Updated: Jul 20, 2019
Day 4: Lawrence, Kansas to St. Louis, Missouri
The morning routine in Lawrence was luxurious, as Nef's house was available for making eggs and showering. We embarked at 1030 hours. We tried out the new location of our sound bar (from above the Captain's chair to the space between the his and my areas at the front of the Tour Loaf), which worked much more effectively for music enjoyment of the crew as a whole. "On the Road Again" accompanied us out of Lawrence. Our first stop was a refuel, two hours after departure, which we chose based on the reliable suggestions of Gasbuddy.com. Our resource performed well and led us to the most affordable petrol station in the area, albeit a questionably advertised one. There, McRage and the Captain washed the front windows - an activity which I expect we will need to undertake daily. These are the only windows that we could not fully wash with the on-the-shoulders technique we had practiced the day prior, and the most crucial for the Captain's visibility. We then continued in an easterly direction to our rendezvous point with the oldest childhood friend of McRage, who resides in Columbia, Missouri.
During this leg of the journey, we reviewed our departure checklist, expanding it to include wallets, phones, and water bottles for all crew members. We reviewed the set up and tear down routine for our shows as well, adding a few considerations for the Merchandise Setup and ledger (Molhy's domain), as well as post-performance logistics. We landed on a plan of Magoon and myself going immediately to the merchandise table to chat with audience members, while the remaining crew loads up the RV with gear, in a three person assembly line: McRage on the ground, Molhy at the door inside the motorhome, and the Captain packing instruments and speakers tightly into the shower and closet space in their pre-defined configuration. Magoon handed out the week's dining stipend ($25 each) in preparation for a meal out in the city at our destination for the evening. McRage pored over lyrics for his nascent solo album, at his post behind the First Mate's chair (mine). The whole crew has learned the folly of sitting at the kitchen table to write while the Magic Tour Loaf is in motion - after I lost my breakfast on Day 2, Magoon had a nauseating experience at the table on a subsequent leg, and that was all it took for us to learn the collective lesson. The working title of McRage's album is "Past Romances, Failed and Successful, but Mostly Failed." The Captain's dog has become comfortable after the first few days on the journey, and is now eating well. She has befriended the stuffed bear tour mascot, dubbed Bearnard McMerchberry. Bearnard, who sports the band logo on his diminutive t-shirt. We have been placing Bearnard amongst the merchandise at our shows in hopes that his considerable charm will induce those perusing to purchase one of our freshly-manufactured, human-sized FlecHaus tees.
In Columbia, McRage broke off from the group to spend some time with his friend, and the rest of us set to collecting a few more supplies. The mattress topper for the Tour Loaf's loft bed was replaced with a Tempurpedic model, and we stealthily disposed of the old one in a commercial dumpster. We collected a few more drawer organizers from Bed, Bath, and Beyond. These have surprising value in a motorhome, since items left haphazardly in drawers tend to shift more dramatically than in a stationary dwelling. We also procured a durable zipper pouch to hold paper currency and coin during the sale of our merchandise. Molhy, Magoon, and I performed our individual calisthenic activities at Planet Fitness, where McRage later met up with us. Once the crew was fully refreshed, we departed for St. Louis, Missouri: Gateway to the American West. While Lawrence, Kansas is the geographical center of the United States of America, our destination for this evening claims the role of serving as a key European settlement at the convergence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, for Old World immigrants heading further west in the controversial Expansion and exploration of the "undiscovered" frontier. I look forward to learning more about the early settlement and its role during our time in the city tomorrow. We traversed the remaining miles between Columbia and St. Louis in three hours, arriving at 1900 hours. We had reserved a parking space at St. Louis RV park, which was a very welcome home for the crew after our first days on the road. None of us has ever stayed in an RV park, but it seems to be essentially a cross between a hotel and hostel, with amenities such as a swimming pool, a sun deck, showers and bathrooms - the main difference is that you "bring your own room." We used the remaining daylight to partake in an education in the various hoses and hookups for the motorhome, courtesy of Van, the co-owner of the establishment.
As dusk fell, we took a nighttime excursion on Magoon's recommendation to a restaurant called Evangeline's. She craved their legendary mussels, which she had tasted on a previous journey to St. Louis, and we sat on the restaurant patio enjoying each other's company. After dinner, we stumbled upon to a remarkable Arcade Bar called Up Down, the likes of which I have never seen! The two-story, labyrinthine space held not only bars to order alcoholic beverages, but skee ball, pinball machines, my beloved Dance Dance Revolution, retro arcade games, racing games, and more. The spacious enclosed patio featured human-sized Jenga blocks and Super Smash Bros projected on a wall, a bar, and shuffleboard. If I had heard the idea for such a place, I would have deemed it genius but disbelieved its existence.
Unfortunately, the Captain was not as enthused about the place as me, and we disagreed on how much time to spend there. We departed before I could fully take in its grandeur, and I vowed to myself that I would return some day.
Back at the RV Park, I went immediately to sleep, while some of the others swam in the pool, which is open all night. If I hadn't been so exhausted, I would have joined them - it sounds like a fittingly relaxing way to wind down for the evening after so much travel and exploration. Next Captain's Log Previous Captain's Log