August 12–13: Meet Me in St. Louis

The Great American Deli Schlep
3 min readSep 2, 2021


By: Steve Goode

Edited By: Judi Goode

Outside Protzel’s Deli with Max Protzel, St. Louis, MO

August 12: Riding to Missouri

With 300 miles to go to O’Fallon, MO, Dale and I decided to ride the back roads. Our first thought was to take Rt. 36 but we discovered that it was a 4-lane freeway so we looked for a new route. I normally don’t have a problem “exploring” new roads. However, when I turned east on County Rd. B backroads took on a whole different meaning. The road quickly deteriorated into a series of broken concrete and was no wider than most driveways. It truly felt as if we were going to visit a farmer at his home. After two miles of bumps and grinds we made an executive decision to reverse course and head back to Rt. 36, before we lost any bike or car parts.

We ultimately discovered the coveted “back roads” that held the adventure riding we were looking for: rolling hills that contained the blind rise surprises, where you can’t see what is coming at you from the opposite direction. This activity keeps your head in the game!!

We rolled into our hotel 10 minutes before an intense storm hit us. I have been in a lot of storms on this trip but this was probably the most intense yet on my trip. My bike was parked under the portico of the hotel and I had serious doubts whether it would remain upright throughout the storm. Fortunately, we were warm and dry inside and witnessed a good old Midwest storm from the comfort of our hotel window.

August 13: Protzels’ Deli, St. Louis, MO

With only 30 miles to go to my next deli, Protzel’s Deli, Dale and I took our time getting there. When we arrived, there were already two motorcycles parked in front and others from the JMA club, The Wandering Two’s, were inside waiting for us. After introductions, we took pictures, chatted about the Jewish community in St. Louis and again made connections between Max Protzel, third generation owner and the rest of the Jewish bikers.

Protzel’s is an old-time deli that carries on the ambiance of what delis looked like in the 1950’s. There was a steady flow of customers that double parked their cars while they picked up their orders.

Since Dale and I had still had 300+ miles of Interstate to ride, we said our goodbyes around 1PM knowing that a long hard ride was ahead of us. We wanted to make it to Chicago, IL prior to sunset. What can I say about I-55 that hasn’t already been said a thousand times….Illinois is a nice flat boring state with line and lines of semi-trailers on the Tri-State Tollway. If your adrenaline isn’t working overtime while riding through Illinois it will, once you hit I-55 and I-294, I guarantee it.