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Thoughts on ordinary and not so ordinary adventures in the life of one Mom

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Gateway to the West

Lady Gaga would have enjoyed the ride
After several days on the road, stopping mostly just for convenience,  I was happy to be headed to our first pre-planned destination, St. Louis.  I have fond memories of the time Steve and I "met" in St. Louis during our long distance engagement and I was especially eager to show the kids my favorite monument, the Jefferson National Westward  Expansion Memorial (aka - the Gateway Arch), an engineering marvel.  Even though we arrived on a July day Arizonans only dream of, with it's blue sky, mild temps and slight humidity, we didn't waste time enjoying the climate.  Instead, we hastily made our way through the picturesque Memorial park to the underground entrance for the Gateway Arch to catch the next tram ride up to the top.   A capsule (5 person egg-shaped elevator), takes you up to the top of the arch where you can see various sites of the city, including the Eads Bridge (inspiration for the Arch), Busch stadium, the Old Courthouse and the mighty Mississippi river.  But my favorite view by far, is straight down.

With nothing directly under you and leaning forward toward the slanted windows, you get the cool sensation of falling toward the Arch's shadow.   The kids enjoyed this St. Louis must-do and quickly internalized that, at 630 ft,  it is the tallest US monument and more than twice the height the Statue of Liberty.  They thought it was very cool, just like Mom.

After spending some time at the museum, learning about Westward Expansion and trying on pioneer bonnets, we headed outside for  a riverboat cruise along an industrial and very busy portion of the Mississippi river.   Then we strolled, leisurely this time, through the park and enjoyed some lunch, including a plate of toasted ravioli (St Louis favorite), while we waited out an afternoon thundershower.

When we hit the road again,it really felt like we had crossed a threshold in St. Louis.  We were not expanding westward in to unknown territory, though.  We were headed east, toward home and places familiar to me.

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