Tonights very late Memphis post is brought to you by Russian River’s Pliny the Elder. When your belly is feeling whiny, feed it a Pliney!

Anticipating what was ‘googled’ as 1 of the longest drives of the trip was up early relatively early at 6:30 and for only the 2nd time on this trip indulged in the free complimentary breakfast. But only after being assured the eggs weren’t powered. Factoring in the long drive and anticipating the turbulence in my stomach from the roadside BBQ the night before hoped the eggs would lesson the gastrological blow.

Was outside into a beautiful Texas morning, in the car, and off by 7. There was something equally comforting as blinding that in my 3rd day of heading east I would be driving nearly directly into the sun. The drive again was incident free and it hasn’t gone unappreciated how lucky I’ve been. I passed an accident in Western Arizona where a tractor trailer was turned over on it’s side in the right hand + shoulder, with a much smaller car smashed into [compressed like an accordion] the back with the roof cut out. The car looked to be a Mini or Fiat. Not as small as a Smart but not as big as a midsize and no longer a functioning motor vehicle. This is why Californians [for the most part] are terrible drivers. As a matter of fact saw a lot of the same traits in Arizonans too. Maybe their transplants, maybe it’s a regional residue from the long straight sometimes overpacked roads?

Having left as early as I did, on a relatively straight shot, on a path with fewer construction zones than I’d experienced on so many previous drives made up a little time. Even though having tempted fate with a little too much coffee/water and a couple of subsequent stops actually beat Google estimation by about an hour. I believe this was in large part due to so many of the other vagabonds out there speeding around who I was able to tag along behind. At safe distances of course.

The drive through eastern Arkansas brought with it a familiar and comforting landscape. There were so many more trees than I’d seen in days. Trees and rolling hills. Comforting in a way I was very familiar with as I’ve spent a 1/4 of my life in Virginia the the DC area there is a certain landscape I’d come to recognize as home. And though this was still very far from Northern Virginia this was so very more familiar to me than so much before and the pines of North Carolina I would eventually end up in. It was crossing the Mississippi [passing by The Pyramid] where I was welcomed into Tennessee. I’m pretty sure this doesn’t happen to often where borders are drawn over bodies of water and if I remember correctly there is a place over the Potomac river where you are welcomed into Virginia — perhaps prematurely.

My stay in Memphis would mark the 1st time I’d made reservations before arriving anywhere (and the 1st & ONLY time I locked myself out of my room). I stayed at the DoubleTree Hilton Downtown, precisely because of it’s proximity to Beale St. and coincidentally across the street from Memphis’ minor league baseball team the Redbirds. An obvious St. Louis Cards triple A team. I thought it would pretty cool to wind down the trip at the RedBirds when I’d in part began it at the Cards. The DoubleTree people were fantastic, the hotel appeared especially nice at first though the room was a little disappointing. Large? Mega large. Unnecessarily large given the vast amount of wasted space in both the bathroom and absence of a closet. I’ll not dwell on it, only point out that the shower was a little moldy and the sliding handicapped shower head would’t stick and only fit for someone 3-4.5ft. tall. I brewed an afternoon cup, flipped open the MacBook and hastily looked for BBQ, beer and brews. Wanting to waste as little time as possible quickly settled on reputable BBQ right on Beale Street. Found it on a map vs. a ‘best of’ list and it was fantastic. The idea that these ribs were on a either of the couple of lists I’d looked over speaks deafening volumes for the ones that did. Both perfectly cooked and sensationally sauced without being the overly-sticky-sweet that so quickly turns meat into a simple vehicle for GMOHFCS-sugar-flavored poison. Beale City Cafe on the corner of Beale and 2nd. Old, inviting, a little divey, close and delicious. The staff was great and fun. Mostly tourists but a few locals. Much to my disappointment so very many of the regionally favored bbq joints are in the burbs. It makes perfect sense but hadn’t occurred to me until my nice-enough though disappointing platter in KC.

Afterwards went for a customary walk to help with the settling of the meat — and fantastic cole slaw I should add. Figure-eighting around the little south eastern edge of the downtown, by the Gibson factory (yay! I didn’t know I was so close) by the stadium where their basketball team (Grizzlies) play and found myself on a less inhabited strip with a few bars, 1 seemingly popular restaurant and a closed liquor store. Closed? On my walk back it was suggested by a drunk local that I was in the wrong part of town. Huh, wha? A couple of empty, generic bars, 1 restaurant full of white people and a half full parking lot is the wrong part of town? Shhhhhhiiiiiiiiiiiii Memphis drunky you don’t know where the fuck I’m from does yous?  

It was Sunday night (& everyone as I’d come to find out was at the RedBirds game) I lowered my expectations for Beale St. I wasn’t throwing in the bar towel but had lowered them enough that eventually found I’d be happily surprised. My first stop was at a filthy, filthy dive the Beale Street Tap Room. It was appropriately disgusting and while had plenty of taps had few people. It also had ashtrays which I hadn’t seen in a bar in a long time. The smell was familiar and a little sickening but not enough I wouldn’t have a pint. Had a forgettable Bridge Port IPA, got a recommendation Star Trek geek bartender for Rum Boogie’s down the street, shared a story how I’d almost ran down Patrick Stewart when running across 48th av & split. Rum Boogie’s was empty but the band was filling it full of blues. Gracie Curan was pretty great and her guitarist a badass a bit himself. The bar is pretty amazing in that it’s a de facto guitar museum hanging over 360 guitars, all donated by the musicians including everyone. Caught the end of their set and being it was getting late assumed (correctly) my best bet would be BBKings. I was greeted by a wicked cover of Purple Rain. I suppose it goes w/out saying it was a cover. I’d love nothing more than to be writing how I caught Prince swinging by BBKings but, no. BBKing’s Blues Club All-Star Band was pretty badass. Sure by the end of the night it looked like a some generic scene off a cruise ship — 2 dozen retired white hairs in golf shits and wallpaper patterned dresses complimented by the group of college girls seemingly being led by their cheerleading leader directing them on how to flop around like and injured bird — the band was TIGHT.  

I sprung out of bed the following day hoping to make it to the Gibson Factory for a tour before it heated up. But between the aforementioned room incident and some issue finding my car — which I needed my hat out of — would have to skip the 11 and do the 12. This particular block-sized Gibson factory only produces 2 guitars. A hollow body electric Les Paul and the GS-335 otherwise know affectionately to the world as BBKIng’s Lucille.

It’s a giant over-romanticized wood shop. Which I LOVED and suspect the geekdom was oozing out of my boyish smile. The tour was a little sloppy as the guide spoke through a mic and small speaker (in a failed attempt to speak over the machinery) for 1/2 of it and it’s very tough to hear. A portable battery operated radio and earbuds would be the way to go. A nice variety of tourists including a larger English family — the sons whom I’d seen posing in front of and then frequenting the city Hooters the night before. After the tour desperately beat down the urge to buy a guitar and headed back to the hotel to change. You see up to this point had spent the overwhelming majority of my time — during the day — in a AC’d car. Or in the upper midwest during a cool spell, or in Yosemite where I woke 1 morning to find it 21°, or on the very humid-less west coast where the sun was strong but it was not hot. This day however the southern summer would lace up it's worn, leathery dog-days and kick me right in the swamp-butt with Mississippi-humidity 94°. Changed, doubled-checked where Sun Studios was, along with what I came to find out was a Nationally ranked zoo and headed out. Sun Studios is a relatively brief mile. Through a primarily auto-repair district and across the street from a growing community college. I bought a ticket for the 3:30 tour, traded it for a 5:30 thinking I was going to skip down the street to the zoo and when it was pointed out to me the zoo was a 20 min drive and not a 20 min walk opted for the 3:30. And have to believe it was fate as our tour guide was sensational. Part of the building which for years had been several different restaurants is now owned by Sun and acts as the lobby/gift shop plastered in pictures and memorabilia. When ready we gathered in the corner and headed upstairs to what I believe was once an apartment or 2 where musicians and whoever else would stay. It is now a glass-encased museum briefly detailing the birth of rock’n roll and narrated by great people — passionate about the studio, the music, the history and their city. The cases were full of original pressing and rare photos and signatures and recording agreements and throughout that narration were snippets of all the relevant music and a rescued radio studio broadcast booth once manned by Dewey Philips. We were then led back downstairs to the still working actually nearly entirely authentic/original recording studio. Being a music lover, having began my trip at the Rock ’n Roll HOF couldn’t help but feel the overwhelming geekdom pummel me about the head & face. Elvis, Jerry Lee, Johnny Cash and on, and on and on were all there making music and sometimes world-cultural history. Elvis’ first recording. Right freaking there. Go see this.

Afterwards walked and walked a relatively unremarkable Downtown area. Truth be told it was hot and so didn’t do it the justice I’d otherwise might’ve detailing some of the architecture. When I got too hot I hit the 2nd Flying Saucer Tap House on my trip. The A/C was crushing and the tap list formidable. I flirted with a couple of the bartenders, got a dinner recommendation and headed back to the hotel to shower. Fresh and changed didn’t hit another BBQ and instead a relatively new, increasingly popular ‘Local Gastropub’, where they’re doing their best version of Memphis farm > table and it was great. Conversely chose meat. A very fresh and peppery boar sausage on a pile of chipotle, potato, cheesy puree which I couldn’t have eaten a pillow sack of. During dinner a local character who absolutely could’ve stood in for Gene Hackman sauntered in and started chatting me up about the culture. He bought me a stiff drink and I listened a bit longer about this father’s regional automotive empire and split. It was on my way back to Beale I stuck my head into Flying Saucer to thank the lovely young bartender who’d given me the recommendation. Upon finding her seaming shock and happiness to see me back stuck around for a couple.

I was growing tired, didn’t have the greatest expectations for Beale but was determined not to squander the opportunity for a little more music (plus the next days drive was short) so waddled over to BBKings firstly where the band was doing a poor cover of Brickhouse. Not at all what I was in the mood for or ever really in the mood for. So stuck my head into the local Karaoke bar. Yah I know but skipped the parts about the other bars closing earlier than normal and NOTHING else going on. The karaoke bar was packed, the list of wishful singers was long and varied and for reasons I can’t go into it felt like it was where I should be. To make this short story shorter, the fat black women started lining up to buy me shots and hopefully make me their next alimony payment. I ran back to the hotel.

I’m posting the Graceland trip separately as it deserves so. Apologies for delivering these late but have been catching up with family and exhausted.


743ish miles
4 states!
2nd Flying Saucer (how is it these haven’t punctured NYC yet?)
1 Mississippi River
1 Beale St.
1 Great American Pyramid (yup, Memphis has a pyramid)
1 Graceland

California Drivers

This entry is brought to you by The Big Texan Steak Ranch where the steaks are high. 72oz high.


It occurred to me that when I mentioned writing separately about how abysmal the Californians are at operating their motor vehicles that I should write entire about who the driving has been as it’s obviously been a tremendous part of this expedition. I’ve more often than not spent more time driving than I would sleeping later that night. Tomorrow as a matter of fact may be one of those days.

I’ll begin as I hinted with Californians as I could not escape them today, even as I sped east. It hadn’t immediately occurred to me Friday night as I turned back onto the 5 and headed into Los Angeles just how terrible these people were at driving and understand how this may sound coming from a life long east-coaster who grew up driving in some of the worst traffic in and around some of the worst traffic in the world. DC and NYC and it all in between which includes Marylanders which I will firmly state might be the worst drivers in the country. The level of absent mindedness I’ve seen these people display would challenge the greatest minds in all of human history. So Californians at the very least aren’t that bad. And in fact are much, much better than the Mary’s in that they operate very nearly in opposite in that they’re too passive and maybe burdened by being too safe and not instinctual enough. Those that don’t delusionally believe that they are Tokyo-drifting race car drivers — which in their defense may simply have had enough and pick apart their fellow Californian motorists.

Californians speed up on everyones ass like so very many other people and then don’t pass when you get out of their way. They poke unaware that when you got over you pulled behind a tractor trailer that was traveling 10mph slower forcing you to have to further slow and then speed back up. A tremendous waste of energy when traveling great distances. So when having to deal with 2.5 days of them understand how I came to feel this way.

Californians also fail the predict/see/anticipate the most remedial of [primarily highway] travel situations. For instance when you are behind a tractor trailer it will be traveling 10mph slower than everyone else — which may not be the case as much on the east coast as it is over here where more often than not highways direct trucks to travel slower and only use the left hand lane when absolutely necessary. Have on a couple of trips seen TT’s use the extra wide shoulder when carrying heavier loads. This doesn’t stop Californians from driving right up on their asses. Refusing to remember the 100’s or 1000’s of times they’ve been behind a TT before they don’t bother accelerating when the opportunity provides itself, sliding over into another lane maintaining the speed of the cars before and behind them and carrying forth until they’ve passed the TT. This isn’t any different with any slower vehicle. It clearly displays an inability to predict and act proactively instead reactionary. This slows and boggs down progress. It requires behaivng like a cockroach rather than a large cat.

The drive today was overwhelming pleasant. While the land seemingly reaching forever it was a different landscape in that there was GREEN! Things grown eastern Arizona and most definitely in New Mexico which was surprisingly beautiful. The northern part anyway. It was rolling, had mountains, lots of green, yellow wildflowers and giant boulders all over through one stretch. Really beautiful land. It was however littered with more billboards than, without hesitation, have seen in any 1 drive before ever and maybe in many east coast drives compiled.

I saw nothing in Amarillo aside of the hotel and the Rudy’s [regrettable] BBQ restaurant. I’m not anticipating being back.

Am growing tired so will wrap this up.

3 states
600ish miles
5 roadside casinos
1 Petrified Forest
1 Glider Museum
1 Mesalands Museum
1 Knife City
1 Potter County (my mothers maiden name)

More billboards than I could keep count



CA was primarily desert land along with the western part of AZ. Great big giants pieces of brown rock and mud, which at one time hit the 114° mark in the little town of Needles.

As the sun went down I began to feel the urge to capture it which sent me to screaming, rock-spitting stops in the median where I imagined were created for construction equipment and smokey’s to lay in wait. Immediately after the sun went down the moon began coming up. A moon in which, in it’s oblong orbit was approaching the Earth closer than it does normally; a Supermoon. And it was spectacular.

I made it into town roughly on time spent about a 1/2 hour looking for a room and ended up at the respectable Highland Country Inn, a 10min-ish walk to Historic/Southside Historic Downtowns. Quickly sink-showered and hit the street. Circled around a bit and realizing that most of the bars/restaurants had already begun shuffling around their dining rooms — as I assumed to make room for dancing — dipped into a sports bar for fish tacos. That were awful. But having eaten little-nothing yesterday it would suffice. Then darted across the historic Route 66 to Lumbaryard brewery for a unremarkable, relatively tasteless IPA. Growing quickly tired of this bland brew, and quickly tired decided the moment everyone rushed out of the bar area to the also cleared dining room to line dance that it was time to leave.

Line dancing is a miserable excuse of human interaction. Or should I say miserable excuse to avoid real, meaningful human interaction. Stumbling around like a grade-schooler being taught pre-Civil War dances occasionally clapping. Super. Congratufreakinglations. You avoided conversation and getting to know someone, instead laughing about how you might’ve stepped on someone else’s toes or clapped off-beat like super-whitey. Sigh.

And so beat-feet back to the room for the inevitably daunting and predictably frustrating realization that between having put together my original list of stops, and all the great suggestions and ideas along the way that I wasn’t going to be able to do and see everything I’d hoped.

The couple of drives that will get me back to the East Coast on time will be long. I need to pound coffee and make a decision quickly.


Santa Monica / LA

Santa Monica / LA

My eyes popped open Thursday morning at 630, which has happened a few times and has become a problem. A ‘car-lag’ of sorts which I believed to have been overcoming but then moved from mountain to pacific and maybe required readjusting to that. I presumed I’d gradually adjust to the time slippages but wonder if it coupled with the driving/sitting/lack of regular exercise has thrown me off a bit.

Though have to believe San Francisco has lots of great things to offer I didn’t get to experience them and was very excited about getting out of there and staring my coastal 101 trip. I darted out of the city and headed to Santa Cruz where I would then do a short stretch of beach stuff (1 of the pics I posted yesterday) before the 101 would divert, moving east into more rural/slower areas. When it moved back west to the coast began the climbing and winding that I was imagining and it was magnificent.

I struggled most of the 1st half of this trip with fighting the urge to stop and photograph everything. If I had I wouldn’t get anywhere. I’d have perished long ago most likely in southern Wyoming — succumbing to the harsh winds and starving crows desperate for the deliciousness of my sweet, sweet eyeballs. Which if you didn’t know crow’s love. This 101 trip however I would take my time with, which I hope is reflected in some of the pics. It was beautiful and bewildering. And as suspected a popular trip. It moved through Big Sur and [most likely] world famous destination, which would certainly be backed up by the amount of people gather around the few picnic areas and restaurants along the way.    

There were tons and tons of places to stop and take pics, some larger than others which I’ve come to understand everywhere along this trip to keep my eyes peeled for both and don’t invest too much into the first one because there could be an even better one another 1/4 mile down the road. It was great to be able to share these wondrous views with so many people.

When I got down to Cambria headed East. This would serve 2 purposes. I would pass through San Robles where I would have an early dinner at the Firestone/Walker brewery and afterwards slide a little further east and catch the 5 down into SM/LA. This was a great plan but had spent nearly 2 more hours than I’d planned for shooting and moving through the very, unexpectedly slow (sometimes 15mph) 101.

Leaving the brewery nearly immediately found myself back in the ‘flat’ dessert and eventually a bazillion oil pumps tended to by lots of South Americans. It was surreal, something out what could be any postapocalyptic wasteland. So very many shades of the most boring browns and greens forever. The sun was going down fast and did my best to get into Santa Monica — where I was reminded a former coworker and amazing person moved not too long ago with her husband. This is where I’d planned on talking about how terrible California drivers are but feel as though I need to save that for another post.

Made my way into the city, did the thing, parked, threw my bags in the room and hit the streets. Maggie, her husband Andy and 1 of his friends in from out town had just finished dinner and were walking around. We met up and was told I should see the pier which hilariously I [w/out having previously been or seen it] suggested it was a Times Square on the water. And it was. Fewer topless women and superheroes fighting for tips but pretty similar. It even had a Bubba Gump Shrimp. And similarly rather than hordes of people preforming for tips there night-fishermen seemingly performing the for adulations of the locals/tourists who were too lazy/stupid/bored to not sit down and watch people stand on a pier and reel in the most fierce of seaweed. I feel victim to this when out of the corner of my eye saw someones rod start bouncing around and ran over to see the angry, defiant piece of seaweed he tired out.

Maggie, Andy and fried had enough and Uber’d out but suggested I walk a couple blocks up and see The Promenade. So did. The Promenade is a retail/food ‘district’ which contrary to what I’d been told was closing down. I wondered if everyone had exhausted by the heat earlier in the day and retreated. It wasn’t unlike many of the same sort of little areas I’ve seen all over. It reminds of of an airport where all the same sort of shops are in the same sort of places. The uniqueness and character stripped away in the interest of common appeal. I grabbed a desperately needed beer (to help subside the festering anger for the Californian driver) at Stout and headed back to the hotel.

But not before remembering that I might know 1 other person in the area. 1 Jenice Marshall who I went to high school with and occasionally kept in touch with over the years. Turns out she was still in the LA area and would have some coffee with her in the morning.

Again even though my alarm was set for 8, my eye popped open around 630-7. Dragged myself out of bed showered and coffee’d. I’d been told that breakfast was being offered in the lobby area of the Wyndam — assuming there would be some free nibbles, but that was not the case. ‘Offering’ breakfast and breakfast being served in the restaurant are 2 very different things I would suggest. And when I realized the only thing they were offering was coffee decided to head over the Jenice’s earlier than later.

Jenice lives is a pretty amazing building. The Gaylord. A once beacon for all things Hollywood and it wreaked of it. Visually and nasally. A beautiful old building going up around the 10’s-20’s. We grabbed some coffee, caught up and then headed to her [new] local market so she could pick up some goodies. This particular local market is located — as is she — in Korea town! As imagined it was a great market with an enormous variety of all sorts of things, California and Korea. This little slice of LA was interesting and am definitely interested in exploring more of it. A city in which at the height of American car manufacturing was built as sprawl-city. And it’s so very fucking hideous and lazy and suppose very American in an older Gold Rush, Ohio Trail, Western expansion sort of sense that didn’t require considering anything other than building 1 (maybe 2) level buildings and then horsing/buggying/driving to as many of them as possible.

This is where I could very easily be accused of playing the very cliche and tired NYC vs. LA (or wherever) game where I say NYC is better. BUT is in fact infinitely better. The way in which this city was so poorly envisioned and seemingly incapable of fixing ti leaves it looking like a soon-to-be shanty town where in another 10-15 years, cardboard box communities will live on top of all the existing infrastructure.

I reluctantly said goodbye to Jenice and a great big city I'd only seen a spec of and headed out towards Flagstaff which immediately came to find out waited too long. At 1230-1 the east bound traffic through > out of the city was horrendous. It eventually lightened up and was then nearly a 65-70 zone all the way into Flagstaff which allowed me to keep my time even though stopped for gas and several times to take come pics.

San Francisco


San Francisco

I was up at 630, pounding coffee and looking at my 2nd leg of the trip and potential hotels/neighborhoods. It of course took a while but was closer to Google timing than the few previous trips. There was a lot of winding through southern Oregon and Mt. Shashta which is a beast! Then California, which eventually leveled/browned out into Olive Country. No kidding. I lucked out in that I was heading into the city while everyone else was heading out and that in my coming fro the North was able to check 1 box off the tourist list. The bridge. It’s a pretty sweet bridge as bridges go. I’ll hope to cross it one day on foot.

I’ve become pretty adept at pulling right into a city, hitting, AirBnB pulling up neighborhood maps and settling accommodations quickly so I can get out and explore. This bit me in the arse today. While I’d looked around a little bit last night and thought I had a pretty good chance of scoring something around some music and decent food I was way, way off. I naively chose a great price in a ‘recovering’ neighborhood in transition called the Tenderloin. Perhaps it was once a ‘meat packing’ district of sorts. Today however ‘tenderloin’ is code for ‘Methadone’. Portland has a lot of homeless. A whole lot. A LOT. San Francisco would see NYC 2 homeless and raise 6 drug addicted crazy people stumbling around in their own filth. It’s pretty bad. Really bad. Awful. But aren’t as afraid of stoned homeless as I am desperate wanna-be gangsta’s living out their favorite music video fantasies. I had dinner just a few blocks from the hotel at a very new place also experiencing the gentrification pains of moving into a crack-hood full of hookers. It was nice meal with good people including 1 nice young lady who found it impossible to believe that DC itself was once full of the ladies of the night. 'Of course it was,' I replied 'that's where all the policticians are'. This mortified her. But she nervously laughed it off. Oh, the sweet, sandy, blinding naivete of the young west coast. The walk back to the hotel was not so sweet, it was a ridiculous and would’ve taken a pictures however was worried that my exposing my phone would force me to have to eventually beat someone with it.

Not uncommon the scenes change quickly. From street to street. and when it lightened up a bit walked a bit more hoping to walk off a some of dinner. The breath at which so many of the tourists and homeless addicts mingle was surprising and wondered how long ago NYC was like this and how San Francisco hadn’t done a better job of fixing it. But Portland hadn’t and their tourism seems to be thriving. Even though dead people may be lying in the streets. They did after all do a great job of keeping the streets clean of refuse w/out placing trashcans on every corner — where often lied someone passed out or sleeping in Camp Bag. I’ve got to get to sleep. Am finally doing the coast tomorrow. It will be a long drive.

Also must apologize for the lack of pics. Was not at all comfortable flashing my phone around — yah the neighborhood was like that — and most certainly wasn't taking the Nikon for a walk.


Tonight’s installments is brought to you by The Bell's Bourbon Barrel Aged Black Note Stout.


I awoke in Portland recommitted to doing something Portland — even possibly considering staying another night. Pounded coffee, packed up, checked out and hit the streets. As I found out the day before the Portland Art museum was only a few blocks away so thought I’d spend a couple hours there — wait out the morning traffic and then head out. But it was so gorgeous out couldn’t justify a museum having spent so much time in a car the past 2 weeks. The 1 thing I forgot to bring with me was the battery charger for the Nikon so having been forced to now go buy one did. Circled around on the way down to the camera shop and came upon the Farmers Market and what seemed to be the Portland Farmers Market Marching Band featuring the Portland Baton Twirling Grannies and it was fantastic.

As planned, in an attempt to take a little break from pavement pounding before turning east, split the drive to San Francisco into 2 trips. Turns out about 1/2 way is Ashland which was told is a lovely little town. However their Shakespeare festival had just started and so wasn’t gambling on vacant or not vacant. So stopped in what a very large part of me would be the ‘sleepy’ little town of Medford. I mean come the fuck on, how can a town called Medford NOT be ‘sleepy’. This would not be the case. Yah it appeared to be precisely the ‘sleepy’ little place, it’s place on the map might suggest and as the closed down car dealership on the way in would suggest. As Google maps steered me around came across a strip club (hilariously called The Office) directly across the street from a Billairds Hall — which flashes of my being beaten for being a shark’n out-o-towner immediately flashed through my head.

I found my hotel, unpacked and headed out. Circled around the very small, very dated 1-2 story downtown weaving around and came across BeerWorks. A bar/bottle shop hilariously close to my hotel though hadn’t initially passed it on my way out. It was packed and perfectly placed beside a pizzraia/subshop. So stuck my head in for a pint and a Chicken Alfredo sub. There was  pretty rowdy group which initially assumed by the time of the day/week was a potential bachelor party or going-away, work party. I mean these guys were getting it down at 5-6. I asked the bartender what was going on and what those guys were drinking and when — what I would come to find was — the owner walked buy to open another bottle the bartender told him I was asking what they were drinking. The owner ordered me to get an empty glass and come find out.

Turns out this was a 2nd annual bar bottle share where people — both directly and indirectly invited — from all over the state and country had come together to share some of the beer worlds most coveted, sought after broiled brilliance. This is were I insist I hadn’t set out on this trip simply to drink beer AND that I had indeed planned on hitting a few of the country’s, cities better establishments to meet some people and have a few pints that normally aren’t available in NYC. Or on the East Coast for that matter. I mean what else am I going to do at night. Sit in a hotel room and type a bunch of rubbish about driving around the country and sitting in a hotel room? Back to the beer. Turns out a retired Goose Island representative had flown down a small selection from his personal cellar. In short cellared, 2, 3, 4 year old bottles of some of the most sought out beer in the world was sitting in this tiny little place with a group of some of the nicest, oddest people from all over the country I could have never imagined happening into. And oddly they were really happy to have a New Yorker wonder in. 2 of the guys in fact had either married or were dating a woman from New Jersey. 1 of the guys spent his adolescence visiting a summer camp in North Carolina. It was a most unexpected night. Thankfully it was an early night.


The drive out of Boise was slow. Between morning traffic and construction (which there's been a lot of all over the country) it took quite a while. The 6-7 hour trip on Google Maps took closer to 10 with bathroom/gas stops. It was also a busier trip with far more traffic outside the city than I'd seen in a few days through the longer highway stretches which was nice. I'd come to realize about 1/2 way through the day that I was zoning out a bit. I plan on sleeping in tomorrow which think will be great not only in my getting a little extra rest but also hoping to allow some of the morning traffic to subside. The last couple of hours into Portland were beautiful as it winds and traces the Columbia River and thankfully there were plenty of rest stops. However beautiful it was it was also mindnumbingly loud. Whatever the road was constructed from it was loud. Not so loud though I couldn't enjoy last nights Midnight in The Dessert with radio legend Art Bell. Last nights guest was Dr. Dean Radin, author of Superhuman who credits yoga with enhightening our senses and intuition and believes the yoga practice is primarily meant to strengthen the body for prolonged periods of meditation.

Lucky me I have family in Portland! A sister in law who invited me out to the Northside where her BF was meeting people out. So upon arriving downtown did my hotel search and horrified to see what Portland hotels cost. It's so awful there is no obscenity that can properly describe it. Perhaps future generations of humans will one day invent such a word that I suspect will be so fowl and reprehensible the mere utterance will violently sicken people to their stomachs. That word is Portland hotel prices.

Dropped off my bags, showered off the car and hit the street! Lynne and her BF are in the Northside and weren't going to be heading out until later so figured I'd walk around and if I happened upon something yummy would eat and then cab over to their side of the city afterwards. Turns out the city was so walkable quickly found myself on the Steel Bridge (which reminded me of my Williamsburg Bridge in it's super industrial metalness) crossing the Williamette River (an offshoot of the Columbian) and eventually had walked the few miles to Mississippi Studios. This little stretch of bars and restaurants and shops were very familiar. Very hipster. Maybe even more so than Williasmsburg. In fact Portland felt like a great big Brooklyn in many ways other than the amount of beards and manbuns. It was fantastic to see a couple of familiar faces and to get a couple more suggestions on my trip which have come from all sorts about all sorts.

I've decided to split the drive to San Francisco into a couple of days and take the morning tomorrow to hit a museum and maybe make my way over to the beach where I've been told by a couple of people that there's a great big ridiculous rock off the coast of Pacific City I should see.

430 miles
9+ hours
2 states
1 spectacular drive along the Columbian River Gorge
1 hot dog



As I'd planned spent most of the morning on my way out of Yellow Stone stopping and photographing the Gibbon river and falls. Which as the morning went on became quite popular. The drive between the Boise and Yellow Stone was spectacularly boring with only The Craters of The Moon National Monument and Preserve.

I got into Boise later than anticipated which wouldn't be too big a deal as there was little going on. Coincidentally Boise has a Knitting Factory which is a music club/bar that not only began in NYC but is now home-based in my Williamsburg. Sadly no shows during the week.

I checked into the Safari Inn and did a load of laundry and hit the hot tub while my clothes were in the dryer. Between the day hiking up and down the sides of the canyon and the time in the car my shoulders were killing me and the bubbles couldn't have been better timed. Showered an hit 10 Barrel Brewing for dinner a short walk from the hotel. I had no idea what to expect in Boise. An old close friend's mother told me it was one of her favorite places. Though only saw a little bit of the downtown could see why. 10 Barrel was packed and buzzing. I had the Apocalypse IPA and a salmon salad. Afterwards walked around a bit and ended up sticking my head into a oddly shaped corner pub called Bar Gernika where I wished I'd had dinner as they serve Basque. What is Basque? Basque food is stewy, doughy, lamby fair that came from Spain/France belonging to the Basque people. And apparently a whole lotta them ended up in Boise where they also have a Basque festival which was only a few weeks earlier. The flyers were still up as a matter of fact. No kidding, Basque. That's some sweet, sweet, regional funness. So I had a pint and learned all about the Basque from the bartender and cook who hilariously were both transplants themselves.

Having logged some hot tub time and carrying a full belly back to the room opted to put off my Boise/Yellow Stone posts until morning which came too soon.

Yellow Stone

YellowStone Day I

The past few days of Yellow Stone is brought to you by 3 Floyds Alpha King. Because when you're a Bison in Bear country you're not just king, you're Alpha King.

The trip Friday night was exhausting. What on the map appeared to be a relatively typical (for this country-wide mission) 8+ hour drive turned into an 12ish.

And it started out so nicely too. I packed the car & hit the grocery store, perfectly placed across the street for car-munchies. Noticed a fantastic farmers market on the walk back to the hotel which I swung through picking up a 1/2 pound of coffee for the hotels along the rest of the way. Hopped in the car and was off! Right into traffic. At least while heading north was able to provide the left side of my body a break from 2 back-back days of sun. Poked for a hour and when finally freed the Nissan’s oil maintenance light went off — which was expected at some point. I was just hoping it wouldn’t be at the beginning of 1 of the longer driving days up the side of mountains. Fortunately wasn’t all that far from the Wyoming Welcome Center where I was able to get Hertz on the phone to double check stuffs. It was also at this Welcome Center where I was overcome with the smell of Idaho burning. A smell that lasted for ours. I ended up at Cheyenne’s Grease Monkey’s where they knocked it out in 1/2 hour — in all setting me back about 45 mins.

Whatever I may have alluded to about desolation in my much shorter trip between St. Louis and Kansas City would be crushed — like an anvil to an ant — under the punishing I-80 and Route[?] 286. While unimaginably beautiful, otherwise indescribable magnificence in it’s vastness and hugeness it was baron empty land. So much so I began to welcome the sight of a couple of random horses or herds of Angus. Many times was the only car [visibly] on the road and coupled with the feeling of vulnerability of the drastically, continually changing landscape of rock jetting hundreds and hundreds of feet into the air and then after a small climb leveling out to flat yellow straw pastures, felt very alone and self aware in a way I’m not use to. The sort of self awareness that cues you in to the fact that if something happened random-pyscho-guy could feed you to his horses and sheep and nobody the wiser. It however would not compare to the feeling of utter alone-erabily I would experience in Yellowstone later on. Not lonely as in ‘boo-hoo I don’t have anyone to make fun of that crappy movie over a bottle of wine with’ but alone as ‘if something happens to me or my car my bones will have been picked clean by nature before anyone finds my remains’ kind of alone. I suppose I should have ‘planned’ something or had ‘called ahead’ to make reservations but what’s the fun in not knowing if you’re going to freeze to death or be plucked out or your car like a sardine by a grizzly because even though you went at the end of the summer when you thought it wouldn’t be so busy everything was booked?

The craziness Northern Colorado and Southern Wyoming gave way to a few of the smaller towns out side the National Parks and was able to get my head together before the 2 hour trip to the now seemingly obviously booked Old Faithful Village. I was really surprised to see how buzzing it was at 9 o’clock. People where lining up with Faithful questions… I mean the same Faithful question over and over again. For F’s sake it shoots water up in the air every 45 min’s or so. I however had a far more important question which was ‘do you have a room’. I’m an idiot and of course they didn’t so spent another hour winding back around the top of the lake to for a room and the surprisingly lovely (and new) Moran Lodge in Canyon Village.

622+ miles
2 states
2 Hotel visits
1 camel pasture
1 confused Park Ranger (when I hander her my ID & not a pass)
1 awesome little room
1 magnificently cold morning


YellowStone Day II

Tonights recap of YellowStone Day II is brought to you by 3 Floyd’s Alpha King American Pale Ale. Because when you choose to read the [heavily redacted] road log of an unemployed Art Director you’re not just king, you’re Alpha King.

It was 21 FUCKING degrees when I woke an hour 1/2 before my alarm this morning; 6am. I rolled around a bit, got a little bit more sleep and was up at 8 when it was still in the 30’s. The temp would break around 9-930 when — as I would come to find out — most of the day-long hikes had already left. Which while a little disappointed I’m good with being as that I didn’t come prepared to dress for it. And at 930 it was only barely creeping into the 40’s. Showered, dressed and packed my camera backpack and headed out. Had breakfast [my first warm meal in 36+ hours] where I was able to observe a group of 7+ Japanese who barely spoke english but had no problem pronouncing ‘hot chocolate’. It also occurred to me how they huddled over their meals & gobbled down. I’ve curiously observed this a bazillion times in all the many Anime and Samauri movies I’ve watched over the past 30 years where it’s overwhelming made light of — played up to. I wondered if this was an life imitating or art imitating. Further,  perhaps this is residual of an ancient time when ruled by warlords everyone ate as quickly as possible not knowing if they their head could be removed at any moment. And in that same line of thinking while leaning over their plate/bowl their head — recently detached — would fall politely into their bowl/plate so as not to disturb anyone else’s meal.

Afterwards hit the Rangers center for info on where to go. [ASIDE] I came to realize real quickly how much way-finding help the park service needs. It’s a travesty that they haven’t yet realized the power of pointing people in the right direction; properly displaying times and things. Sure the Ranger was able to answer everything and pointed out a nearby trail on a map. Which she herself mentioned wasn’t marked. Well most of the maps handed out aren’t marked. Aren’t marked with street names, milage, landmarks or ‘right before/afters’. Only specific names which everyone is then required to read off of really small woodenish signs. I want a M*A*S*H styled sign pointing in numerous directions everywhere with destinations + milage. I suppose if there were cell reception out here it wouldn’t be too big a deal but can be tough for the novice. Or internationalist. Or anyone who isn’t use to a Ranger pointing at a map and saying ‘go there’.

I wondered around the ‘village’ for bit, found the unmarked trail and after 20 mins or so on it turned around remembering 1 of the first rules of hiking. Don’t hike alone. Maybe the exact first rule proceeding don’t feed bears. Here is where I mention David Palides’ books ‘Missing 411’ about the most bizarre missing persons problem the National Parks have, especially YellowStone. So that may have played a part in it. But I lived to write about it so thank you Palides for instilling that paranoia in me. After having spent some time listening to 1 of the Rangers give a talk about safety hated the idea of him reporting tomorrow ‘you know up until yesterday we haven’t had 2 people eaten by a bear in a week in… ever’.

When passing back by the registration office inquired about another night and was told they were booked. Fortunately they scored me a cheaper bungalow at Mammoth. So packed the car and proceeded to hit the nearby ‘sights’ on the way to my new bed. As the pics should illustrate there’s good reason it’s called Canyon Village and why I came to feel so fortunate I got ‘stuck’ there and not at Old Faithful. I won’t go into the Canyon itself much. The pics speak for themselves. I thought of all the beautiful things in my life that have truly moved me. Outside the human act of course. The MoMA for sure as I’m currently an NYC’r. All the different things that can touch whichever mood you’re in. The Lurve in it’s massiveness both scale and historical perspective. Being there seeing the things I’d been taught about in my college Art History classes was cool. Flying over the Rockies and Canyons. Driving through the Adirondacks. Newborns of all kinds throughout the years; both friends & family. However the massiveness, the nature was so magnificent. It was however physically exhausting. I now fully understand what people mean when referring to the altitude. It was frustrating. I run. I exercise. My legs weren’t tired but could not find the oxygen. So hiked up and down the side of the canyon a few times clicking off a 150ish, once passing an older gentlemen who I suspect was with his grandson. He stepped aside suggesting ‘I bet this is a Sunday cakewalk for you’, I replied ‘I’m usually hungover on Sundays’. He quickly responded ‘just wait until you get to be my age’ and very meaningfully replied ‘I hope I get to do this if I reach your age’. He gave a smile as his grandson looked on confused.

Anticipating there may be a couple of other things I’d stop to photograph headed out to my new room around 230-3 for the hour ride heading first west and then north. I immediately encountered a lone, grazing Bison. Afterwards it was pretty monatinous having to move through several construction zones as they are either rehabbing or installing completely new roads up the north-western side. It all looked pretty new but know not.

An hour later arrived and checked in. Again, the girl at the counter (who was super nice and would see later serving tables) pointed to and highlighted the ‘map’ she gave me but there weren’t any street names on the map. Or a North/South. Just a most ambiguous ‘You Are Here’. Finally found it, unpacked, grabbed some ice and scuttled over to the 6pm ‘Calling in The Calvary’ walk/tour, about the early founding and tribulations of YellowStone; which is to say the National Park Service as YellowStone was the first. Not simply in this nation but in the world. Badassness.

Afterwards tried to make the boardwalk hike up/around the springs which the area is famous for. On the way was held up by a 1/2 dozen Elk. I didn’t mention the Elk earlier which when looking for my bed saw all over the Western/employee side of the village. But as the sun went down they stood up to go eat grass. Earlier when looking for my room pulled to a stop sign on the employee ‘campus’ where 1 lovely Elk Lady was munching and picked her head up to see what I was. I asked her how she was doing and NO SHIT she flapped her ears at me! It was FANTASTIC. So on the walk over to the springs many other Elk, including a small male seemed to have come down from the elevations and were grazing their way through town. I would suggest they were like pigeons in NYC but pigeons pay far more attention to people. Oh and there were magpies. A beautiful fowl.

I made my way over to the springs, took a couple of pics and after having spent the late morning and most of the afternoon at the YellowStone canyon falls realized the springs didn’t seem all that important/interesting. Headed back to my bungalow to drop off my camera and have dinner. After all that Bison talk really needed to eat some. I had the Bison tacos and a local brew called Snake Bite at the Art Deco styled ’Dining Hall’. All seemed perfect. I also again sat aside a large group of Japanese. They seemed more like family than the earlier group who seemed like college friends. Lots and lots of Asians who were also very hungry to eat the Bison.

Am drained from the exercise and the sun. Thankfully the drive to Boise tomorrow isn’t so bad.  

9+ hours
2 states
1 400ish miles
1 Craters of The Moon National Monument


The top pic is of the 180 acre city of Alma (pop. 393 [2013]) where I gassed up late this morning.

The drive today was brutal. Not only long but had to pass through several 55mph construction zones and eventually through desolate Colorado cattle (black angus everywhere) country complete with 1 actual tumbleweed bouncing across I-70. This was very much the sort of ‘plains’ one would picture in a Western movie. Western Missouri was mega-farmland which I hadn’t suspected though admit ignorance. There appeared to be a lot of corn which either was planted late, a 2nd crop or simply wasn’t doing to well. Many were often surrounded by vast patches of forest/trees. Unlike Indiana this land was not scarred with cell phone towers. There were far more FedEx trucks than I’d noticed on my previously other long drive form Cle -> St. Louis which was wrought with many tractor trailers. Between gassing, restrooms, stopping to stretch and check the vending machines it took closer to 10 hours factoring in the time difference. Thankfully it was uneventful.

Greater ’Downtown’ Boulder was most eventful. A 1-2 story assortment of retail/business/restaurant built around walk-through squares. Lots ‘o brick. A spectacular mix of people ranging from the most plentiful college students, young and old[er] families and a surprising mix of feral tweens and their raggedy pit bulls doing their best Soggy Bottom Boys impressions. It was pretty spectacular. I hit Backcountry Pizza and Taphouse for a GIANT garden pizza (which will make a fine lunch+dinner tomorrow) and a couple of some of the most yummiest adult beverages in the country. A Russian River Blind Pig and Prarie Bomb!. This was an older graduate, professional mix of people at the bar and families in the larger back rooms. Great atmosphere. I found the people here extremely friendly and laid back in a very West Coast way. Maybe it’s own ‘mountain’ way. Overwhelming upbeat and approachable; even the few that put on their best ’too-cool’ NYC face. Even the homeless appeared too nice to bother asking for money. Most certainly another city I wish I had more time for. But very badly want to get my rural hike on.

I'll hope to include more pics tomorrow. I'd initially set out to exhaustively photo-document the trip but quickly found it unreasonable given the amount of driving I'd committed myself to. It's simply not possible to take all the pics I'd like to and make it anywhere in any reasonable amount of time. Between focusing on the drive and then the subsequent recover and relaxing have neglected the photos. I will work on this.

622+ miles
Countless windmills
Dozens upon dozens of oil pumps (in Co. fields, which I found most surprising)
2 states
2 Adult Superstores (along I-70, which I didn’t find surprising)
1 tumbleweed
1 pizza
1 presumably sewer residing raccoon (that I almost tripped over on the way to pizza)
1 Eisenhower boyhood home and Presidential Library [passed by]
1 National Orphan Train Complex [passed by]
1 Greyhound Hall of Fame [passed by]
0 accessible vending machines (most likely for the best)

Kansas City

The trip into Kansas City went eazy-breezy-mizzou-peezy. Nearly w/out incident sans the brown bile that I was told was coffee and the tan-toothed woman who suggested so, who also told me how much she liked my car — seemingly with the underlying suggestion I throw her in the back and rescue her from her roadside rest stop reformatory. Cheap shots aside she was very nice as I’ve come to find many midwesterners so far. Also I passed a fireworks superstore called 'Pyro City'. Yes. Perhaps they have sister locations called 'Finger Destroyer'.

The city greeted me with the roaring screams of fighters on maneuvers from nearby Whiteman AFB. Quickly found myself at probably the most hipster coffee shop in Kansas City if not the world. And coming from Williamsburg this speaks volumes. Am on the hunt for accommodations, BBQ & jazz & the brew is delicious.

Checked into the Hotel Phillips for the special rate of $98 (including valet) under the Hot Country Nights package, GIDDY UP! This 84yo Art Deco beauty once housed a haberdashery run by Harry S. Truman. Now housing and unemployed graphic designer dashing responsibility running to the West Coast.

I hit the famous Jack Stack’s BBQ (via Baltimore Ave.) which I could literally smell a block 1/2 away. It was large signaling it was no longer a BBQ joint but an institution. It was darker than most clubs/bars in NYC which was odd and why I didn't take any pics of it or the food. The service was exceptional and while the meat was tasty wasn’t overwhelmed by the boasted greatness. Also there was neither collards, spinach (which understand isn’t customary in the SE) or cornbread. I did the ribs (Stacks goes sauce vs. dry), beef tips and chicken. Overall the sauce was unremarkable. Pork ribs were good not great; not falling off the bone. This may be a regional thing or a symptom of their having grown to 5 locations. Tips were the tastiest of the 3 and along with the [dark meat] chicken did occasionally dip into my beans. The chicken was nice in that it did have noticeable smoke but again the sauce was lacking.

I walked a couple miles back through downtown (Crossroads, Power & Light District & River Market) to the Missouri River and made it for sunset which was quite beautiful. It’s a very approachable and easily walkable city in a way that St. Louis absolutely wasn’t. Then back tracked a different route down to Flying Saucer bar where outside was ‘Kansas City Nights’. A rocking country summer fest which seems pretty popular. Could tell on my walk down to and from dinner people were walking from all over for the show. At 8:30 Flying Saucer seemed to have begun emptying out of Happy Hour and/or concert goers. Great variety of all sorts of malted magnificence and hopped happiness. I [of course] had a ‘Hang ‘Em High’ by Torn Label Brewing from Missouri. I mean c’mon Hang ‘Em High. Fan-freaking-tastic movie. It was yummy. Again like St. Louis when the Royals are on, that is what is on TV. Sensing swelling in my feet from having spent the afternoon beating downtown with my boots [roughly 4 hilly miles) decided to pack it in. While in a very short time came to respect what was going on here in a way I wouldn’t have otherwise need to keep moving. And while there some pretty good stuff going on here where it wasn’t in St. Louis and would love to spend another day the closer I get to the west coast the more I feel compelled to keep going.

As both of my friends and their families won’t be in Denver (and it’s freaking expensive) think I’ll make it a pit stop. Making up a day so that I can [hopefully] spend a full day [2 nights] in Yellowstone. 8 hours+ to Denver/Boulder.

248 miles driven, 4 miles[ish] walked
3 pork ribs, 1 thigh, 1 serving of beef tips
2 local beers
2nd Baltimore Ave trekked in 2 days
1 dinner recommendation for Boulder
1 sweet deal on a hotel
1 brief survey of seemingly a pretty cool little city
0 jazz:-(

St. Louis


My 3rd day was a big one encompassing 4 states. I woke up in Cleveland determined to make up a little time by pushing through to St. Louis (skipping Chicago) and hopefully — with the slight time difference — making it in time to catch a Cardinals game. I also hoped to swing by the famous 3 Floyds brewery to pick up some suds for friends and lonely hotel stays along the way.

The weather would do it's best to see to it I would not. I met with 2 powerful systems; the first on my way over to Illinois via Toledo along route 80. The first deluge reduced visibility down to about 5-6 cars in a matter of minutes. I pulled under an overpass along with a motorcyclist and after 10 minutes[ish] it lighted up enough where I would then be able to make it a rest area where the western and and much stronger part of the system would blast through, setting me back another 1/2 hour or so.

Without any trouble was able to finishing sliding across the top of Indiana to Munster for lunch at 3 Floyds where it was Zombie Dust release day. A famous American Pale Ale which has garnered a massive following. Needless to say the brewery was humming! I was able to get a set at the bar and a superyummy cheese plate and make off with lots of tastiness.

Then turned down to St. Louis. Unlike the very hilly, rolling farmland of Cleveland & Indiana the farmland along Route 55, driving through what is suspected to be the very same Springfield that is home to the Simpsons and while didn't get a pic of it did pass by a gi-freaking-gantic powerplant.

As the Cardinals gametime approached so did that massive, ominous cloud and as I began to turn from south to south west could better see how big this southwest-northeast moving system was and come to realize I was not going to be able to outrun it. Though the roads here weren't nearly as busy as they were in Indiana did er on the side of caution and take the first exit to wait it out which would prove to be the right thing to do. It was intense; setting me back another 1/2 hour+.

After it cleared was able to pretty quickly make my way into the city. A quick hotel search revealed the Missouri Athletic Club. A 100+ yo private athletic/social club which when capable acts as a hotel. A beautiful old building wreaking of history and perfectly placed for the Cardinals and the Arch. Fortunately for me the Cardinals were also delayed.

The walk to Busch Stadium was quick. The tickets were relatively cheap at $26 and weren't all that bad. The fans and employees were friendly and passionate, up until the end of the 7th where — suspecting they all had been forced to stay up past their bedtime with the delay, & beat the crowds — they started filing out. Cards lost, though had gone into the 4th with a no-hitter.

After the game hit a beautiful little bar called Bridge. Extensive tap and bottle list and lots of reasonably priced tasty things. I chatted a bit with a local who had himself just came from the game and after the 20+ hour (with the time difference), 11+ hour driving day caught up with me packed it in.

Was up Wednesday and after checking the radar decided to scurry over to the Arch sooner than later imagining that if I could get it in early could then hit a museum afterwards in case it were raining.

The Arch was surprisingly cheap ($10) though imagine that after renovations to the surrounding park are made that might change. At 10:30 in the morning there was no real wait. I paid and was on the 10:50, 4 min long, tiny-tiny 'tram' up to the top along with a very nice family from Florida who were driving their daughter to college.

The view was magnificent but didn't stay long. Made my way down, back to the hotel and the car and zipped over to SLAM, the St. Louis Art Museum. It was a pleasant surprise. Free parking, free admittance and a treat for art enthusiasts and a genuine treasure. A wide variety of about it all and an impressive collection of modern/contemporary art.

When I realized the sky was clearing drove back to the hotel, dropped the car off and hit the street. Walked west toward Forest Park through 'Midtown' which initially along the main road (Olive) was desolate and deteriorating. I scooted over to Locust street where there were a few other things going on. Locust street seems to be attracting some business. Breweries and bars of course but even marketing and advertising agencies including one I believed to have recognized. Fusion. The closer to St. Louis University the more restaurants and shops there were. I moved back over to Olive St., now called Lindell Blvd which reminded me a whole lot of Connecticut Avenue in DC. All apartment buildings and increasingly more University. I'd finally made it to the park and after an hour 1/2 of walking decided not to explore that area too much but instead make my way back, this time trying to take a different path. Maryland Avenue was packed full of restaurants, shops and bars which seemed to have come out of nowhere though makes sense being right around the corner from the Chase Park Plaza, in the middle of a very nice neighborhood and right around the corner from the World Chess Hall of Fame of all things.

Lucky me when my feet badly needed a break I would happen upon Urban Chesnut Brewing Company. A fine little brewery full of really great people who will be boasting 15,000+ barrels this year. Well done. 1 fellow was really excited about my trip and offered all sorts of drink-this, eat-that for my next stop in Kansas City which he and his wife had visited last summer. As Cardinals first pitch approached everyone at the bar turned their attention to the TV and I made my way back to the hotel to attempt to write this blog. Which did not happen last night.

Am an hour late leaving so off to KC!