Monday, September 17, 2007

The Trip - St. Louis

We spent the day in St. Louis, most of it at the Gateway Arch.

I wandered around, getting out-of-the-ordinary shots. The Arch is made of stainless steel that catches the sunlight, and I had a good time playing with the light.

And I love taking pictures looking up.

When we got to the entrance, my mom was surprised that I wanted us to go to the top. It's high (630 feet) and we're afraid of heights. But, just like at the Space Needle, you can't come that close and not go up.

So we bought tickets for the tram, little five-man pods that work a bit like a ferris wheel's seats, righting themselves as needed to keep the passengers from ending up sideways at the top. While we were waiting in line for our tram to arrive, we chatted with the lady who kept us under control. We told her we were Cardinals fans, and she's a fan too (what a surprise!). But she's disappointed that they dropped out of contention for first place this past week.

I told her about the World Series plaques I saw in a sports bar in Indianapolis, where they had the Red Sox listed as the '67 Series winner, and she was horrified. It was so gratifying to have someone to share my distress with.

At the top, there were slit windows looking east and west, and I took lots of pictures. This one is Busch Stadium, home of the Cardinals, where they'd be playing tonight.

After lunch, we took the riverboat ride. It wasn't as scenic as we had hoped, so I haven't posted any pictures from the ride. But we met a couple of delightful ladies from British Columbia and had a great time talking to them about our respective travels. One of them is planning on taking an around-the-world cruise on the maiden voyage of the Queen Victoria. The cruise lasts four months, though she will only be on it for three months--she's skipping the Panama Canal part of the trip, since she's done that before. I can't imagine!

After the riverboat ride, we drove north to the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge. It used to be the bridge where Route 66 crossed the Mississippi, but it fell out of use after 1965 and was later restored for use by pedestrians and bicycles.

The Chain of Rocks that gives the bridge its name is a series of small rocks that cross the Mississippi in several lines and create a bit of turbulence. The guidebook that recommended the bridge made it sound like there would be waterfalls. I imagined something like Spokane Falls. But the Chain of Rocks only made a long line of burbling. That was OK, though, because I liked the bridge for its own sake.

They have some Route 66 memorabilia on the bridge.

At the peak of the bridge (it rises from the Missouri side for about 2/3 of the length, then levels out for a short distance and drops down to the Illinois side), I stopped and looked upstream. Part of the reason I wanted to come to the bridge was the promised view of the confluence of the Missouri and the Mississippi Rivers. That's them in the distance. The Missouri comes from the left behind the lighter-green spit of land in the center, and the Mississippi comes from the right behind that clump of bushes just above the right edge of the bridge.

So now I've seen both the beginning and the end of the Missouri River. Just like Lewis and Clark.


All_I_Can_Stands said...

Loved the arch. It is one of our family's greatest memories and the beginning of one of our finest vacations. On that same vacation we stopped in Rush Limbaugh's home town Cape Gereardieu (sp?) and saw his mother wave to us from the family law office (when she was alive)

Bekah said...

GREAT arch pictures! I went up in that on our St. Lous trip as well - I remember the little elevator thingies. They were cute! I too am not fond of heights and got a little clammy when looking out the window - but I did it! That was a great trip!