Monday, June 13, 2011

St Louis - October 2008

This trip to St Louis in October 2008 was the first overnight trip Tim and I ever took together. We had just began dating in the end of July 2008, so we had been together about 3 months.

Tim and I combined his love of long motorcycle rides, and my love of St Louis. One saturday afternoon we packed a few clothes for overnight, hopped on Tim's Harley, and headed east toward the big city.

Normally a 3.5 hour drive from Kansas City, Tim and I opted to take a more scenic route. We rode through small towns and stopped frequently. The drive took us about 5 hours.

We arrived in St Louis just around 6:00 PM and drove toward the arch, which is located in the downtown area of St Louis.

                                             (web image)

                                                         (web image)

We decided to make the famous St Louis arch the primary focus of our trip, so we had picked a hotel that was within walking distance of the park where the arch is located.
We found the Hampton Inn to be a nice hotel. We had underground parking in the garage for Tim's motorcycle, and our room was very clean and cozy.

                                                               (web image)

                                                       (web image)

We were hungry for dinner, so we walked the short distance to Lacledes Landing. This area of downtown St Louis still has the old buildings, sidewalks and the brick streets (whick I love!), and has been renewed and brought to new life. There are plenty of bars, restaurants, and nightlife at Lacledes Landing and Tim and I picked a restaurant called Jake's Steaks.

Lacledes Landing in St Louis:

                                                  (web image)

After a WONDERFUL steak and beaked potato dinner, Tim and I walked through the park where the arch is. By now it was around 9:30 PM and although it was dark out, the park and the arch was lit up and it was just magical to walk through the winding paths.

                                                  (web image)

Although we were both pretty tired from all of the riding we had done that day, we spent quite a bit of time walking around the park.

We headed back to our hotel, and made our way back up to our room. The view out of our window was a downtown view which included I-70. Although our room wasn't facing the arch, this view at night was spectacular!

The next morning, Tim and I were up bright and early. Our mission was to take a ride up to the top of the arch. We showered and dressed and walked back over to the arch, which was only a 5 minute walk from our hotel.  It was a cloudy morning and there was fog surrounding the arch. We had arrived before the ticket booth was open for the day, so we walked around the park and took pictures.

Finally, the sun came out and washed the fog away.

After the doors to the building opened, Tim and I went inside and found the ticket booth. We bought our tickets and went to stand in line to go to the top.

Before we were allowed to go up, we watched a 10 minute movie about St Louis and the arch.

Then we boarded these little capsule like things for the ride to the top of the arch. They were very small, and had 5 seats inside.

The ride to the top took several minutes. Soon enough, we were there.

The top of the arch is a long narrow room with short wide windows to look out off both sides of the arch. The area is carpeted and air conditioned. One side of the arch looks over St Louis, and the other side looks over the Mississippi River and Illinios.

                                               (web image)

There are a few employees up there to answer questions and help people onto and off of the capsule like things. Other than that, there isn't much up there.

This picture is looking east over the Mississippi River and onto Illinois.


This is the St Louis side looking west. You can see the capitol building, and the shadow of the arch in the morning sun..

A view looking straight down:

Before we headed back down to the bottom, we posed for this picture:

When we were ready to go back down, there was no wait, and we were able to get right on the next capsule like car heading down.

When we arrived safely at the bottom of the arch, we walked into the gift shop and browsed around a bit.

We decided to buy a magnet from each city or town we visit together, so we picked out a magnet with a view of the arch and downtown St. Louis.

Around 10:00 AM we walked back to the hotel room, and gathered our things so we could check out.

Back down in the parking garage, we packed our things back onto the motorcycle and rode toward the highway. We decided to take the faster I-70 route back to Kansas City instead of the slower, longer route we had taken the day before. We were home by mid-afternoon.

Tim and I really enjoyed our first overnight trip to St Louis together. I was born there, and many of my McMillin family members still live in or near St Louis. Although Tim and I didn't visit my family on this trip, we have taken many subsequent trips to St Louis for visiting, cemetery romping, and genealogy querries. Look for more triplogs about those trips too.

A little info about the St Louis arch:

The St Louis Arch, officially known as the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial is located in St. Louis, Missouri, near the starting point of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. It was finished with construction in 1965, and stands 630 feet tall. It is the tallest man-made monument in the United States.

The park and the arch were established to commemorate several events:
  • the Louisiana Purchase, and the westward movement of American explorers and pioneers
  • the first civil government west of the Mississippi River
  • the debate over slavery raised by the Dred Scott case
The memorial site consists of a 91-acre park along the Mississippi River on the site of the original city of St. Louis, the Old Courthouse, a former state and federal courthouse which saw the origins of the Dred Scott case, the Museum of Westward Expansion, and most notably, the Gateway Arch.