Meet Me in St. Louis

 

Once we knew we had a generator problem, Jim found a place in St. Louis to get it fixed, CK Power. We found a park in St. Charles where we could plug in which happened to be conveniently located on the Katy Trail. Bonus!

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Whole lotta generators here.

Our appointment was on Monday morning at 7:00 AM so we made the short trip there. The guys identified the problem as the oil pressure switch right away, but naturally they had to order the part, which would arrive on Wednesday. Back to St. Charles and more bike riding. The part arrived and they installed it in no time flat. Time to get back to the fun stuff.
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Our plan was to move to the Walmart in South St. Louis for a few days where we could get in a visit with my good friend Sandy and my sister, Cherie, who both live close by. I guess we shoulda checked our Walmart directory since St. Louis County does not allow overnight parking.

Plan B: The Elks Lodge in Oakville. It is farther away but St. Louis is not a real RV friendly town. Good thing we got the generator fixed since they only had 15 amp power. The lodge is right on the Mississippi in a large green area with mature trees and deer. And they just take a donation instead of the $45 as night at the park in St. Charles. We had the place to ourselves.
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We made a plan to get together with Sandy and Carl for dinner. About an hour before she arrived, a car pulled up alongside the bus. I figured they were going to take a picture. Sure enough, the window rolled down and WAIT! It’s my sister Cherie! Woo Hoo! When we had to switch to Elks Plan B, I was afraid it would be too far for her to drive since she is scheduled for cataract surgery this month. Her husband brought her out before he headed to a meeting. I knew Sandy was coming so we arranged to take her back home when we went to meet Carl.
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What a nice surprise! We visited and got caught up. I think the last time we saw each other was before my mom died and that was four years ago. Cherie is a proud friend of Bill W and has been for over 36 years! She is very involved with meetings and has given a hand up to many folks in the program. She has a sweet and compassionate nature and is good at putting people at ease. I am proud of her. She was worried that she might interrupt cocktail hour. Ha! She is enjoying her retirement, traveling, walking her little dog and looking forward to getting back to reading after her surgeries. We had a great visit!

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When Sandy showed up the party was in full swing. Sandy and I have known each other since sixth grade. I lost track of her until Facebook and we have really enjoyed being reconnected. She has worn many hats in her career, including being a CPA and a real estate agent but she recently retired from her letter carrier job with the Post Office. Since she is used to walking 10 miles a day, she is not inclined to just sit around. She and Carl bought bikes and she has been riding every day! She is now in training for next year’s Bike Across Missouri. With the addition of bicycling to her life, we had more than enough topics to discuss.

One day she rode the 12 miles out to the Elks and we rode back to their house with her to meet Carl for dinner again. This time Pueblo Solis was open. We had to ride about three miles on the roads before we got to the trail at Jefferson Barracks but they have bike lanes. Sandy is a champ urban bike tour guide. I had offered to ride to meet her but would have gotten hopelessly lost.


She lives in a great little neighborhood in south St. Louis and they have done extensive work on their house to make it livable for them, their two dogs, two cats and Peppy the parrot.

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We got to her house right before the rain did.


Sandy and Carl and I all went to high school together. They dated once then but didn’t get hooked up again until the 20th, OOPS corrected 40th! annual reunion. The chemistry was right that time.  They got married after Sandy and I reconnected so it was fun to see that develop. And Carl and Jim have the same birthday, same year.
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Sandy wanted us to stay for a month but we gotta get to Chattanooga again to have a seal on the engine replaced. As my friend Linda said “The Mighty Bus rules.” She was right.

The morning we decided to leave we packed it all up and got ready to roll. We planned to meet at the nearby casino for brunch and because I left my camera and water bottle at their house the day we biked over. I told Jim I think that is the only time my camera and I have been apart since I’ve had it, over 10 years! Another excuse to get together.

However… Once we got everything ready to go, the bus wouldn’t start. It sorta cranked then nothing. Jim immediately diagnosed the start batteries and tested them. Sandy and I had been messaging and when I told her it wouldn’t start she texted back that they were coming over with doughnuts! I made a pot of coffee and ate the first doughnut I have had in about eleventy years.

We could have started and driven the bus to Advance Auto, where our checkbook got exercised once again, but Carl offered to drive Jim to the store. We now are the proud owners of four new start batteries.  Sandy and I filled the time going over our high school yearbooks where it turns out we were side by side for our senior year.
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And my friend Pat who we visited earlier this year. I have known him since fourth grade. And I have known my sister for my entire life.
Sandy took Carmella on a walk while the guys were getting the batteries. She’s a real animal lover and Carmella knew it.
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Jim drew a diagram and we took pics to get new batteries wired correctly.

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Finally time to leave. Parting is such sweet sorrow.

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So happy to see these guys

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Sandy livens things up

We had so much fun with these guys. We have to make sure to see them more often.
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This turned out to be a great stop. We got to visit friends and family, ride bikes and get two problems solved, one of which we didn’t know we had. In a few days we will head to Chattanooga to get the engine seal replaced.

But first… Another trail we found in Southern Illinois, the Tunnel Hill Trail. Time for some downtime.

 

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