of time to get ready for the 7p game. Except, we had to get there much I'll explain in Part 2.

Next up: Pre-game festivities at Busch Stadium.

Earlier: Part 0, Quick Thoughts From The Cardinals Press Box


Fred's Brim said...

I like the rotting concrete overpass, abandoned lot and chain link fence next to the stadium. It gives the place a much-needed "east St. Louis" vibe.

Steve Sax said...

I think they're actually building something there--Ballpark Village or something? Here's the plan; it looks like Frank McCourt's wet dream.

Fred's Brim said...

Oh god that make me ill. I can't stand them so much

Jason said...

That fenced off field is actually the playing field (without the Astroturf) of the last Busch stadium. It had been converted to grass and was open to the public for games when I was last there four years ago.