Last Saturday morning, I picked up Bea at 10:00 a.m. and we let my GPS, Inga, guide us to the open highway toward St. Louis, Missouri.
After a lunch stop in Columbia, Missouri at Shakespeare's Pizza, which was just as delicious as everyone who recommended it had promised, we made it to our destination in St. Louis right at 3:00 p.m.
We were there for a pre-Blogher meetup at Soulard Coffee Garden, a charming restaurant and coffee shop. We made our way to their back patio, sat at the biggest table they had, and met up with Kelly from Mocha Momma, Kara from Star Monkeybrass, Jaelithe of The State of Discontent, Kelli from South City Confidential, Angela from Fluid Pudding, Kelly from Sounding My Barbaric Gulp!, Ada of Shouldn't Life Be More Than This?, Melody from Girls Guide to the Galaxy, Mindy of Crafty and Crap and Stephanie of Iron Stef.
In contrast to the librarian-heavy Kansas City social media scene, this particular St. Louis group included a surprising number of teachers.
It turned out that Soulard Coffee Garden closed at 4:00 p.m., a fact not revealed by their website, which is a blog that hasn't been updated since 2006. Thus, we were turned out after I'd had my one iced raspberry mocha. We went to a bar called Molly's a block up the street and settled into a gazebo on their giant patio for drinks and further conversation.
Sorry I caught so many people with their eyes closed. That's the risk with candid shots. You can see more photos here.
We hung out there for a couple of hours drinking sangria and other assorted beverages. At one point a youngish guy came over and immediately got on my bad side by putting his hand on my back (no touching!) before asking how we were doing. At first I thought perhaps he was a waiter who had just started his shift, but he was just an annoying dude trying to find out if a huge table of women increased his odds of...something. We eventually ignored him until he went away.
After I'd had a couple of sangrias, the remnants of the group moved on to The Stable in the Benton Park area. I settled onto the leather sofa with my drink choice of the evening, Kasteel Rouge, which had been recommended to me by @TaraCuda a couple of weeks earlier. Yum.
We had more great conversation and some much-needed dinner. Bea and I stayed until about 10:00 p.m., at which point I figured we should head back west on I-70 a bit and find a motel before it got too late.
After a good night's sleep, we found the nearest Cracker Barrel for breakfast (because I can't resist them) and made it back to Kansas City in record time.
It was great meeting so many great St. Louis area folks. I'm looking forward to seeing you again in Chicago next month!