St. Louis

2/23/19, St. Louis, Illinois and St. Louis, Missouri


St. Louis (STL) reminds me of Portland, Or (PDX, lol).  With many the bridges over the Mississippi River from East St. Louis, Illinois to the huge and sprawling mass of St. Louis Missouri on the other side. 

We stayed at Cahokia RV Parque, it’s across the river from STL and is so convenient. Lots of folks seem to live there, working folks with kids and retirees. There’s a restaurant adjacent to the park (they have decent BBQ). It’s not in terrible shape – the pedestal was wired correctly, the water system was PVC.

First night at Cahokia RV Parque, we got to run from our RV into the park tornado shelter when sirens went off all around the town (party atmosphere prevailed). It was an experience to hang out with parque folks for an hour in a bathroom. It was pretty tense for those with small children. The shelter was filled with people, kids and dogs and I had a moment. Our cats wouldn’t tolerate the dogs and tension but we felt terrible leaving them. Boy, did it thunder! Water poured from the sky and flash-bulb-lightening lit everything up!


We went over one of the bridges yesterday to make our start time at Grant’s Farm. Barb had arranged a ‘Meet the Clydsdales’ tour at the Budweiser/Busch training and retirement facility.IMG_1694


Barb & working gear.IMG_1696




Jack. He’s going off to do family photos for a couple of hours… he’s semi-retired.





From a couple of yearlings to Ace, who at 13 has been retired for 3 years we met ten horses.

Ace works 4 photo shoots a day, 3 days a week to earn his keep. BTW Ace only weighs in at about 2100 pounds. Ace, working hard:IMG_5262











Ace’s foot – My foot:IMG_5251

The horses train for the first five years of their lives before they’re put in a Hitch. A hitch is the whole Magilla – 6 or 8 horse teams pulling the Budweiser wagon with two guys and a Dalmation. 

Training starts when they’re 4 months old they learn the halter and gradually they learn to comewhen called, barn manners, to tolerate noise and crowds of people, how to go in the trailer & back into position and how to pull in harness. Each horse’s personality, coloring and temperament are carefully considered before they’re chosen for a hitch. Ever
y horse
learns to work in each position in the hitch.




These are Clydesdale working shoes…





This is Roger, he’s a three year old.


Hitches are regional – that way the horses don’t have to travel so far to show off at events. Travel! Boy do these guys (they’re all geldings) travel in style. Their trailer is a huge 58’ semi, six horses ride on rubber floors and are snug in stalls. It costs $74,000 to fire the tractor up and pull the horses anywhere. IMG_5264 Trucks travel in caravans of three with a nine passenger van for handlers following. They stop every 150 miles sothe horses can relax from the noise and vibration. Trailers are not heated or cooled – it’s better for the horses to acclimate as they travel than to be pampered on route and struggle when they land.

IMG_1710You can tell that I was enamored of the whole experience. B and I are still talking about how much we learned and enjoyed loving on the huge animals – did I say that a newborn foal weighs more than I do? Yup – they’re big. 

I stand about 16 hands, adult Clydesdales stand 19  hands to pull the hitch.






That wasn’t it for the day! We went to lunch at The Corner Bar and Grille – salads “to die for”. Then hustled off to the local Frank Lloyd Wright (FLW) house – the Kraus House.

Barb and I hunt for FLW houses on our routes and have enjoyed each one we’ve visited. There are a number of recurring themes in the houses we’vetoured – the idea of compression and expansion, angles, wood finishes, fibers, furniture and colors. Recurring themes but each house is completely unique.

Wright brings you into spaces through narrow passages that have relatively low ceilings. You’re usually surrounded by local materials – stone, water, wood. Most of the houses we’ve visited are full of triangles, hard points and light sneaking in through large central skylights. Unfortunately, few of the organizations that own the houses allow photos indoors.

The Kraus house, build for Russel and Ruth Kraus, is built in/of two intersecting parallelograms. There are cantilevered roofs racing out to sharp points over similarly pointy patios. Even grapevines planted behind the house, up the hill into which the house is nestled, refer back to the parallelograms of the house.

At 1900’ sf, the house has an expansive, high ceilinged living area, small angular bathrooms and the kitchen boomerangs around a dividing wall from the living area. This house is the epitome of Wright’s Usonian style. Usonian’s have abundant storage, utterly utilitarian rooms and, to me, economy of movement. Your eyes aren’t racing around, they glide around the sleek walls and shelves, over low furnishings and through lengths Wright’s leaded and colored glass doors that open to outdoor spaces that lift you into air and space (in one photo, I felt like I was sitting in space). 

We returned to the RV Parque for a restful evening and hopped into our loft. Boom! Crackle! Boom! Rumble… it went on all night! One of those times I’m okay with not being able to hear when my HAs are out – but even I was woken several times by the storm!