Booking trips last minute is so much fun. I’d been back for a month and desperately wanted to get on another train. I’ve never been to St. Louis before, so the short train ride from Chicago (which is slowly transferring to high speed rail) seemed like a good option. Plus it was cheap! $80 last-minute tickets round trip, including rolling bikes onto the train, and I’d found the one hostel in St. Louis that gives a discount for bike travelers. I mean like, technically we were travelers with bikes, not bike travelers, but whatever. Total travel and lodging costs for the 2-night, 2-day trip: $100.
Jana and I didn’t get into St. Louis until around midnight, but told the hostel ahead of time, so the owner stayed up to greet us. The next day was heavy with pedaling around the city. Finding good food, obsessing with the red brick everywhere, and dealing with google maps delays on phones took up much of the morning, but we made it to the City Museum aka The Place Everyone Tells You To Go To If You Are Visiting St. Louis. Holy crap that place is amazing. Those people are right to tell you to go there and you are stupid if you don’t go there.
Pizza, a trip across the river to see a bunch of nothing, and a mild bike wreck due to me not paying attention lead us into a night of exploring and drinking. We knew we had to avoid getting too crazy, since we only had a half day the next morning to try to fit in more exploring in the 1300 acre park in the friggin’ middle of the city.
Not to mention, we still had to get up in that arch.
Over drinks downtown, then in the Grove, then on Cherokee Street, then the Soulard, plans were made to get up at dawn so that I could shoot with the morning light, but more importantly have enough time for us to ride west towards Forest Park, spend the entire morning there, then head back downtown to the arch in the afternoon before jumping on our train back to Chicago.
We woke up late, obviously, so we had to cram in everything with four hours less time than planned. Haha, woo. Although it as dreary overcast, the park looked amazing! 1300 acres of green, in the middle of the city, is like a dream for me. St. Louis has all the potential to be an urban agriculture mid-west haven. In mid-november, the trees were full orange and immaculate. On a pit-stop between nature and a giant, stainless steel arch, I got to eat a friggin’ s’more-stuffed, vegan french toast. Lunch left me pedaling pretty slowly towards downtown, careful to not disturb my resting food-baby I was suddenly pregnant with.
The arch is… mandatory in St. Louis. It’s really, really impressive in its minimalist appearance from the outside, and once underground, a touristy-museum feel is really apparent until you get in the retro-futuristic trams that take you to the top. Somehow a bottle of whiskey in Jana’s bag made it through the x-ray machine at the entrance, and we shared pulls in an incredibly small, fiberglass pod with three other college dudes, getting just a little buzz for the view from the top.
Which, I’ll now leave you with.