Saturday, May 23, 2015



This blog features our day trip into St. Louis on May 18 to see the huge brewery and the Union Station.

The brewery had several tours, one free and others at very limited times to see parts of the facility not ordinarily seen. 

The brewery occupies 120 acres near downtown St. Louis, close to  the Mississippi River. The buildings are of uniform architecture – all brick with similar trim.


Above and below are scenes in the room for folks to gather for tours. Is the nicely restored delivery truck a Chevrolet?

Below is part of the display of containers for all of the different beers made there . I had not realized that there were so many.



The first stop on our tour was the stables for a few of the Budweiser Clydesdales. While the brewery owns about 200, they maintain just three hitches of six horses each. It was mandatory that folks taking the tour be pictured here, and at the hospitality room we were offered prints for $20.

Form here we were taken to the” Beechwood Aging” room mentioned  on the cans. Beer is stored in large vats containing strips of Beechwood for secondary aging of 3 weeks.


Here are the Mash Tanks, the second step in the brewing process on the diagram below.


The next stop was a lecture room where the info on the sign was explained about the brewing process. Here we were given a small glass of Bud Light.

On the way out we were given a wooden token for a glass of beer at the hospitality room, below. About 16 of their beers were on tap. Jo and I shared a glass and a hamburger for lunch there.

 I have taken tours of a lot of breweries , and I would rate this one as a C. The Coors tour in Golden  CO shows much more of the brewing process and explains it well.



I am partial to tours showing the bottling process as I worked about a month one summer at a small brewery in Milwaukee on the bottling line.





This is part of the block-long St. Louis Union Station built in 1894.  The station was closed  in 1978 and reopened in 1985 as a hotel,with restaurants, offices and shops  The back side is shown below.


In its heyday 100,000 persons per day passed through this area going to and from passenger trains, seeing off and picking up passengers.




This is the Great Hall, originally the waiting room, now a very large  lounge for the hotel.  It is managed by DoubleTree.  



Behind the building in the area formerly used for passengers to get on or off their trains is a mall with all kinds of specialty shops, mainly eateries.


Across the street is a large reflecting pool with anatomically correct statuary.


This museum on 129 acres on the west side of St. Louis  has an extensive collection of railroad equipment, perhaps 25 automobiles, one airplane (C 47 “Gooney Bird”) and a tug boat. Museum additions have been built beginning in 2006, including new buildings for a visitors center and to house its automobile collection, and a miniature train to take visitors on a short ride. We visited it on May 15. A gully washer storm dumped a lot of rain on us, so we had to cut the visit short after an hour,  just as I was getting to the interesting part of the display of some 70 locomotives.



At the right is a Traffic brand truck made in the St. Louis area. Its popularity was based on its being cheaper to buy than competing trucks of similar size.

At the left is a Moon touring car. 



This is Chrysler’s turbine car, said to be the only one in operating condition on public display. It will run on anything combustible, fortunately including gasoline! Under the hood shown below is the turbine.




Now on the to the locomotives! This is the museum’s oldest, made when Abraham Lincoln was President. The  pistons are inside the frame in the black boxes on top of the front truck, so the rods driving the wheels also are inside the frame.



This is a White school bus converted to run on rails, a design inspired by the Rio Grande Southern Galloping Goose motor units.

Heavy rain at this point of my tour prevented me from getting pictures of other notable locomotives here – General Motors’ diesel locomotive A-B set built in the late 1930s to demonstrate the advantages of diesel-electric power over steam, a steam locomotive of the unusual Camelback configuration, a Forney tank engine used to pull elevated trains in Chicago, and a  Union Pacific “Big Boy”, the largest  successful steam locomotive. Passenger cars also were shown.

I did not see any narrow gauge equipment.


I suspect that many of the railroad locomotives and cars at the museum have received only cosmetic restoration. Lots of unrestored railroad cars are in a structure off limits to visitors. Restoration probably is done only by volunteers, so it is a lengthy process.


On May 8 – 11 we visited Branson MO to take in some shows. In order they were:  Patsy Cline Remembered, Pierce Arrow, Dixie Stampede, and Dublin’s Irish Tenors with the Celtic Ladies. Branson has nearly 40 venues for shows, and in some three or four different shows may be put on during a week. For example, in the Hamner Variety Theater (below) Patsy Cline Remembered is on 5 matinees per week with a different morning show and an evening show, plus a Sunday morning worship service. The shows are clean in language and theme (no strippers or bawdy comics). The performers meet the audience in the lobby after the show. There are practically no shows on Sunday and many venues are dark on Mondays as well.



Here we saw the tribute show  Patsy Cline Remembered. The singer was C J Newsom. She did not try to look like Patsy Cline.



She had about 4 costume changes and sang numbers associated with contemporaries of Patsy Cline as well as the most popular Patsy Cline numbers. Both her show and others had patriotic numbers. It was too bad that there were less than 40 people in the audience. We both enjoyed the  show.








Next was Pierce Arrow. For our performance they were missing one of their regular singers, but a member of the band pinch hit for the missing one. The singer at the right for 18 years held the Guinness Book of Records record for the lowest note sung. They did modern music, none of which was familiar to me.


Our third show was a dinner show, Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede. Attendees were encouraged to show up 50 minutes before the show for a pre-show. Below, the star of the preshow was this young man juggling up to 9 balls at a time, some behind his back. In this natural light shot the slow shutter speed of the camera resulted in some of the balls appearing  elongated.




No  pictures were permitted during the dinner or show, so all I can show here is the arena where the horses and  riders performed, plus the seating for dinner and watching the show. People sat at a long table preset with plates and bowls. The waters walked in the passageway in front of the long table to distribute  the food – a beverage, roll, soup, a small barbecued foul called a chicken but probably a Cornish game hen, a slice of pork loin, a short piece of corn on the cob, a piece of baked potato and an apple turnover. All was to be eaten without knife, fork or spoon!





Our last show was the Irish singers. Above are the four Celtic Ladies and below are the five tenors.  They performed not only traditional Irish songs but show tunes and even some opera numbers. The lady at the far left must have had opera voice training. We both enjoyed this one. But I was a little disappointed that all of the singers used hand held microphones rather than wearing the small microphones on their heads.


Friday, May 1, 2015


Five couples and one guest attended the April  21 – 24 campout at the Riverside RV park in Winterhaven CA, just across the river from Yuma AZ. The park was spacious with full hookups (50 amps). The park is just south of I 8, 3 to 4 miles west of Yuma. Fortunately, the weekend was comfortably cool.




The mature trees shaded the backs of our rigs but did not interfere with satellite TV reception. From left to right,  the rigs shown are ours, Holzes, Fusts, Williams and (out of sight) the Stones.


On Thurs. Herb Fust and I took a ride to downtown Yuma. Neither of us had been there before. It is across the tracks and freeway from the Territorial Prison. Wasn’t it nice of Yuma to name a ballroom after our club!

Friday we took the short ride to Algodones for a little shopping and lunch.  Algodones has lots of offices of dentists, optometrists and pharmacies, primarily for the tourists from north of the border. Pictures of them are on an earlier blog, so I will not show them here.



Mary Fust is showing off her bracelet purchases.



And Elsie is showing her new ankle bracelet.


This vendor got Jo to try on a necklace. No sale to her.




Usually on the main corner artists are painting things to sell to tourists. All of the painting is done with cans of spray paint.

Below are more items made by spray painting out of aerosol cans





This is typical of many vendors booths – lots of inventory crowded into a small space.



Here is the guys side of the table at Pueblo Viejas where we had lunch in Algodones.


Williams’ guest, Charles Durazo, met us for lunch and enjoyed a dance or two with Elsie.


Saturday we toured the Territorial Prison State Park, literally on the bank of the  Colorado River. The bridge in the background is the railroad bridge, and behind it is the old highway bridge. From left to right, Keith and Maxine Stone, Tom and Elsie Holz, Herb and Mary Fust, Jo, Barbara and Mike Williams.

The prison is well worth the 2 – 3 hours to go through it.



This cell is typical of he prison cells there – 6 men to a 10 x 12 cell!

There were separate cells for women in the part of the prison now demolished.



The locks on the cell doors were appropriately located well beyond arms reach from the cell.



Here is one of the cell blocks. Much of the old prison has been demolished for construction of railroad tracks and roads. There was a wooden structure over the cell blocks to provide them shade.  Fires burned all of the wooden structures at the prison.




Here is the whole group at Da Boyz restaurant in downtown Yuma where we ate Friday night.