The Invasion of St. Louis

30 08 2010

And so I finally added state #25 to my “states visited” list. As you learned yesterday.

You also all learned that I’m the only conservative who took that quiz and OH WELL. I still love y’all and hope you love me back.

Anywho, this trip? It was amazing. It was so needed. I was feeling so down about my friendships and my jobs and my house and pretty much everything except the pugs and Big Daddy. And this trip rejuvenated me.

We made the trip with two other couples. The W’s, Jeff and Heather, drove separately. B’s best man Aaron and his girlfriend Amber also came, and drove with us.

I got pretty over-excited when I saw the arch while driving in.

Like, windows-down excited.

That evening, we went to a wonderful fundraiser. It was in memory of B and Aaron’s fraternity brother Craig who tragically committed suicide. You can read this article from 2004 for more information. The fundraiser was held at a beautiful glass blowing studio / gallery in downtown Saint Louis. The money from the event went to the Craig Doss Memorial Scholarship.

We stayed with B’s friend Pat, who helped run the event. (The W’s didn’t know Craig or go to IU so they stayed with our friends the M’s for the night… more on that later!) The food and drinks at Craig’s fundraiser were amazing. It was great to meet some of B’s fraternity brothers from the area!!!

I wasn’t a great picture taker. NOT ONE of me and B. Luckily I took LOTS of me and Amber though.

And Amber and Aaron.

Oh and then we had a photoshoot in the car. I’ll just show you one.

It took about 10 camera flashes to get the guys in on the fun. I think I had to promise to stop taking pictures before they agreed to this.

The four of us went back to Pat’s for the after party. I got to meet his wonderful girlfriend Laura as well. Pat was in the Peace Corps in Fiji for two years, and that basically says a lot about the wonderful, giving, dedicated, caring person he is. Laura is no different! She was welcoming and so happy to have us in their home.

The after party was great but I didn’t make it but 20 minutes before I put myself to sleep. Way less embarrassing than my usual “I’m just resting my eyes” move that I try on B in bars. He knows those drunk, sleepy eyes.

The next day, us four went with Pat and Laura to meet with Craig’s parents. They have an area called Craig’s Cove where they honor his memory. They also take pictures of Craig’s friends, family, and supporters there, which they have in an album. We got our photo taken and heard lots of great stories about him.

Afterwards, we ventured to the M’s house. Brooke and Brian M used to live in Indianapolis as well. In fact, B went to Brian’s bachelor party the day after we met! They have a beautiful set of three-year-old boy & girl TWINS (clearly, I died) and a gorgeous, happy eight-month-old boy. Their home was something out of a magazine and I would like to hire Brooke to decorate our house. I’m pretty sure she could make it look at least 200 sq feet bigger and, oh, about a million dollars classier. It was really fun hanging out with Brooke and the babies! It made me a wee bit less trepidatious for when we decide to go that route. In a million and a half years. Maybe. Gah they are cute.

The foursome of men went golfing, and we head to Saint Louis Bread Company (aka Panera… it’s just called that there) with us three visiting ladies, Brooke, and the babes. Brooke then took the kiddos back home to nap while we went sightseeing. None of the three of us – Amber, myself, or Heather – had been to STL before! I was really happy to be a tourist for once, it’s been a while.

First stop? THE ARCH! Gilda (my Garmin) had a hard time helping us navigate the construction-riddled streets and we ended up in a, shall we say, crackhead-heavy area. Luckily they were all sleeping off their crack binges so we made it out safely. And then… the arch. Goodness. It was TALL.

They put you in some sort of Mork and Mindy egg capsule thing, packed full of five people. You become friends quickly. It was probably the most harrowing four minutes of my life.

At the top? Tremendous views. But even the floor is really arched!!!! I had a hard time getting myself balanced. The view from one side:

…and from the other:

After we were back safely on land, we drove to the Anheuser-Busch factory. You know, where they make beer.

We stopped first at Gus’ Pretzels across the street. Do not recommend. I received two cold, hard pretzels while Amber and Heather got warm soft ones. Why do you hate me, Gus?

The A-B (as I will call it because Anheuser is hard to spell) factory was pretty amazing. The free tour lasted an hour and ENDED WITH BEER.

We got to see Clydesdale horses… although it was sad because our guide Andrea made up their names. We heard her admit she didn’t know them, then called one Sam.

And an old delivery wagon:

Then there was the aging cellar where each barrel stores enough beer that to consume it all, you’d have to drink a case a day for well over 100 years. That’s like doing a case race daily. We all remember that time B and I won a case race and trust me, you couldn’t pay me to do that again. Let alone daily.

Then there was the AMAZING hop-themed chandelier that I would like in my home immediately. I love hops.

The brick architecture was so amazing. It almost made me forget that the whole campus smelled like a frat house basement that had been hosed down in beer and left to marinate all summer without air conditioning. Twice.

The end took us on trolleys… (yay for sitting down!)

…where we were supposed to see the bottling process, but it turns out it was down for maintenance. We got to watch a video instead… yipppee.

We went back to the M’s house and waited for the guys to get back. Personally, we were pooped. Beyond tired and nap-ready. We hoped the boys would want a night in.

They were exhausted too, but no such luck. I can’t blame them- the four are long-time friends who never get to spend time together. So B and I went back to Pat’s to shower up.

We clean up nice, do we not? I kept saying to B… “We’re MATCHERS!!!!”

I love me some Fiji. Pat is such an amazing friend to me and B!

We went to a place called Llywellyn’s for dinner. I had an amazing wrap and sweet potato fries. Oh and a Ranger IPA. Natch. I also got pictures of all the couples…

A & A or as I like to call them, the soon-to-be soon-to-be F’s. Since we’re all hoping for a proposal. Because they are so wonderful together!

The W’s, almost a month away from their one-year anniversary!

The M’s, who were, I’m sure, not only happy to see us, but happy to have a night off from three kids! (I may or may not have drunkenly begged them to babysit in the past, so I’m just happy I didn’t creep them out enough that I wasn’t allowed within 200 feet of their home.)

And B and Pat, since Laura couldn’t make it, which apparently makes them a couple.

No picture of me and B. I really need to get better at just asking people to take them!

After dinner, we went to a beer bar that had hundreds of beers. I had some german light-and-easy style beer that I forget the name of, and then a Framboise. Because it’s AWESOME. And decidedly girly but still delicious. The men agreed on both counts.

After a few drinks, everyone went to the Casino, except B, myself, Pat, and Laura (who had just joined us.) We weren’t in a gamblin’ mood and wanted to dive bar it up!

Dive bar it up we did. Hard.

So hard, in fact, that if you ask for an opener so you can shotgun a can of beer, you get not just that but a towel. Just in case.

This bar was called Sophie’s Place. How could we NOT take a picture! It’s our fawn pug baby’s name!

After that we headed back to Pat’s with frozen pizzas we had purchased… at the bar. I’m telling you, DIVE BAR is the way to go!

Like the night before, I may or may not have passed out and put myself to bed. Pat later told us that B fell asleep while being directly spoken to out on their porch. So yes, we are totally OLD BALLS.

Sunday morning, Pat and Laura cooked up an INSANE breakfast of eggs, toast, bacon, and hash browns. I actually died a little from delicious happiness. I loved spending time with them and catching up. Plus, they sent us home with jalapenos from their garden.

Amber and Aaron had spent the night at the M’s after the casino, so they popped over later and we begun our trip home.

I was exhausted. And stinky. And a wee bit shaky from all the drinking.

But so happy.

The two couples we went with are such wonderful people. The two couples we visited are welcoming, inspiring, beautiful and kind people. Saint Louis, you were invaded and it was successful!

What should state #26 be?

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20 responses

30 08 2010
LauraLou

So fun! And I already told you – Kansas!!

30 08 2010
EmilyB

Looks like you had a fab time in STL! Sometimes I feel weird asking people to take pics of me and Josh and I gotta get over that. I’m always taking pics of everyone else because it seems like NO ONE ever brings a camera. Lol I’ll stop before I have a soapbox moment.

Lol @ “…we ended up in a, shall we say, crackhead-heavy area. Luckily they were all sleeping off their crack binges so we made it out safely.” I’m waiting for the day this happens to me in DC. Nervous!

And I promise to love your conservative butt if you’ll love my liberal one πŸ™‚

30 08 2010
EmilyB

Oh, and state #26 should be a repeat of Maryland, which I saw on your list yesterday. Have you been to DC? It’s *kind* of like a state…

31 08 2010
Steph

Love this recap!!!! The Arch looks awesome – I wanna go so badly! Help me convince R!!! Um, and for #26, I think you and I should travel west to Utah, Salt Lake City, and Mrs. Happyhour can travel east to meet us there! πŸ˜€

Dude, props to you for taking it and letting us all know the real deal KJPugs!!! You know I’m your GOP friend…except I dislike the Palins. Otherwise, we’re on the same team! PS: Did you see Bristol is on DWTS this season?! Or did you see my most recent tweet?! πŸ˜‰

31 08 2010
Melissa

Go to Alaska (ps I like how you put all the states you’ve been to in alphabetical order)! Of course you’d probably have to wait until next summer of course but it’s a must go to state!

31 08 2010
Brandi

I think it’s so awesome that you answered those questions truthfully, even if no one else had your viewpoints. Go you!

So glad you had such a fun (and tasty!) weekend! But I also wish Florida wasn’t one of your 25 yet…!

31 08 2010
Jenell

Whew, I’m tired from reading that and I didn’t even go! I must do a brewery tour now, I have never been to a “real” one. I did one sucky one and only got three, three oz. samples of beer and we paid like $10. The beer was more expensive to buy there than it was at the store. Crazy. Man I miss the dive bars, there doesn’t seem to be too many here in Indy. Amen about the pictures, well first we need to get our camera fixed! Sounds awesome. I saw the Arch way back when I was little, but still remember looking down at the mighty Mississippi, thanks for those pics, takes me back!

31 08 2010
Twinner

You crack me up, Twinner! Your hair looks good! And blue is a great color on you!

Those pictures of the arch made me literally almost faint. Have I ever told you that I have a phobia of large/tall things? It’s called megalophobia. I don’t know if they have this in all states, or if this is just an embarrassing Oklahoma thing, but we have these HUGE windmills everywhere. And the blade thingys that spin around on them are like the size of a building. And they load these blades onto trucks and drive them down the highways at like 12 mph and THEY SCARE THE BEJEEZUS OUT OF ME. They are SOOO big! I also don’t like to stand at the base of tall buildings. And I am also afraid of cruise ships.

Hmmm… that went on longer than I meant for it to.

I’ll email you soon.

xoxoxo

31 08 2010
Hannah

I’m actually not a “liberal” I’m a Libertarian but I know a lot of conservatives that share my views on death penalty and abortion so don’t think you’re the only one out there! (Actually, I just hate people assuming I’m a liberal. I AM NOT A LIBERAL. Phew. Okay. Moving on.)

I am so glad you had a blast. I’d vote for somewhere out west or South Carolina. I love me some Charleston.

31 08 2010
Miss Puppy Love

OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG do you KNOW how exciting it was to read this considering STL is my homedigs?!?!?!

Gah.

Kay, first. I still get windows down excited every time I see the arch. Gorg. The lift they put you in is scarier than bungee jumping.

AB tour? Love it. Mostly love the free beer at the end and not the smell, fo real. STL loves it some AB.

How could you NOT go snap a few photos in front of Busch Stadium?! Or visit the **FREE** zoo. Sigh. Another time.

I’ve totally big to Sophie’s Place. πŸ™‚

31 08 2010
Stacy Marie

Ahhhh, you’ve got to call me the next time you’re in STL, we can hang out! I’ve never been to the brewery, but my did def went the morning of my wedding. That sucks that it smelled funny!

31 08 2010
Laura, your freakin' bestie!

Sounds like fun. Please come to Cali again. Thanks. <333

31 08 2010
Dancy

That looks like so much fun!! You know it’s gonna be a good time when there’s Natty Light involved – Hah! It’s sad, but soooo true! πŸ™‚

31 08 2010
Morgan

Wow, I never knew you could actually go up in the arch (shows how much I know about St. Louis!). And 25 states, that’s crazy! I’ve been to, uh, 6. Yeah….

31 08 2010
Nikki

OMG! I love St. Louis! It is one of my favorite places to go. Did you go to the Hill (the Italian section)? Hope you went to the zoo too! Its quite wonderful as well. Wish I could go there now!

31 08 2010
Lindsey

Oh how fun! I’ve never been but want to go now for sure. Did you see dalmatians at the beer factory? Andrew did when he went a few years ago! Also, I loved that you tagged your post “travel” and “alcohol!”

31 08 2010
Layla

TENNESSEE!

Meet you there!!

1 09 2010
MERgetsMRSed

It is insane that you got bad Gus’s! They are phenom!

2 09 2010
shelikesruffles

Looks like a good time indeed! Love the beer tour – awesome!!!!

14 09 2010
Clean Machine « kjpugs: ordinary in indiana

[…] this? Yea, I had let it go a bit, with our St Louis trip and some busy work weekends. But after two Hoarders episodes last night I really got on it and made […]

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