Big Boo in St Lou

(Original post Sept 2015)
Flew into St. Louis last September and before even checking into the hotel we had to stop at Pappy’s IMG_1957and get our hands on some original baby back ribs. Now, i’m not really a rib eater (I don’t think the McRib counts) but these suckers were GOOD. I had my elbows deep in BBQ sauce when I saw this lady walk by. I had to do a double take and even then it took me a minute to figure out who she was, but I quickly became a screaming fan. I stood up on my picnic bench and followed her around trying to get a good pic – of which I could never do. After some persuasion, I finally got the nerve to ask her for a pic and she was beyond gracious. Don’t let the tough exterior fool you – inside, Big Boo is ALL HEART.
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Thank you for making my day – and for proving to my kids that you actually WERE there!
I became quite the tourist while in St. Louis.. visited a few places I think you should check out if you are ever in the area:

Budweiser Brewery

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Founded in 1852 and the original of the six breweries;  you will be transported back to a time when the beer was stored in caves and there was an actual school on the property. (I’m guessing attendance was pretty darn perfect.)

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You’ll get to learn about the vision that became one of the largest and oldest breweries in the nation. Surrounded by architecture rich in history- including three National Historic Landmarks – and cutting-edge brewing technology, you’ll see history come to life. The days of the cave coolers may be long gone but the plant remains in tact visually transporting you back in time.   AND.. they give FREE beer samples!

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Such a fancy place to make BEER! Either way, it was a great tour and you get free samples!

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Did I mention the beer samples were free?

The Gateway Arch

There is no way you can even step within 50 miles of this city and NOT see THE ARCH. Not gonna lie though, I was a little disappointed that the view was cluttered with construction. It may have just been a bad time for me to go but it is certainly something you have to see at least once. (Once is pretty much all you need.)
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For $10 you get to go up a pod and walk a portion of the top of the arch. One side of the arch is nothing but a green river but the other side was actually pretty breathtaking. Would I do it again? Probably not. But it was nice to scratch something off of the ol’ Bucket List and say I have been there.
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Allow me to tell you a thing or two about those pods. They are, literally, pods. Like eggs – with seats – and a tiny window. I had pretty much assured myself I was going to die on the way up… I did, however, manage to survive. Screen Shot 2018-04-30 at 9.29.46 AM
There isn’t a lot to do up there but look out both sides of the arch.
Then you gotta get back into the pod and start the prayers all over again.

St Louis Cardinals Game

They played the Reds – Best thing about this game was the company and sitting in the Champions Club! Unlimited EVERYTHING! I ate more olives than any one person has the right to – or should.
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I think they even won… I think.

The Bottomless Pit – that bottoms out at 140 feet (Carlsbad Caverns)

(Original Post Dec 2016)
If there is one thing you need to do in your life just once, Carlsbad Caverns is probably it..                ONCE is enough for me! 
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We started our journey early on the morning on the 21st.. a quick stop for fuel (gas and coffee) and we were on our way.. The hardest part of this trek is getting out of Texas.. it takes FOREVER.. like, an eternity. And there isn’t much to see… but finally we made it out of there and crossed that state line.
 
It’s almost as if someone flips a switch because the landscaping changes instantly. And it is nothing short of beautiful. The dry land of east Texas suddenly changes and the skies turn blue… and then before you know it, there’s snow! And mountains! And SNOW ON THE MOUNTAINS!
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After what seems like a million hours, WE FINALLY MADE IT! 
 
The town is pretty small and there isn’t much to do so a Domino’s Pizza Night it was! 
 
The next day we started our journey with a trip to the caverns.
If you haven’t already been there, you should . I probably wouldn’t go again but it’s certainly something you need to see at least once in your life..
 
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Carlsbad Caverns
 
It takes several hours, shoes with traction, and A LOT of stamina to get through it but it’s totally worth it.
 
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The town is pretty cute, too, so we stopped and had some lunch in their ONE restaurant before we headed out.. We were the ONLY people in the restaurant so I cant complain about the service – it was pretty darn great.
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Aside from that, not much else to see… I did, however, leave my mark in those caverns on more than one occasion – so when I tell you to wear shoes with traction, DO IT! 🙂
 
 
 
 

Scratch one off the ol’ To Do List-

2. Take a Gun Class – DONE!
Turned out there was a gun store right across the street from my office (who knew? not me) and they offered a class with a DISCOUNT – I mean, if that’s not a sign to do it I dont know what is! So I did it – I signed up.
The night before I was pretty nervous and even thought about cancelling, several times, but in the end I knew if I didn’t do it now, I would never do it and I promised myself I would so, reluctantly, I got my a$$ up the next morning and drove on over.
The class part was a piece of cake and ALOT more interesting than I ever thought it would be. I learned so much! Now, let me make one thing clear – I am not a proponent of guns, I am no expert in gun laws, and I dont even know if I will ever own one. What I do know is that things are not like they used to be, this world seems to be getting crazier every day, and should the occasion ever arise where I do feel Ill need one – I want to be ready. I want to know how to use it PROPERLY, I want to know how to store it, and I definitely want to know what my rights are IF I should ever need it.
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Like I said, class part – piece of cake – gun range, not so much.
Driving over to the gun range was nerve wracking enough… trying to maneuver my way there through a parade while hungry was even worse. After what seemed like an eternity, I found my way to it and walked the very few steps to the range. I got myself checked in and ordered a burger (I mean, you cant shoot anything on an empty stomach, right) Burger was incredibly delicious (another who knew moment) and I scarfed it down way too quickly – and I say that sincerely- my stomach was already a mess and adding this burger that I inhaled in three bites to it only made the matter worse. There were noises coming from inside me that I had never, ever heard before.
My nerves were really getting the best of me. I was shaking like a leaf. I couldn’t imagine holding a gun, let alone, pointing it at something with this shakiness so I let every single person in the class go first before there was no one left. Only me. At that point, I had two options – make a run for it or put my big girl pants on and just do it.
I opted for option 2 and walked on in.
It was a lot louder than I had expected it to be. Pieces of the bullet were flying all around me (that wasn’t in the brochure). I was given my slot, a gun was laid in front of me along with a box of ammunition. A target was hung up directly across the table and I was instructed to load it.
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I had JUST taken this class! It hadn’t been more than 2 hours and yet, I was blank. I couldn’t stop shaking, my mind was racing, my stomach doing things no one wants to know about … I just stood there. Literally, unable to move. I had made the wrong decision. I needed to get out of there – and fast!
But I didn’t. I was physically unable to move.
The instructor told me to take a deep breath, which I did. I closed my eyes for a minute, tried to gather my composure, held back my tears (I still dont know what the tears were about), and opened up the magazine (or as I like to call it, the bullet holder).
Note to self: CUT YOUR NAILS! My nails were so long that my shaking hands made it impossible for me to get the bullet (yes, only one) in there so I had to have my instructor help me. Which he did – thank you, Lea!
I warned him (and everyone else in the room) to stand back as I had no idea what was about to happen. And I did it – I stood as instructed – legs slightly apart, firmly on the ground, both hands on the gun, thumb in position, target in my sight, and I pulled the trigger. Then I dropped the gun on the counter and jumped back… I stared at it.. waiting for something to happen, but guess what, nothing happened. (Pun most definitely intended)
I hadn’t realized it but my eyes had been closed. Still- I made the ONE shot I was supposed to and allowed to move on to the next set of instructions.. two rounds this time. One right after the other.
I removed the magazine, still couldn’t get the two bullets in without assistance, but managed to do it well enough, assumed the position, tried to focus, and pulled the trigger. BULLSEYE! (wrong sport?) I did it! and I didn’t throw up and hurt anyone! Ok, not so bad.. on to the next round.
One single shot, one double… three bullets. I managed to get them all in without breaking a nail or assistance. Small Victory. I assumed the position, held my breath, and pulled the trigger! And I did it – AGAIN!
The next rounds seemed to fly by. I eventually figured out loading it and even managed to put the safety on correctly. The shaking eventually stopped and my breathing returned to normal. I even passed the class and was given the permit to apply for my license.
That was in January. I still haven’t submitted the application nor have I held another gun. But my mission was accomplished. Should the need arise, I think I can do it and do it safely. Not sure that will ever happen but scratching one off the list is good enough for me.