While on our St. Louis vacation, we went with memory_machine to the legendary Carondelet Coke.
We went straight from Armour Meat and parked on a little side street near Carondelet. We headed in and started walking around a large open area surrounded by buildings. It sort of looked like a courtyard, although it had never actually been one. We picked one of the closest buildings and started checking it out.
The inside of the building was littered with bricks, broken plaster, and sheetrock. It looked to be some kind of employee area, since there were lockers in the corner. A homeless person or persons had apparently been living there, since there were piles of food and garbage in one corner next to a makeshift living area.
Our suspicions were confirmed when we attempted to go up to a second story. As we opened the door at the top of the stairs, a voice yelled out sleepily, "Who's there?" We yelled back an apology and went back the way we'd come. Squatting or not, we weren't going into anyone's bedroom while they were there.
At the next building we checked out, we ran across something pretty cool. Memory_machine had told us that thieves liked to bring stolen cars down here and set them on fire to eliminate the evidence. Well, sure enough, a burnt out Dodge pickup was sitting right there. In fact, it had been burned so recently that the tires were still smoking.
When I moved around to take some better pictuers of the truck, I had my second accident of the day (the first being the incident at Armour). I didn't see a nice big nail sticking out of the ashes, and I stepped right onto it and drove it nice and deep into my foot. It hurt like hell, but after taking my shoe off, I could see that I was fine. It hadn't even really bled.
At the next structure we checked out, we found yet another burnt out vehicle. This one was older and rusty and only the back half was left. And as we left that building, we found yet another vehicle, this one also rusty. It appeared this really was the hotspot for ditching stolen vehicles.
After that, we passed along a large pit full of disgusting water and debris on our way into the next building. I offered money if someone was willing to dive into it, but everyone politely declined. The building, however, was the most interesting so far. It was full of huge pipes (many with their valves gone), tanks, and catwalks around the ceiling. There was also electrical equipment and some kind of kiln or furnace. We also found our first evidence of someone playing a massive game of paintball there.
We took the opportunity to head up to one of the higher catwalks and walk around near the ceiling. The floor was mostly stable, but we could tell what parts weren't pretty easily. It gave us a good view of the surrounding property, which was fairly large, and we were able to spy on some construction workers there that were up to something.
Up next, we headed over to a large brick building that seemed to be some sort of furnace. If I remember right, only the bottom floor was easily accessible, and it was full of pipes jutting out through concrete supports. We found paintballs strewn all over the place, so I took the opportunity to photograph Hiccup squishing a few of them. We also managed to get up to the roof, which was covered with vegetation and an old sets of rail tracks. Nearby there was a nifty looking smokestack, but there didn't seem to be any way inside it. Besides that, I'd had my fill of smokestacks.
We passed by a big concrete area next that was sunk about three or four feet into the ground. It was mostly empty, but it had some round concrete pillars in places which people had decorated or thrown barrels over. It sort of resembled a weird swimming pool.
On our way across the railroad tracks, where we barely beat a train to get to the other part of Carondelet, we spotted another burnt out car. We reached a flat concrete area, and there were two more vehicles there. One of them was a fairly new truck that someone had gotten turned upside down. It was really strange.
Finally, we headed to the coolest part of Carondelet, something I'd been dying to see. It was a huge metal structure at the edge of the river for loading barges. We followed one of the conveyor belts on the structure down underground to a flooded little chamber with a sealed tunnel at the rear. It would've been cool to check out the tunnel, but it probably would've been a scary wet mess.
We headed out onto the actual structure after that, where huge metal pillars in the water held everything up. There was even an old rusty barge parked at the base. We spent a little while climbing around on everything and ended up on a nice long section that stuck way out over the river. It was probably thirty or so feet up from the water, and I was tempted to shed my clothes and have Hiccup take some video of me bailing into the river from it. Common sense won out, though, because there was no telling what might be under the water ready to impale me.
With that, we got a phone call from Chris and left Carondelet to go meet him for some further exploring.
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Here you can read about White Rabbit's day-to-day explorations and adventures.
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