Continuing on, I spied a shiny disc on the road, and stopped to discover a very beat up quarter. Half an hour later a familiar looking road sign appeared: St. Paul city limits.
Near O’Fallon I was getting hungry (again) and the GPS suggested the Main Street Diner. On my way into the downtown I passed through a concrete road paving project and got to see a “Commander III” at work. Once on Main Street I spied a hardware store, so I stopped again to inquire about white gas. Turns out they did have it, but only in gallon cans.
Leaving the hardware store I found Mary’s Cafe, and stopped in for two rounds of the lunch special: country fried steak and potatoes covered in gravy with green beens,
followed by chocolate & cheesecake mousse for dessert. The service was quick, the food was amazing, and both Mary (the owner) and Terry (the cook) were both interested in hearing about how “a little guy like [me] could eat so much”, so I told them about this trip, to much awe and amusement.
Thoroughly stuffed, I ventured outside, and then had a 15 minute argument with my GPS. Google Maps insisted it was 24 miles to the Dewey’s Pizza on North Kirkwood Road in St. Louis, while the GPS insisted it was 122 miles. I took several wrong turns before figuring out Google Maps was routing me down several bicycle trails the GPS knew nothing about. I had to make a U-turn and back-track several miles through suburban mall traffic before finding my way to the first of many bike paths.
Two hours later, I finally found my way to Kirkwood. Being a few minutes early, I looked around and discovered I had stopped right in front of Bicycles of Kirkwood, so I walked in and had a wonderful chat with Mike, the owner and his mother.
At Dewey’s Pizza I met up with two new old friends from Minneapolis, Brent & Katie, whom I’d serendipitously met on the first day of my bicycle tour along the Oregon Coast back in September (while I was just in Oregon for a week, they were riding from Seattle to Santa Barbra). We had a grand little reunion, and enjoyed a walnut-grape salad, mushroom pizza, and an Italian meats pizza, along with beers from St. Louis (Shlaflay) and Denver (Left Hand Brewing). Brent & Katie graciously invited me to stay with them; they had even brought the trunk rack for their car for my bicycle.
Brent & Katie were staying with Brent’s folks, John and Ruth, while visiting St. Louis, who were equally gracious in welcoming me into their home.