Spring is here, and we needed to get out of the house. I had a few checks to take to the bank, so I brought the whole family along. Its a little over a mile walk to the bank. The kids were not completely into the walk, but I found ways to entertain them.
And how did I entertain them? With a phone booth… Not that they really knew what it was.
I was riding one of my favorite unicycle tracks from my house getting some exercise and enjoying the weather.
I heard somebody yelling at me (which is normal) but it was persistent. I looked over to see a young man running on the other side of a major street carrying a unicycle.
I stopped and yelled I would wait for the stoplight to change so he could come safely across the street and we could chat. It isn’t often you meet another unicyclist out and about on the streets!
Once on the same side of the street, I met Austin. He’s a high school student that started riding a few months ago. He is already more skilled than me, showing off what he can do. He was amazed by my 36″ wheel as he was on a 24″ wheel. We talked for about 45 minutes. I even demonstrated on his unicycle how to rotate the tire to get the most ware out of it. Good think I keep an air pump in my bag!
Eventually we needed to part ways, but its always great to meet a fellow rider!
I needed to get out of the house and Danelle needed some peace and quiet for her school work. So I packed up the kids and drove to Castlewood State Park. There, I wanted to hike a trail that overlooks the Meramec river. We did hike it for a short time, but the kids and flooding river didn’t let it happen quite the way I wanted.
The lower trail was impassable and the kids didn’t want to hike much more, so it was a short out and back. Lucky for Danelle, its a bit of a drive, giving her a 3 hour reprieve from all of us!
The Port of St. Louis is the third most busy inland port in the United States. I’ve seen it from land many times and paddled to the northern end of it, but never farther south than the Gateway Arch. That was about to change today. Its still spring break and the wife and kids are out of town. Andy wanted to paddle, so we met in the morning at the Flamm City ramp on the Meramec. I suggested we paddle the port and talked him into it. We ran back to his house to pick up his dry suit and then drove to downtown St. Louis to begin the adventure.
I was a bit ill prepared for the paddle, having forgot my PFD at home. Luck for us, Andy had an extra inflatable in his truck so we could continue our trip. After pushing off and by the arch, Andy said that there are few people he would do this with and trusted my skills. No pressure on me to not mess up, and I’m very glad his Minnesota II boat had a rudder on it.
Most of the river from the arch down had barges parked on both sides of the river, leaving no space to get out of trouble. I quickly realized that if we capsized, we would have to fix it without going to shore, something I have never practiced and should! There were a large number of tugs moving about, more than I have experienced in several years of paddling/racing on the Missouri River. When they passed, their waves bounced off the parked tugs and came back just as tough.
I didn’t feel comfortable taking my focus off paddling until the Jefferson Barracks (I-270 South) bridge which was at least half way through our paddle. At one point, I started to get motion sick and wasn’t sure if I could keep the boat upright as the water got quite rough. But it passed and eventually calmed down.
There is quite a bit of interesting industry on the river and houses to see on the edge. If you’re not on the water, you will miss it. Once south of the Jefferson Barracks bridge, the river got calm and the shores were not littered with barges. The river looked amazing and empty (the way we like it). At the confluence of the Meramec river, we paddled the 2 miles up to Flamm City access.
Its a paddle I would like to do again, but in my Kruger Cruiser for extra safety 🙂
After 10 years and approximately 13,000 miles, I wanted something different. I was trading in my Kawasaki Concours for a different motorcycle.Over the years, I had spent far more in repair cost than the cost of the bike and I was starting to loose confidence in the bike. There were many little things that were off, but it is a 15 year old bike.But I won’t forge the time in Arkansas with Hiatt, or the Colorado trip where I had to purchase a truck to bring the bike home, or the 5 corners of Missouri. I had fun, but the fun was getting long. I didn’t ride it much. Part of this was due to the thread of breakdowns, and the other because it takes a while for the engine to heat up before its ready to ride.
I did research online and got permission from the wife to make the purchase. The only dealer near St. Louis was about 80 miles away. But the price was fantastic and I worked out the details over the phone before heading out.
Eric and I left on a 40 degree day. The ride out there was long and cold, even stopping for Eric to buy some snow pants to help him warm up. Eventually, we made it out to ATVs and More which is on the site of an old Target, so its beyond HUGE! I got to business quickly making the deal I came for. There was a bit of back and forth, but they committed to the original quoted price and I appreciate that!
So while they prepped the bike, Eric and I wondered the store…
When the time finally came, I wrote the check and we were out of there! The V-Strom 650 was mine. And most cool, it had 0 miles on it!!!
Here I am riding out of the parking lot for the first time!
Fortunately, it warmed up for the ride home. Without that 1000cc engine of the Concours pouring heat out on me, the increased temperature was appreciated. And finally home!