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YEAR #2 - STOP #54

Today was a relatively short travel day, just 73 miles due west from our previous campsite. We are camped here at the Casino Queen RV Park for two nights for just one reason, and it's not to gamble in the casino, although I did donate $100 by way of a blackjack dealer.

We are just outside of St. Louis, MO on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River. From here we plan to spend all day tomorrow exploring one of the newest National Parks, The Gateway Arch. Up until February of 2018 the arch was known as the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial.

TUESDAY - Today we have reservations to visit Gateway Arch National Park in St. Louis, MO. Our tickets include a 30-minute documentary film explaining how the Arch was constructed back in the 1960s. Also included are a tram ride up to the top of the Arch and a short riverboat tour on the Mississippi River.

It was interesting watching the 1960's footage of the construction. Workers with no apparent safety harness or tethers working that high up off the ground and still being able to smoke a cigarette. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) wasn't formed until December of 1970 and after viewing this film I can understand why. When construction was begun it was estimated that 13 workers would die building this arch and yet not a single life was lost when it was completed.

The tram ride up to the top was very interesting! Five passengers at as time were jammed through a 4-foot high door into this very compact egg-shaped pod. Then you begin a four minute ride up to the top. It feels like a ferris wheel ride because the pod keeps shifting to adjust for the curvature of the arch's leg. You can see the infrastructure of the arch through the glass door during the entire ride. We were lucky! They weren't that busy and we had a pod all to ourselves for the ride up.

We weren't quite as lucky for the ride down. We were assigned to a pod with three strangers and sat shoulder to shoulder for the three minute return trip back down to the base of the arch. After the tram ride we had plenty of time to get lunch in the cafe and explore the museum before our scheduled riverboat ride.

When we arrived at the riverboat dock we were surprised when the couple we had shared the tram ride down with walked up behind us to wait in line. We nodded hello and I joked that they were following us. After the riverboat ride we walked several blocks to the truck, got in and started driving towards a famous frozen custard stand some ten miles away.

About four blocks from the riverboat, just before we were about to get on the Interstate we caught a red light downtown. Who walks up to the nearly empty intersection to cross in front of us? The same couple from before. I rolled down my drivers side window and yelled across the street, NOW I KNOW YOU'RE FOLLOWING US. The guy looked very startled and pulled his wife one step backwards before I saw on his face that he recognized who we were. Then with a big smile on his face he shook a fist in our direction before we pulled away.

St. Louis's waterfront district is known to be a high crime area. After the light turned green and I pulled away I thought, for many reasons, maybe yelling from a truck, at a nearly complete stranger, might have not been such a great idea.

Anyway we found our frozen custard stand and made it safely back home. Here are a few photos from yesterday and today's explorations.


The park next to the casino had a tiered observation platform (as seen of the left).
View from the fist level of the platform.
View from the second level of the platform.
Finally a view from the top level of the platform.
Later that night from the same top level view.
Next day...our view from where we parked ROVER next to the Mississippi River.
Walking towards the base of the Gateway Arch.
That's where we are headed! The views must be wonderful from up there.
Closer to the base of the Arch now.
Oh good, we'll have views out both sides of the Arch.
The new Busch Stadium opened in 2006.
As you can see there's no ballgame being played today.
The Old Courthouse and the circular object in the foreground is the underground Visitor Center for the Arch.
A view from the riverboat.
The Historic Eads Bridge (built 1874) is the oldest bridge that crosses the Mississippi River.
can you spot ROVER parked on the bank of the Mississippi River?
Time to leave Casino Queen in Illinois for more adventures in Missouri!

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