11/24- 11/30 Thanksgiving, the City Museum and St. Louis Zoo

It’s really getting cold now. In this RV park we have to walk the dogs from our RV to outside the gates every time they need to go outside. We used to be able to just let them out into the back yard on their own – I miss that! Randy and I are both getting colds.  

Last week Randy took the RV back to Lovell’s RV so they could do some work on it. They needed to replace the ice-maker in the refrigerator and had to order one, check the bay-heater, washer and a leak in the bedroom. The RV service department works on a first-come, first-serve basis and Randy wanted to have our RV there when the doors opened at 7:30 am. So he drove it to Columbia on Wednesday evening and I stayed with Aaron and Dezina. Dezina fixed lasagna and cannelloni for dinner and we had a really nice visit. 

The only thing that doesn’t seem to work right in the RV now is the washer/dryer. They tested it and said it worked, but it only works with hot water.  

We have been storing our shoes in a plastic shoe rack that hangs over the bathroom door, but the bathroom in this RV is so small that the rack has to hang on the outside of the door, which puts it in the path between the kitchen and the bedroom. So Randy built a frame on both sides of the bed to hold our shoes.  

Thanksgiving weekend: Wednesday night we drove to Theresa and Tom’s. Randy got up at 5:30 the next morning and pretty much stayed in the kitchen all day! We had turkey and dressing, potatoes and gravy, green beans almandine, pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting. Tom’s family brought some additional side dishes, and it was a great meal. I drove over to visit Mom and brought her back to Theresa's for dinner. 

Theresa and Tom wanted to spend the weekend with us, so Friday we all drove back to St. Louis. We had lunch at Rigazzio’s on “The Hill” then drove around to a few places that seem unique to St. Louis, such as local Italian grocery stores, and finally ended up at the zoo, where they put up Christmas lights every year. The animals weren’t out because it was cold and dark, but it wasn’t too cold to walk around and enjoy the lights. We went into the penguin exhibit, and of course the penguins love the cold weather just fine, so they were playing and swimming around. We also went on a 3-D movie-ride, where you go into a small theater, strap into a chair and put on 3-D glasses. When the movie started, it was about a ride down a glacier, and the chair moved around, simulating the bumps and turns on the screen.  Between the chair moving and the 3-d glasses, it was so much fun that we went on it twice!

Saturday Randy fixed omelets for breakfast, then we started driving around to some of our favorite St. Louis places.  We went to the bakery for cookies, to a meat market, a sausage market, a Mexican bakery, and to Soulard’s produce market.  Theresa and Randy bought something at every place! 

In the afternoon we went to the City Museum - not sure how to describe that place. It’s not really a museum, it’s a big 7 story building that was bought by a guy who owns a demolition company. Whenever he finds something interesting in the building he’s demolishing, he buys it, brings it to his building and figures out a way to integrate it into what is already there. It’s simply amazing. There are tunnels and mazes that go everywhere – behind walls, under the floor and between the different stories. The walls and ceilings are covered with interesting stuff, and the most of the floors are detailed mosaics. There is a tiny working shoelace factory, a huge pipe organ, and a big fish tank with fish and turtles. We crawled through a mesh tunnel outside the building into the shell of an old aircraft, then slide down a slide to get to the ground. Inside the building there is a slide that is 7-stories tall – we went down that, too. We spent hours and hours there and I’m sure we didn’t get to see and do everything.    

Earlier we had bought stuff to fix for dinner, but after the City Museum we were too tired to bother so we went to Fitz’s for dinner.  

Sunday I surprised everyone by fixing breakfast - eggs and some pastries.  During the night it had rained a bit and we found out our bedroom ceiling still leaked around the air condoner vent, so Randy and Tom worked on that. Then we took Theresa and Tom to the Tile Shop, where Randy and Aaron get most of the tile they use in their jobs - the tile there is so beautiful. Afterwards we went to Cabelos, a huge hunting-and-camping store, with about 50 mounted antelope, deer, moose, etc. all over the store.  

9/19/08 Balloon Glow!

We went to the Balloon Glow today - it was wonderful! We got there early and discovered they didn’t have a place to park and lock up the bikes, so we walked around with our bikes, but that was OK. There was a really big crowd there; some families brought blankets and picnics, the rest of us bought snacks from the vendors. We talked to some of the folks working with the balloons about how they controlled them and watched them fill the balloons. As dusk fell, all of the hot-air balloons were filled. Of course, as soon as the balloons were filled, the air inside them started to cool down. So the balloon owners kept re-heating the air. There are two heater vents that push hot air up into the balloon – one generates a lot of very hot air and the other one heats air but it doesn’t push it as hard. That second vent actually causes a bigger flame, and it’s what causes the balloon to “glow” at night. There might have been 20 hot-air balloons up in the park that evening, and as the owners warmed the air to keep them up, balloons all over the park glowed. Sometimes just 3-4 were glowing, and sometimes 10 or more at a time. It looked simply amazing!  

09/18/08 Free Concert at Forrest Park

We rode over to Forrest Park today for a free concert. On the way over there, as we entered the park, we saw a large, beautiful deer standing by the bike path. She stood there watching us until we were about 10 feet from her. Then she flipped her tail up, causally took 4-5 big leaps towards the brush and stopped under some trees, where she relaxed and started grooming herself. She wasn’t at all bothered by us. She was probably 20 feet from us when we rode by – so beautiful! When we got to where the concert was, we sat on the grass to listen to the orchestra. It was just wonderful. And after the show they set off a lot of big, amazing fireworks just across the pond from us. That was a really enjoyable evening.  

We are looking for ways to re-furbish the RV. We both don’t think the desk is working as well as it should – there isn’t much space for legs when we sit down. And we don’t have enough pantry space. And I want to paint the bathroom and bedroom, and find a way to hang pictures. So we are in a re-design phase again. Nothing new about that!

09/1/2008 Tour of Missouri Bike Race

Randy is checking the seals around the RV door and windows. I’m considering if I can use Metro again, instead of driving to work. Adding Metro travel time onto a 10-hour day seems like a lot, but I’d prefer not to drive this winter so I may try it.

We haven’t done any bike riding for a couple of weeks, but Sunday we went downtown to watch some other bicyclists in the “Tour of Missouri” bike race. The race is scheduled for 8 days, and each day the riders cover a certain number of miles. Each day everyone starts at the same time and place, and bikes the same route. The officials keep track of who wins each day and the time it took them to complete the route that day. The race winner will have the overall best time for all 8 days, so even if someone doesn’t come in first every day, he can still win the race. Sunday they raced from 2:00 pm to about 4:00 pm. The route they took was all on the streets, so the police set up roadblocks along the way to keep traffic off the route. In order to get the right number of miles in, they raced around the same route 5 times. We found a spot to watch them and cheered them along every time they passed by.  I think the leader at that point was someone who had raced as part of Lance Armstrong’s team in the last Tour de France. This race is not for amateurs!