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Last week my Brother-in-law Jeff and I continued our trek around the country to visit Major League Stadiums. We began the adventure in St Louis where Jeff and my sister Randy live. While in St Louis the three of us hiked the Lone Wolf Trail in Castlewood State Park (We didn’t see the lone wolf). stlouis9  The trail follows the Merrimack River which was in the news last month when it flooded the greater St Louis area. Stlouis7  (This is a photo of the interchange that leads to my sister’s house, during the flood.) The river was back in its usual place as we walked along the bluff overlooking the Merrimack. stlouis13stlouis12 Down on the level of the river we found the steps that once led to a resort. stlouis11  In the ‘olden days’ the wealthy folk of St Louis would ride the train out-of-town to this spot, climb the stone steps and enjoy the relaxation offered by the resort.

My niece, Kendra, Stlouis5  and her partner, Peter treated all of us to a fabulous hamburger at a place named ‘Stacked’. Stlouis6 If you ever get to St Louis give this place a try. The burgers are huge (8 oz) and stacked. stlouis10Stlouis3  You may purchase menu items or stack your own burger at this fun eatery. Thanks, Kendra and Peter!

We stopped to gather supplies at the grocery store where we met a most interesting man! Stlouis

Jeff and I headed for Kansas City early the next morning to catch a day game against the Orioles. When we had traveled ‘about as fer as we could go’ we found a parking space and purchased our tickets. KC3  We were in the nose bleed section but right behind home plate in beautiful Kauffman stadium. KansasKauffman  Before the game we were wandering around exploring the stadium when Jeff ran into his old posse.KC2  It was one of those days when we met folks from previous chapters in our lives. I stumbled across one of my old girl friends, Minnie (short for Medusa). KC1  She was a beautiful girl, once. (At least I remember her as a beautiful girl!)

That evening we enjoyed the complementary meal and drinks (Tequila Sunrises and Margaritas) at the Drury Inn before leaving early the next morning for Denver, Colorado.

Six or seven weeks later (I exaggerate) we arrived at the halfway point between Kansas City and Denver in the town of Quinter, population 940 (named after a minister, James B. Quinter). Jeff and I were not aware of this little fact (we both are recovering ministers!) when we stopped to partake of a milkshake at the Old Fashioned Soda Fountain in town. Kansas5Kansas3  In the interest of being transparent, neither Jeff nor I could remember the name of the town when I was beginning to write this blog entry. I thought the name of the town began with a ‘G’. Jeff thought the name began with an ‘O’. Our fuzzy memories probably had something to do with the Margaritas and Tequila Sunrises we consumed the evening before?

After our brief visit to Quinter we again headed west toward Denver and some very ugly storm clouds (the next day the Midwest was hit by several tornadoes). After checking in to our motel we headed for the stadium and found the parking lot with very little difficulty. The razing began immediately. The parking attended seeing my Pirate shirt commented, “There’s something wrong with your shirt!” Jeff got much more grief because he was wearing his Red Sox cap and a Royal’s windbreaker. I informed folks when they questioned him that he was a Tampa Bay fan. The shuttle driver assured us that she was an equal opportunity driver and fans of any team were welcome.

On the ride to the stadium we, of course, engaged in conversation with the other riders who soon learned we didn’t have tickets. Sitting next to us was an emergency room nurse studying to be a Physicians Assistant and her artist husband. During our brief introductions the artist looked at Jeff and asked, “Where we in jail together?” Jeff and I liked this couple immediately. Anyway, they had two extra tickets and offered to sell them to us for $20. We accepted! No one was interested in loaning me a $20! I guess friendliness only goes so far. We all ‘de-bused’ and Jeff and I took a tour of fabulous Coors Stadium. Rockies Along the way we bumped in to ‘Teke II’. Rockies2 The guy looked a whole lot like Kent Tekulve (Pittsburgh reliever in the 70’s). Rockies5  We had a great time talking about the Pirates.

We then arrived in left center just as the pitchers were finishing their sprints. Rockies3 Those two pitchers are Mark Melancon the closer and reliever Arquimedes Camiero. Arquimedes is struggling this year but he still has the coolest name in Major League Baseball.

Near game time we found our seats next to the friends we had met on the shuttle bus and settled in for a good time with some good people. Rockies9  The lightening began striking in the second inning and soon after the rain arrived over the stands behind the first base line. We saw it coming but were so awed by what we were seeing that we watch the approaching rain until it was in the section next to us. A little late, we headed for the protection of the grandstands where the party was already underway. Rockies7 Jeff and I met Jeff Smith a retired professional bowler and his son-in-law during the party. Rockies6 He (Jeff the bowler) regaled us with bowling tour tales to while-away the time until the game started again. How cool is that?

The game restarted and the Pirates won. Unfortunately, My Jane had a medical emergency back in Pennsylvania and ended up in the hospital. Jeff was great at guiding me through the airline ticket exchange process so I could leave Denver the next morning to join My Jane. Jeff drove straight through from Denver to St. Louis after dropping me at the airport. He is such and animal!

So, Jeff and I didn’t get to visit the Negro Leagues Baseball Stadium as planned but My Jane is now alright and we can get back to Kansas City another time. Our baseball trips continue to provide lots of memories on our shared life journeys. I hope you are also making some great memories on your life journey.