By Cameron McKirdy
I’m on vacation. Calories and money are of no concern to me. I’m getting after it, but this bed is really comfy. I’m staying with friends in Alton, IL.
I flew out of Portland. But not before I got molested by the TSA. Of course I opted out of the naked body scanners again, always will. Everyone else submitted and got radiated. My enhanced pat down took forever. The TSA didn’t know how to handle me. 10, maybe 15 minutes passed before I even got felt up. What a tease! The old officer slowly stroked my buttocks, in between my legs, and everywhere else. ‘Merica!
My flight was delayed, so I had Patrón. Boarding the plane sucked. I didn’t check in early with Southwest, so I had to sit at the back of the aircraft. It was a bumpy 4.5 hour ride. We had a rough landing too. I knew we were coming in hot, and sure enough we smashed down going way too fast.
A $30 cab ride later to the Sax hotel, and this was my epic view. It’s a crappy pic, but you can make out the famous Chicago sign in the distance. My room was right above The House of Blues. I enjoyed room service; deep dish sausage pizza, a cookie platter, and beer. I lounged around in a robe, and watched Hoarders on TV. I also planned out the next day, checking maps, and business reviews.
In the morning I stashed my Kelty Red Cloud backpack in a locker at Union Station. It used fingerprint identification as a key. It was $5 an hour to rent a big locker. Breakfast was a green smoothie and a shot of wheatgrass at Jamba Juice, and a fatty turkey sandwich and dark roast coffee at Panera Bread. After that, I was on a mission to see all I could. I went to the Willis Tower, formerly the Sears tower, but going to the top was pointless, because there was no visibility. A beautiful Alexander Calder sculpture moved fluidly in the lobby.
Later, I went to Navy Pier, but most of the attractions were closed. It was rainy and foggy. Next stop was the Contemporary Art Museum of Chicago. The main exhibit featured artists creating around the time of WW2. So the many of the works were intentionally damaged by the creators to express the ravages of war. Canvases were cut, ripped, burned, and pierced.
After digesting Art at the museum, I mobbed to Millennium Park to check out “The Bean” sculpture. It’s massive. Viewing Chicago in the distorted reflection was wondrous. I want to make a giant abstract work of Art. My city sucks when it comes to embracing artists, and modifying the environment. Chicago has style. It has good eats and brews too. Before taking the train to Alton, I dined with fellow pro eater Patrick Bertoletti. We threw down grub at Tilted Kilt, and smashed local beers at Rudy’s.
There’s nothing like waking up and going to a candy shop. My friends and I drove to Crown Candy in St. Louis, the King of malts. For 100 years they’ve challenged the public to drink 5 malts in one-half hour. I would have tried it, but there was a long line pouring out the door, and they don’t offer the food feat when they’re slammed. So I ordered a turkey bacon melt, and chocolate banana malt. I went with two girls, so naturally I ended up eating most of their food too.
After nearly blacking out from overdosing on calories, we ventured to the St. Louis City Museum. It’s a funhouse! You wouldn’t believe how extravagant it is. The place is a maze of caves, slides, and hidden passageways. Outside there’s a playground, that looks more like a death trap. It’s made of airplanes, fire trucks, and rebar. I nearly got stuck turning around in this suspended steel tunnel.
Next stop was downtown STL. The City Garden was impressive. There’s lots of Art, including a huge screen you can see yourself on. And there were sculptures of bunnies, next to real wild bunnies. It got me in the mood. Love is in the Spring air. Next we prefunked at the Oyster Bar near Busch Stadium. I devoured alligator nuggets. Then we went to the Brewers and Cardinals game. They gave out free Stan Musial harmonicas remembering The Man. They are already selling for more than $50 online. Our seats were in the Bank of America suite. The bank sucks, but I had access to endless food, and all the beer and wine I wanted. The Cards won.
My peeps just took me to Confluence Towers. This is began Lewis and Clark started their epic journey, and where the Missouri and Mississippi rivers converge. The view is vast, but the tour guide pointed out the landfill first. I paid $4 for the view. Next was an interpretive center at Camp River Dubois. This is where Lewis and Clark trained for their trek. My pictures include the Captain’s quarters, and a replica of the keelboat complete with gear they spent months stockpiling. It’s all fascinating. I got souvenirs, and a great book I’m reading called Undaunted Courage.