Anne and Joanie had some sort of coffee crawl this morning, so I was free to bicycle by myself in the park. Like last weekend, my bike ride morphed into a scavenger hunt, as I started hunting for new Cake-Way to the West cakes. Saint Louis is celebrating its 250th anniversary and as part of that party upwards of 250 painted cakes have been scattered about town. Last weekend, we scored twelve and today we scored eleven. Anne found the Centene cake in Clayton. With our twenty-three cakes that gives us almost ten-percent of the total. We’ve begun to exhaust the obvious cake candidates that are also close to home. I would have never guessed that the Ruth Porter Greenway would have a cake and there were plenty of landmarks that I rode past today that didn’t have a cake. The downtown area is the only other target rich environment that we haven’t hit yet and tomorrow, Sunday, would normally be an ideal day to tackle it, but the Go! Marathon is running there tomorrow and that will likely be too much of a circus to consider bicycling through.
It was really more of a cake-ride, instead of a cake-walk. Sunday was an absolutely gorgeous day here in Saint Louis. So, Anne and I threw are respective legs over our bikes and headed out at the crack of noon. Our bicycle ride soon morphed in to a scavenger hunt for cakes. Let me explain a bit. Saint Louis is celebrating its 250th anniversary this year. As part of this year-long celebration 250 of these brightly painted birthday cakes are planned. I think that over 200 of them have already been placed. This whole project is cutely titled, “Cake-way to the West”, a play on the city’s claim of being the gateway to the west. With these first dozen cakes, we have only scratched the surface. The park was so full people that at times it was difficult to get around in it. In one crowded section I nearly didn’t get unclipped in time and almost went down with the ship. Consequently, we didn’t see the zoo’s cake or a couple of other ones near the park. With this first really spring like day, it is clear that winter is receding fast and warmer weather lies ahead. In the warmer days to come, there will be plenty of time to hunt for the remaining cakes.
It is about time to turn the Westeros saying, “winter is coming”, on its head. Winter has been here way too long and now it is time for it to be going. It got into the mid-seventies yesterday, but I was a too busy being a wage slave to truly enjoy that balmy weather. It was colder today, in the fifties and is suppose to be colder still tomorrow, forties, but winter is definitely on its way out and I hope that it doesn’t let the door hit it on the way.
We launched on our first bike ride in about a month. We launched at the crack of noon. Beautiful Wydown Avenue, the best bicycling road in Saint Louis is now a total disaster area. The car lane has been a mess all winter, what with its slurry seal popping off to make shallow potholes all over it, but the bike lane had been immune to that. Now the bike lane is even worse than the car lane. New water or sewer lines are being laid and the asphalt patching is more amenable to full suspension mountain biking than it is to road cycling. The only silver lining to all this mess is that sometime this summer all new road pavement will be laid and Wydown will return to its exalted status of bicycling nirvana.
The knights that say Nerf were battling it out by the Confederate war memorial, as they do most Saturday afternoon’s in the warmer months. As we approached, their hand-to-hand combat had spilled out onto the bike path. We were going to stop anyway, so it’s not like they were really impeding our progress. One of their company engaged me in a friendly manner, they are always looking for new members to hack off. I asked him if I could take their picture and he said sure, then he asked if I wanted a group shot. I said yes and the above photo resulted. He even had his company hustle into position, which was a nice touch.
There were bicycle races going on around the Muny mile. At first, we though that they had ended, but the chase car soon instructed us on our error and then chased off the course. We hung around for a couple of laps and I got a couple of decent photographs with the GoPro. Thank you, Jay and Carl. Its burst mode really worked well in this situation. Shooting three photos instead of just one automatically gives you good, better and best or at least that is how it is supposed to work.
We continued on into the Central West End. Anne had called her mom to wish her a happy birthday and had gotten the name of a book that she wanted. We went to Left Bank Books to find it, but unfortunately they did not have it. The Our former neighbor, Curtis Sittenfeld, had her book in the window, Sisterland. She’ll appear at the store next month in an event with another author from Esquire. Cake by Peat Eyes was outside the bookstore. In addition to this shopping errand, we also posted some mail and did a little banking.
After all of this ‘hard work’, we were ready for a little something. Fortunately, we found ourselves in the Central West End. We were going to go to this one restaurant, when Anne received this rave review on the new place next to the first from a departing dinner. We were sold and so had lunch at Cucina Pazzo. As the name implies it is Italian. It has taken over the space vacated by Duff’s, after its long run, near Euclid and McPherson. The food was good. I especially loved the chopped salad. It was so finely chopped that it was totally infused with the dressing. The prices were very reasonable. We split the salad and the grinder and because of a very minor delay in the delivery of the grinder we were gifted by Jeffery with a small plate of pasta. It was very nice, but it totally defeated our going in strategy of not eating too much. Then on the way home, Anne suggested doing hills …