We met Danelle’s family at Kirkwood Park for an Easter picnic. They reserved a small area and we hauled a bunch of stuff in to have lunch together.
Somehow Mardi Gras has become a tradition with my friends and family (the male ones, but they are all invited). Herman and Henry brought their friend Connor Lewis with them from Kansas City. I wanted to make sure that they all had a good time. All we had to do was prepare and we would have a good time. Connor was a great sport, taking in all his surroundings and enjoying being a guest in a new city.
We started off Friday night with a late trip to the grocery (liquor) store followed by White Castle for dinner. We wanted Connor to know the best St. Louis has to offer 🙂
We drank light cause Saturday was going to be more serious…Mardi Gras is best experienced in costume. It shows that you’re ready to have a great time and is generally fun! So we headed to our local Goodwill store to look for costume ideas. It didn’t take long for a few winners to show up!
Our plan per tradition was to meet at the Metrolink station at 1 pm to ride it all the way downtown with our fellow Mardi Gras patrons. We packed the van and got there a bit early and started mixing our drinks. Again per tradition, we get 1L bottles of our favorite drink (Coke, Diet Coke) and drink a bit out. Then we replace the missing fluid with large quantities of Southern Comfort and/or rum. Whatever doesn’t fit in the drink must be chugged from the bottle.
We had a minor snafu and consumed all the Southern Comfort before Jeff and Cory showed up, so Cory had to get more on the way. Here is our group before boarding the train!
We decided to try our best to be “more fun” on the train, so we practiced and prepared. After every stop of the train, we sang part of 4 Non Blonds, What’s Going On.
And so I cry sometimes
When I’m lying in bed
Just to get it all out
What’s in my head
And I, I am feeling a little peculiar
And so I wake in the morning
And I step outside
And I take a deep breath and I get real high
And I scream from the top of my lungs
What’s going on?
It wasn’t in tune or good, but it was funny. Eventually all the guys got into it. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get our fellow travelers to sing along with us which was a gosh darn shame!
Hanging out at Mardi Gras was amazing due to the beautiful warm weather we had. People were generally cheery and we met tons of colorful people. Speaking of colorful, that Connor has a way with the ladies! Somehow I was talked into not being the designated driver and things went downhill fast for me! We’ll let the photos speak for the rest of our time!
Everyone got home safe and unharmed. But Connor did loose his new IPhone6 which put a bit of a damper on the end of our evening. Even so, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Connor back next year!
What birthday would be complete without having your friends for a sleepover? So we invited Zach and Henry over to share in the festivities. After dinner, we had to provide dessert. In order to keep things interesting, I served a few scoops of ice cream and cake. But they each got special implements to eat with.
Corvin got chopsticks and a pizza cutter.
Henry got a bib and a baby spoon.
Zach got a baby spoon and a butter knife.
The kids got a great laugh out of trying to eat with what they were given, and eventually got real spoons 🙂
In the morning, we woke them up and got them all packed to be taken home. Then we loaded up in the van for adventure. Don’t they look excited?
We arrived at Go Ape!, a ropes course. We ended up getting Zach’s mom, Christine, to join us so we had a 1 parent to child paring which was good. Once we were checked in, we loaded into safety harness and listened to the safety talk. Then we practiced on the ground doing what we were taught.
With ground practice out of the way, there was a practice course a few feet off the ground. High enough to use the equipment, but unlikely to kill you if you fell!
The course is set up into 5 sections. The first two are closely monitored by staff for issues from the participants, but they don’t actually go with you. One of the greatest things about this course is that you’re mostly unsupervised, but can whistle for help.
All queued up for adventure! here comes the end of the first section, a long zipline!
Hanging off the platform!
Some random obstacles
And two videos to round it all out 🙂
It was a fantastic treat and we all had a good time and a workout! If you get a chance, treat yourself to one of their courses!
The first half of this day was the most frustrating day of my whole trip. I started with me waking up and trying my best to sleep in. The motel was nice.
When I couldn’t take sleep anymore, I went to Dairy Queen for breakfast. I then walked to a hardware store and picked up straps for later and returned them to my room.I walked around town waiting for the bank to open and found some people moving a whole building.
At promptly 9am, I walked into First National Bank to see about getting cash for my new truck. It turns out that getting your money out of a bank account is rather difficult if you’re not starting at you’re own bank. While I had the cash, they didn’t know it and did not trust me. They were not interested in giving me a loan. It was suggested that I go to Western Union for the money. After lots of frustrating and waiting, I ended up setting up a new account for one deposit and withdraw. Then I had my mother-in-law go to the bank and transfer money to me. Thanks Carol!
With cash in hand, I was much happier! I called the owner of the truck. For the second time he said he needed to put a shirt on and then would come over. Once he arrived, we moved the motorcycle over and tried a simple test run and decided we needed help. We were going to the office of the motel when the proprietor came out smiling and said he saw us on camera and wanted to come out to help.
In the end, I started the bike and stood next to it and drove it up into the truck. I relaxed once I got the kickstand down and we started tying it down.
With my new fancy truck, I made my first stop at Napa to get a new headlight for the burnt out one. Then I started a very slow drive home. Windows were down and the radio was on. I attempted to roll the driver’s window up and it came off track and was stuck 1/4 of the way up for the rest of the trip. I stopped in a small town farm store to purchase an additional tie down as it was quite windy in western Kansas. So windy in fact, look at the dust obscuring the grain elevator!
I almost forgot to mention, I never made it to see Holly. Since the truck was an unknown, I wanted to drive on I-70 as much as possible in case it broke down. Along the way, I was able to see Henry in his apartment in Manhattan, KS. Then I made a quick stop at Hannah’s college dorm before stopping in KC for the night at my parents house before a final push home to St. Louis.
I did make it all the way home the following day in time to have lunch with Danelle. Then I drove to Flying Tiger Motorcycles to drop off my bike for repairs. I left them a long list of repairs and had the shop guys unload it from the truck.
It was a perfect if not slightly expensive trip. I hope to travel solo again in the future but with better results!