Lewis & Clark & Car

Leaving St. Louis

We are at the halfway point of LewisandClarkapalooza now; it's been six months of costumed reenactors, drum-and-fife corps, paeans to America's spirit of exploration and a whole lot of introspection (that last one might just be a personal problem). Let's just say that when it comes to Lewis & Clark, well, we get it already. They came to St. Louis, looked around for a few months, and then, like all bold and courageous people of reasonable intellect, they left town. Sure, they eventually returned, but the fact remains that what St. Louis celebrates when it celebrates Lewis & Clark is that, as a city, we were the first and last truck stop to the West. Depressing, ain't it?

But wait! Thanks to modern technology and the fine folks over at www.cartours.org, you, too, can experience the joy L&C experienced upon leaving St. Louis for their mystic voyage to the West. Simply point and click yourself Volume 1 of CarTours' ten-CD series on the L&C journey (suggested retail price: $15.95), pop said CD into your car stereo, and then drive along the L&C route while listening to period music, nature sounds and a narrator who is maybe a little too excited about your trip. Each CD comes with a little map (in our case, from St. Louis to Kansas City), some biographical notes to more fully flesh out the experience and recommended stopping points where you should exit the car to partake of the journey in person.

Of course, if you don't have time to drive to KC, the CD will also make your drive to Schnucks or the gentlemen's club seem a little more heroic, a little more Manifest Destiny. Or maybe it will just inspire you to pull up stakes and drive into the sunset. See you in two years! -- Paul Friswold

Saturday Night Fights

SAT 5/29

The "unofficial" Hoosierweight boxing circuit, born amid the dust and frenzy of backyard barbecues and sweat-stained gyms, moves upscale for the High Roller's Fight Card. The historic Deco setting of the Mad Art Gallery (2727 12th Street; call 314-680-3955 for tickets) hosts a full evening of male and female pugilism and other bloody surprises. Here's the new twist: The common folk can get in to see the fights for $15, but "high rollers" can pay $30 to sit in roped-off ringside seats with VIP table service. Of course, you're also expected to dress appropriately; call your tuxedo-rental shop early to beat the rush that is sure to ensue. -- Jason Toon

Smash! Rawk! Alton!

SAT 5/29

Instead of the "City of Brotherly Love," Philadelphia should be called the "City with the Most and the Best Classic Rock Radio Stations." Seriously, it's so awesome in that way. But in case you can't make it all the way to Philly, classic rock will be blarin' full-throttle just east of St. Louis at the Alton Block Party, courtesy of the Smash Band and its shaven-headed leader, Sir Smashington (pictured). Steer your bitchin' IROC-Z Camaro to Third Street (between Piasa and State streets; 618-465-6676) in downtown Alton at 4 p.m. for the children's activities and some dinner (maybe a cheesesteak?). Then get ready to rawk from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. -- Alison Sieloff

Mighty Misses

THUR 5/27

Ever had the desire to leave work in the middle of the day for a little sturgeon fishing -- and still make it home in time for Sanford & Son reruns? You can do it! Head to the beautiful Columbia Bottom Conservation Area at the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. Improvements to the state's newest nature preserve include totally radical biking trails and an observation deck for watching the nation's two largest rivers slam into one another, and it all opens with a 2 to 7 p.m. Public Open House. All the festivities take place around the Visitor Center at 801 Strodtman Road. Call the Missouri Department of Conservation at 636-441-4454 or visit mdc.mo.gov/areas/areas/bottom for maps and more info. -- John Goddard

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