Coolest Chicago Crew Does St. Louis

What’s This All About?

So as many of you know Colin and I recently moved back to Oklahoma.  While we were in Chicago we made a GREAT group of friends.  If you go back a few posts you will see where I posted pictures of our friends in Chi-town.  While we made a lot of new friends and rekindled old friendships, there was a core group of us that consistently hung out together.  We called ourselves the Coolest Chicago Crew or CCC for short!

6 people that randomly met and became best buds almost immediately.  There is Colin, Darus, Jane, Leighanna, Mallory and Patrick.  None of us knew each other prior to coming to Chicago (except Colin and I, of course!) and we were all transplants.

CCC at the Budweiser Brewery

So What Does This Have to do With STL?

When Colin and I moved to Tulsa we made a pact with the CCC that we would do a “Meet in the Middle” party before the year was over.  The middle between Chicago and Tulsa is probably some random corn field in Missouri, so St. Louis was the next closest thing.

After we all looked at our calendars we decided the first weekend in November worked out for everybody and so we began planning!  We ended up staying at a very nice place with the Star Design Group.  Every hotel in the city was booked due to an International Holy Convocation (have no clue what that is) but there was an estimated 90,000 people in the city just for that!

The Girls

Friday—Day One

Colin and I were able to leave Tulsa around 11.30.  He had taken his series 6 that morning and passed with an 83!! Congratulations Colin!!

We were excited and so we boot scooted out of town.  Apparently I don’t do so hot in long car rides.  Colin says that 30-45 min into our 6 hour car ride I was already declaring boredom.  When we stopped to get gas I got a Redbull, cause that’s what you want riding in the car with you—a caffeine hyper bored sanguine!  To pass the time Colin and I detoured to see the much talked about and highly controversial, “World’s Biggest Rocking Chair!”  The one thing that really got my goat, was the fact that I couldn’t sit on it!  AND it didn’t rock!!  How can it be a “Rocking Chair” if you can’t a) rock it and b) sit in it?!

We got to STL about 3 hours before the rest of the crew—no surprise since they left Chicago at 5pm….

End of the Tour

Colin and I drove around downtown, well, really we drove up and down the main street of downtown like 3 times.  We stopped at the City Garden.  It was super cool with these neat-o sculptures and what not.  Got to see “Occupy St. Louis,” those people are nuts!  Don’t they know Wal*Mart and McDonalds are hiring?  Heck even Chase Bank is hiring!  Raise of hands whose seen Company Men?….anybody…..anybody….ok well I did.  And I was so frustrated by the ending of that story and by Ben Affleck’s character.  Not to give anything away-but my gosh go get a freaking job!  You just might have to take a reduction in pay AND title—but you can pay your bills!  Quit blaming the government (you voted the dude into office!) and get off your ass and go work!

Ok I’ll step off my soap box now.

When the rest of the Crew arrived we got some beer and lots of gummy candy and planned out Day Two

The Boys

Saturday—Day Two

We woke up around 9 and Col and I went and got coffee.  After everybody got up and around we headed out to the famous Soulard Farmer’s Market.  Darus got a pineapple and tomato bread—sounds real tasty!  We then headed to a little breakfast place called  Benton Park Café & Coffee Bar and did breakfast.  It was right across the highway from the Budweiser factory—our next stop!  We did the tour and I wish I could tell you about some amazing facts I learned, but I can’t.  I didn’t really listen and it was difficult to understand the people leading the tour when they were talking over bull horns.  I take that back I did learn one thing.  During prohibition Anheuser Busch created a non-alcoholic beverage called Bevo!  I guess it wasn’t popular as it didn’t last that long!  Take that UT! Boomer!

After the beer factory we were going to see another beer tour but we ran out of time so then we headed straight for, dum dum dum…the Arch.

The Farmer's Market

Now raise of hands who is claustrophobic? I see…\lll/….at least one hand….well ME TOO!  So when we left Oklahoma, Pops had made mention that if we were going to see the Arch, “I hope you’re not claustrophobic!”  I had perked up and Colin calmed me down.  Then when we were in the car on the way to the Arch Jane made mention of this too.  Colin again tried to calm me down.  He kept telling me that it was like a tram that took us to the top…..Tram my ass!  More like a death orb!

And just like that with the ride to the top, the Arch had claimed its first victim.

While at the top Mallory began to look a little peaked.  She wasn’t really keen to lean on the edge of the arch and look down out the windows.  She was afraid of heights.

Victim number 2 accounted for.

Before the Arch Won

Lastly, while up at the top I decided that since I had indeed reached the top now was a great time to re-enter the death orb and get back to the bottom as quickly as possible before the entire structure collapsed.  The thing was built back in the 70’s!  Who knows if it’s been updated with all the latest in safety features!

We were standing in a line-ish when Darus squeezed her way past the hundreds of people at the top, she came up to us and said “I’m ready to get down, I’m feeling sick.”  Darus gets motion sick and not having a level place to stand was making her very ill.

Victim 3 down and accounted for.

Colin and Jane had been before and Patrick, while he had never been, was un-phased.  We all decided that that would be our first AND last trip to the Arch!  Good riddance!

Climbing the Metal Tube That Leads to Never Never Land

City Museum

Okay, after the near death experience at the Arch, we ate then headed to a place Mallory had discovered—the City Museum.  She initially lured us there with the fact that the museum served alcohol.  Like a good little rabbit I had done my research before hand—and was less than impressed with this “adventure”.  I had told Colin on Friday that we could sit this one out and be ok.

When we get there and start walking up to the place in the “yard” of this building, are two airplanes stripped to nothing and resting on top of these metal structures.  It kinda reminded me of the gas station toy, where you put the toy bird’s beak on your finger tip and he balances himself …you know what I mean?  Anyway there were heavy duty wire tubes (reminiscent of hamster tubes) connecting the two planes and one huge wire bridge that spanned the whole yard about 10 stories high.  There were kids screaming everywhere.  We all kinda looked at each other and thought “What the heck is this place?”  We go in and see more screaming kids and apparently EVEN a wedding….We pay and start walking around in this weird landscape (see the photos).  We begin to ask where is the alcohol….cause this is bazar.

Darus, Mallory and Colin (L-R) in a Tunnel/Tube

Then we see it.  It’s a tube-like structure, made of large metal pipe that spirals around itself (like a spring, but fixed).  The center is about three feet in diameter and offhandedly someone asks, “I wonder if we can climb up that thing?”
“I dare somebody to do it.”
“Ok.” I know this was Darus who accepted the challenge ‘cause as she started scampering up the tube, I said, “I’m right behind you!”

And like a group of school children we fell in line behind one another and began climbing.  It led into a hidden tunnel system attached to the ceiling!! It was covered by hanging fabric so you couldn’t see the tubes from the ground.  We climbed our way through the tube and into the plastic tunnels until we found our first slide (to be one of many!) and we were hooked!

All of us are only a few years away from turning 30 and suddenly we were all 5 years old again.  Patrick especially loved it.  We were in his element it seemed like.  The kid couldn’t pass a hole or crevasse without seeing if his head or body could fit through it.

Having just come off the “Death Orb” at the Arch I was a tad sensitive to the “tightness” of some of these tunnels, tubes, and path ways.  But the CCC was so great about it, whomever was the leader they would chain mail it back to wherever I was in the line (typically toward the end, just in case I needed to bail!) that while it did get tight it would quickly open up again.  So supportive, I really appreciated it.

Patrick Obviously In His Element! And Yes, We All Squeezed Up That Blue Swirly Thing!

As we began to explore all ten stories of this building climbing and tunneling through all these holes I believe we really bonded.  We didn’t set out to do a “team building” exercise but in some ways it very much turned into one.  Nobody argued over who got to be leader, it was just whomever led the pack into the next hole.  We shifted and changed it up.  I think everybody got to be leader at least once.  We encouraged each other through tight spots and there was even some tough love.  When we got to the airplane part it was really spooky.  The cages that connected them swayed under the weight of people and the wind.  At one point I decided I had reached my limit, and the group decided I was wrong.  I said I don’t think I can do this!  Their response was, you can and you have to, this is the only way down!

I really enjoyed the museum.  I think it was one of those times when you can kinda step out of the moment, and look at what is going on around you from the outside.  We functioned as a group, as a team, as people who cared for each other.  That was the best!

In a Tunnel Some Where...

Sunday—Last Day

So we left the museum, exhilarated and feeling young again.  When we got home and gathered in the living room we all showed off our battle wounds and bruises.  We were all sore and bruised from the climbing.  But the real pain came on Sunday.  One by one as we all woke up and began to move our stiff muscles; we all decided that we were indeed getting older!  Such a sad discovery!

We woke up a tad late but got up and around and began to pack.  Once everything was put away we set out on our search for coffee and food.  Coffee was easy—breakfast not so much.  The one place in “downtown” St. Louis that serves breakfast had an hour wait!  We found another place that was not near downtown, but was in a cute little neighborhood.

We filled our bellies, thanks again to Darus and Jane for Breakfast!, and talked about where we wanted to go next!

We took one last group photo that was in and of itself an interesting feat.  Said our good byes and headed back to either ends of the country.

"Tunneling" 10 Stories Up in a Wire Tube!

Summation

I miss our friends.  I wish they would all move to Tulsa, but then nobody would have anything to do.  I do miss Chicago (but gosh not the weather!).  I can’t wait till we do another trip, hopefully in the spring to someplace just as fun.  I would have liked to have had one more day.  Maybe next time.

I hope you all enjoy these photos.

Thanks for tuning in!

Coolest Chicago Crew DID St. Louis (L-R Colin, Lee, Jane, Patrick, Mallory, Darus)

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