April 14, 2009 GMT
ST Louis

A smallish clean city and very quiet. Easy to get around.

Sunday 12th April Ė Show me the way to St Louis (by Paul)

Just to briefly re-cap on last night. We drove down to Beale Street which is the social focal point of Memphis. The place was jumping. Saturday night in downtown Memphis, Tennessee. Every restaurant, pub and alley way had some form of entertainment going down. From smooth soul to jazz to rock and roll. It was pumping out all up and down the place. Something to watch out for, should you decide to come by here, is the scavengers. They are all over the place wanting monetary handouts ďto buy some foodĒ. They will use any means to win you over. Show you were there is a working ATM, where the best ribs are or how lovely your lady is etc etc. No I didnít have a lady (lovely or otherwise). Generally, Iíve been too damned tired to even bother.

So you can wander up and down Beale Street and it is going to be pot luck where you eat. We found a restaurant that was pretty quiet and sat down to a beaut meal of Southern style dry ribs. I thoroughly enjoyed them, Steve wasnít overly impressed.

One thing that did impress us was the bridge over the Mississippi River. The top of it is shaped like an M and is lit at night so that the M is highlighted. Donít know if it is M for Mississippi or Memphis. The city of Memphis is split in two, Memphis and Memphis West with the mighty Mississippi providing a natural border line. Memphis is in one state - Tennessee and Memphis west in another state - Arkansas. I donít know how they get Ar Kansas to sound like Arkansaw, but that is how itís pronounced.

One of the things that struck me riding through Arkansas was that it so very flat - green but flat. Today should have been a relatively easy ride of 4hr 30mins roughly. Unfortunately, it was another really tough day. The winds howled again and I was down on the tank. Another day of fighting the wind and changing lanes without doing anything. When we stopped for fuel somewhere, the attendant informed us that the whole area is renowned for itís tornadoís and big big winds. Itís just one big corridor. What really annoyed me was these guys riding the really heavy Honda Goldwings and the heavy Harleyís. They seemed to be able to sit upright without being affected by it. Grrrr. Hate them. LOL.

One thing I hadnít considered before leaving Memphis this morning was the fact that we had gone south to avoid the snow and extremely cold conditions. This afternoon heading up here, the temperatures were dropping rapidly. I had a light T-Shirt from my Sydney Harbour Bridge climb on, a light pullover and my riding jacket. Thank God, Bill had loaned me his jacket. Even with that on, I was still getting cold.

Eventually, Steve pulled into a Mexican restaurant for a very late lunch (about 3pm). We ordered our food and I got a heart warming brandy to get the heart going again. The woman (a native Mexican)who owns the place is so excited that some people from Australia have come to her little restaurant and keeps saying ďthatís so coolĒ. Unfortunately, she wasnít excited enough to give us a decent discount on our meal. Two of the staff came out to see us off.

I think all this driving is starting to tell on Steve. He had to pull over on the side of the highway for a sleep this afternoon and is already in bed at 7pm tonight Ė it must be such hard work having to sit in a nice warm car (with heated seats) and talking endlessly with his girl. People from Sydney are just so soft. ;-)

One chain of hotels that weíve found to be very good is The Hampton Inn. They seem to be in most places and are very clean and comfortable.

Oh, I nearly forgot...... Itís his turn to be paid out on. LOL. This morning after a refuelling stop, at some little town we were heading back to the highway, when all of a sudden Stevie decides that he is back in the Land of Oz and he is driving on the left hand side of the road. Uh oh!! Thereís a car coming towards him and he still hasnít seen it. Iím blowing the bikeís horn but he is too infatuated with his companion that he is oblivious to everything around him including the on coming car. All of a sudden a light goes on in his head and he is back on the correct side of the road and misses the turn off. I make the turn and sit and wait for the wayward one. When he finally gets back to where I am, Iím cracking up laughing and all he can do is shake his head in disbelief. Iíve been waiting for him to do it. Good one old fella.

Monday 13th April Ė St Louis (by Paul)

A wet and cool day greets us as we step out for our walk down to the big arch. We notice as we step out of the hotel grounds that the FBI has hastily set up an office across the road from where we are staying.

From ST Louis
Come to think of it, I did notice those black vehicles peeling off every so often as weíve been driving around. Iíve watched the tele shows, I know what they look like.

We progress down Market Street and itís a nice wide open street.

From ST Louis
Another thing that has impressed us, has been the cleanliness of their cities. Even New York. The city is really well laid out in square blocks and they employ similar street numbering as a lot of the other cities with the numerical approach. It makes it so much easier to get a feeling where you are and how far youíve got to go. Another thing Ė NO graffiti anywhere!! I saw one train carriage with a bit.

We make our way down to the major attraction on the banks of the Mississippi. It is a 630 foot high stainless steel arch.

From ST Louis
It is known as the Gateway Arch and is a memorial to the explorers who opened the western frontier from St Louis thus making St Louis the commercial trading hub of the 1800ís. Inside the arch, you have a Ďtramí that runs up the arch to the very top where you can alight and take photos of the city.
From ST Louis
It is truly an engineering marvel. If you want to know more about how itís built let me know and Iíll forward the information Ė how does it stay upright?
From ST Louis
From ST Louis

From here we just wandered town for a while and then headed over to do a FREE tour of the Budweisser brewery which finished with free pretzels and beers.

From ST Louis

St Louis is the only city weíve found so far that has Casinoís. There are three of them and they are all big suckers... surprise surprise. There are no pokies etc in any of the pubs etc over here. Gotta be a good thing.

Ok, that's it for today. I'm off to breaky and then we are aiming down the old highway Route 66 towards Oklahoma. Ciao

Posted by Paul Brealey at April 14, 2009 12:42 PM GMT
 
 

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