Alps' Roads Special - St. Louis Road Meet
|St. Louis Road Meet, March 15, 2014|
This may be the farthest I've ever driven in a single (long) weekend. I'm sure glad I did, because it turned into one of the "meets to end all meets." Before I get to that, it started with a long drive on I-80 to Ohio, then off at OH 711 for a clinch of US 422 to Cleveland. After poking around there, I left to the south on US 42 (and OH 421) to Cincinnati, then west on OH 264 to US 50. That was my ride through Indiana, after which I explored SR 441, Vincennes, and the Wabash Cannonball Bridge before backtracking to Washington and calling it a night. That far from St. Louis, the route to the meet was fairly straightforward, down the newly opened section of I-69 to I-64 through Illinois and Missouri to its end, then back on I-70 to the meet. Speaking of meet, anyone who frequented misc.transport.road back in the day knew of the partnership between one Jeremy Lance and one Tim Brown, and this road meet turned into a friend meet between the two:
Here's all the rest of us:
From left to right: Tim Brown, Steve Riner and wife (right to left for that pair), David Corcoran, Cody Goodman, Kim Harvey, Marc Welby, myself who likes cookies, Scott Davis, Sam Scholtens (hidden), Gene VanDusseldorp, Brandon Gorte, Laura Bianca, Brian Reynolds, Michael Gronseth, Scott Onson, A.J. Bertin, Oscar Voss. Not pictured: Jeremy, Doug Kerr (behind Steve Riner's wife), Cullen Wassell (behind Kim), Jason Ilyes (also behind Kim?). The "not pictured" was a premonition for how the meet went. I'm going to go with my immediate post-meet reflection as to the order of events and (annotate in parentheses).
The post-meet hangover was necessarily short-lived. The next morning, I headed east on I-70 through Indiana to pick up my clinch west of Indianapolis, and then switched to US 40 across Ohio. I followed a mix of 40 and I-70 east to Wheeling, then I-470 into West Virginia, I-70 to I-79 and into Pittsburgh for Primanti Bros., out I-376 to US 22 and up I-99 to I-80 and home. I would like to first thank Laura Bianca for accompanying me on this entire exhausting and fulfilling journey, especially considering she still had to drive home after I returned at midnight. I would like to thank host Kim Harvey and the whole meet crew for making this an unforgettable experience, as many issues as it may have had. Hey, when everything goes according to plan, it's kinda boring. But who can forget:
- Restaurant. We all made it there. Leftovers ended up with Doug, who handed them to me. My belly thanks you all.
- Catsup bottle (MO 159). We all made it there, eventually.
- Waterfront stop (I-70/Stan Musial Bridge views). I only know that four cars made it. "1st St." was not much of a street, and the other streets were similarly unsigned and haven't been paved in 60 years. It wasn't the worst view. I heard another car (Marc W) got a better view off of Broadway - probably more easily accessed. (Some cars were also harassed by homeless people gathered there...)
- Ted Drewes (MO 366). This is where the downtown traffic really got in the way. My understanding is only one car actually made it there - two others made it close (I was one) and the rest ended up at Chain of Rocks. My car, to my knowledge, was the only one to circle around and hit up the McKinley Bridge US 66 stub south of downtown.
- Chain of Rocks. We all made it here, though by the time the last car arrived (nearly an hour later), the first car already left.
- Hardin Bridge (IL 100/16). My car left Chain of Rocks early in order to use daylight, and made it up the ferry and the west side of the Illinois River. We stopped in Brussels (really nice town, incredibly out of the way) and had an hour of sunlight left as we came back down from there, allowing some scenic waterfront driving and some bonus highway mileage along IL 3 and IL 143 to IL 159. I believe there were 5 other cars. Three of them hit the ferry, went across, decided there wasn't enough daylight, and skipped the bridge to use the second (toll) ferry to Missouri. Two of them missed the ferry and ended up at the Hardin Bridge anyway, made the stop, and came straight back via IL 16 to IL 255.
- Steak 'n' Shake. At least 20 of us actually made it there (post-meet), and enough of us came inside to unsettle the waitstaff. That's when the majority split off to Italian (food). (A large number of us stayed in the same hotel for post-post-meet shenanigans.)
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