American Skid Marks
Setting out on a great American motorcycle roadtrip.

St. Louis

No riding today. I was on foot all day, wandering around St. Louis. This city is small, but I loved the downtown area, the arch and some of the surrounding neighborhoods. First, if you’re like me, you don’t look for places that are clean and tidy. Clean and tidy is the whore’s mask the government bureaucrats and corporate interest whitewash a city neighborhood with. Real folks don’t live in places like Rodeo Drive. I had the good fortune to have crashed in at a hostel in the Soulard neighborhood here in St. Louis. This is one of those neighborhoods that is experiencing a revival. If you come here now you’ll find the early stages of a gentrifying neighborhood; a neighborhood that has moved out of grit and seed but hasn’t yet been been inundated by yuppie scum like me. Soulard residents seem to live here because they love it, not because either it’s all they can afford nor because it’s the new trendy place to be. There is a heartbeat here that you can feel on the street.

Church in Soulard

Church in Soulard

Nearby is the Lafayette Square neighborhood. Here you can definitely smell the yuppies, but it’s still in the early stages of losing it’s soul. Who knows, if the residents here are careful, they might just be able to hang on to the guts of this place. Probably not though. I found a great little brewery here called Square One and enjoyed a sampler of local brew. If I were to speak plainly, I got drunk; I stumbled into this place after wandering around downtown and the arch. I was dehydrated, hungry and tired, and 20 oz of beer hit me harder than I expected. Before hitting the street for a nighttime tour of the city, I crashed out for a while at the hostel; the hostel manager looked askance at what surely looked like carelessly drunken behavior on my part.

Crumbling Building

We Demand Condos!

What of downtown and the St. Louis Arch. Both awesome. After breakfast in Soulard, I wandered downtown to the sculpture and water park. This is a great little mid-city green space with some cool art and fountains to cool off in.

Pinocchio Sculpture

Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me Geppetto?

Ring Sculpture

Downtown Sculpture

Head Sculpture


Kid playing in fountain

Kid Playing Downtown

Picture of self next to fountain

Cooling Off ...

Down toward the river, past the courthouse is ‘The Arch’. Reflective steel plated arms reach up overhead; this thing is so large that it turned out to be difficult to photograph in a single piece.

St. Louis Arch

St. Louis Arch

Artsy  Arch Photo

Oooooh ... Artsy

The ride to the top was definitely worth the $10 admission fee. The view toward the city is dramatic and expansive.

View From the Arch

Downtown View From The Arch

On the ride down, I started chatting with a woman who was crammed into the tiny cylinder of an elevator car with me. Kayla and her husband Kevin turned out to be bikers as well. They were riding through the Midwest and to see Kayla’s daughter graduate from … lemme see if I get this right … Military Police School. They also invited me to stay with them in near Tampa Bay, Florida. Fifteen minutes spent chatting and they invite me to crash at their house? That’s very cool.

Kayla and Kevin

Kayla and Kevin

After my beer nap, I headed out to see some music. A number of bars between Soulard and The Arch were hosting live music tonight. I headed straight for the first loud outdoor music I could hear. The Broadway Oyster Bar was hosting a blues band. I ate deep fried fish, drank more beer and listened to some great music. I walked down to The Arch to get a look at it at night, I tried making shadow puppets with the floodlights that illuminate it at night and I laid in the grass underneath it, staring up until a park ranger kicked me out. I walked down 2nd street back to Soulard, along what felt like the sketchiest part of St. Louis at that time of night.

I’m back on the bike tomorrow, riding what will be the first of a two day ride to Nashville. I had planned to stop about half way between St. Louis and Nashville, but I think I’ll push a bit further tomorrow so that I can arrive early the next day and see the town a bit. I’m finding that if I pull into a place at six or seven in the evening, I don’t really have time to explore.


One Response to “St. Louis”

  1. Yay! Now with pictures!

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