Bikes on board

Stopped for lunch at Wakonda State Park

Carrying the bikes on our trunk rack for long trips makes me very nervous, but I bit the bullet for our trip to Burlington, IA this weekend.  The bikes behaved very well on the trip, not much moving around back there at all, but they did put a dent in our MPG 😦  Not very aerodynamic.

Burlington riverfront

We started with a quick trip to Bickel’s for some rim tape and a back-up tube to (hopefully) solve my rear tire flat woes on BUB.

We arrived at my parents’, and I wasted no time reassembling my rear tire.  It seemed to be holding air, so we headed down to the Riverfront Farmers’ Market for sweet corn, eggplant, bell peppers, garlic, and farm fresh eggs.

Bluff overlooking the Mississippi in Burlington

We made it back to my parents’ just before the rain rolled in on Thursday night.

Given the gas mileage sacrifice, I was determined to ride these bikes A LOT while we were there.  Stay tuned for more of our bike Burlington adventures.

When the relatives came

I played tourist in my own city over the weekend, hosting relatives from Iowa and Texas. I did not host them in the sense of “all seven people stayed in our one bedroom apartment” (clearly, that would have been a bad idea) but rather as a tour guide and minivan driver extraordinaire. We started the weekend whirlwind on Friday with lunch at Bixby’s inside the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park.

Bixby’s is the relatively new face of the history museum restaurant (the previous incarnation, whatever it was called, left me less than impressed).  With the focus on using local ingredients, Bixby’s hit the spot.  I ordered the vegetable and sausage panini with sausage on the side (for my grandpa).  My uncle ordered the vegetable and sausage panini “all together.”

The day continued with the grand garden tour, complete with samples of sun gold tomatoes. Later, we gathered around the hotel pool and feasted on Pi.  Thanks to my mom’s picnic set, our poolside dinner was largely trash free!

After dinner, fun and games ensued, with the kind of hilarity unique to large family gatherings, when we played an improvised version of the game Balderdash with obscure words from the internet.  We discovered many classic words over the course of the game:

  • dasypygal (def. Having hairy buttocks — yes, that was the real definition) which someone defined as, “What you say when you see a woman win a pie-eating contest — ‘Das a pie gal!'”
  • de aequitate: what happens when you really have to go to the bathroom but don’t make it there on time (not the real definition)
  • and many others that I’m sad to say I can’t remember right now

Saturday, we hit up the Soulard Zoo (AKA Soulard Farmers’ Market), which was every bit the seething mass of humanity I remembered (cringe).  Don’t get me wrong, the produce bargains I found there during grad school provided plenty of fruit and vegetable servings on a tight budget, but my tastes have changed a bit, or perhaps a lot more than a bit, in the direction of local, organically raised foods.

With so many farmers’ markets with just that focus, Soulard no longer does it for me.  Farmers’ markets should have FARMERS, not vendors who scour Produce Row for bargains on food from “49 states and 74 countries” (as stated in this RFT article); Soulard’s few local farmers are vastly outnumbered by such vendors.

We left Soulard and headed to Tower Grove Farmers’ Market, which revived my spirits greatly — a literal AND figurative breath of fresh air.  We returned to the apartment, where we lunched on sandwiches featuring many local ingredients.  The rest of the day included a trip to Home Eco and a lovely dinner at Local Harvest, where my uncle requested the vegan enchiladas “with ground beef in them, please.”  I can’t take him anywhere 😉  My thanks to both establishments for graciously accommodating our boisterous invasion.

Thanks everyone for making the trip!