Day 5: St. Louis, Missouri Today was the first day we awoke in the same location where we will also sleep in the evening. Magoon had the best sleep she has had on the tour so far, due in part to her exchanging sleeping arrangements with Molhy for the night (couch for floor), and in part to the generator's silence through the night (we were pulling power the RV park and did not need it to cool the interior air). Since her vocals are the keystone to the band, we cannot afford for her to lose her health, so this news was a great relief to me. We have scheduled the remainder of the tour in such a manner that we will have at least one day each week where we will not have to run the generator, and we are free to explore an area without the added responsibility of travel. The plan for today was to explore the area before our evening show at the Gaslight, then spend the night back at the RV park.
From Magoon's own previous visits to St. Louis, she had a personal mission to eat a veggie burger from Kaldi Coffee, a plate which she found memorably delicious. I ventured in that direction with her and Molhy. As we walked the reasonable distance from the RV Park to downtown St. Louis, we marveled at the intricate designs decorating the brickwork: stone dragons fencing in a parking lot, a metallic frieze of monkeys in various positions, stained glass featuring medieval scenes of revelry, and a host of more abstract detail work adorned even the most mundane of establishments. Molhy broke off from the trio to explore the area while Magoon and I found Kaldi Coffee. We worked diligently on clerical (marketing) tasks for our upcoming performances on the patio outside of the cafe, next to a beautiful city park full of large sculptures, fountains, and children galavanting through the spraying waters.
At 1230 hours we met up with Molhy, Magoon and Dominick (not Captain for the day, due to the lack of captainly duties) at the Gateway Arch. Magoon, Molhy, and I rode the ferris-wheel-inspired pods inside the legs of the arch to the top, while McRage and Dominick found a nearby restaurant to sample some St. Louis cuisine and avoid the heights.
The museum attached to the famed monument to European westward expansion displays many sides of the migration and its effect on the previous inhabitants of the area. On subsequent visits to this city, I plan to allocate an hour's time to this informative, interactive museum, rather than simply passing through it after riding to the top of the monument. We reconvened at the entryway to the Arch at 1430 hours to meander further through the city.
We chose our next point of exploration based on Dominick and McRage's experience riding over to meet us in the morning. On the ride, they had passed by a school bus suspended halfway off the roof of a ten-story building. Dominick inquired to the driver of their vehicle as to the nature of the building, and the driver informed him that it was a museum worth seeing. All of us were intrigued to hear about the peculiar exhibit, and we walked through the city toward the attraction: City Museum. Molhy had a connection to someone who was able to gain us free entry to the place, and we are glad we did not miss it. City Museum is a place of wonder, seemingly sprung from the wild imagination of a fantasy author. As we rounded the corner from the front desk, we faced a whale that one could climb into the mouth of; timber structures with narrow staircases and tunnels at strange angles; and a network of spiraling iron tubes winding through vertical and horizontal space. We quickly realized there were children from 6-year-olds to teenagers disappearing into these tubes around and above us, and that some of the passageways continued through ceilings or walls that those outside the system of crawlspaces could not traverse. Molhy, Magoon and I found an entry point in a section of a shipwreck. Dominick and McRage, being too tall to climb through the tubes, followed as best they could through the main spaces and were kind enough to hold our gear. We soon lost Magoon, but Molhy, Dominick and I managed to reconvene on the second story. As we considered how we might communicate with our lost crew members, we turned into a room and spotted her halfway out of the ceiling in one of the spiral tubes, directly in front of us. There was some magic about the place such that when we separated, we would within a few minutes find another one of our group - McRage appeared in another chamber on the second story a few minutes later. The building is clearly meant to be climbed, with some areas completely inaccessible except in that manner. The fourth level led us to an enormous, purple-hued chamber that reached from caves in the sub-basement to the roof, with a pipe organ spanning several stories. Iron slides twirled down from the higher levels, flanked by narrow spiral staircases. On the roof we encountered a large, hollow dome with a rope hanging from the apex in a circular cage. Molhy and I scaled the dome and found ourselves on the top of the top of the building, with children sliding and climbing in all directions.
I highly recommend the experience of the City Museum, with necessary precautions if you plan to explore the tunnels, such as band-aids, hand sanitizer, knee-pads, and up-to-date tetanus shots.
We returned to the Tour Loaf for dinner and washing up before heading to our performance for the night at the Gaslight. During this time we also applied ourselves to solving new challenges that had arisen for our next stop on tour in Chicago. The plan to park next to our Chicago venue had fallen through, so I carried out plan B and reserved our place at the McCormick Place Truck Marshalling Yard: the one parking lot in Chicago fit and legal for high clearance vehicles, which I discovered thanks to Gone With the Wynns. We brainstormed how to transport equipment to and from the venue from this central location, and where the Captain's dog might stay during the concert, since we would not be able to simply leave her in the RV with the generator running just outside the venue.
We departed for the venue at 2000 hours, after going through our pre-departure checklist. Shortly after leaving the RV park, we realized there was one more item that needed to be added: all of our shower shoes were still sitting on the gravel in our RV parking spot.
At the Warehouse, we played for a small but enthusiastic crowd, including two of McRage's friends who had made the two hour trek from Columbia in our wake to see us. We shared the bill with two local St. Louis bands: Kvar Black and Circle the Wagons.
At the end of the night (12:30 hours), Dominick and I were exhausted. Though we had only a short ride back to the RV park, we resolved to find ways to avoid having to drive anywhere after shows in the future. We realized a gap in our planning: we had not accounted for rush hour when planning our driving hours for our upcoming trek to Chicago. In order to avoid the traffic, we would need to sacrifice some sleep, before the Captain is well-rested. After returning to the RV park (without running over our shower shoes), Molhy, McRage and Magoon took a relaxing swim in the pool and Dominick, the Ugly Bear and I quickly fell asleep.