Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Missouri

This week I visited one of the best known historical monuments in the country.  
From The Arch

No, I was talking about The Arch.
From The Arch

I think I've driven or ridden past the Arch seven times in my life, never stopping, always just driving by.  Tradgic.  But I don't do that too much these days.  Time is my biggest asset, so I stop a lot.  Sometimes I laugh to myself, imagining someone traveling with me, putting up with my stopping at everything that looks remotely interesting.  I stop at garage sales, thrift shops, pawn shops, almost any small town with stores open, book stores, coffee shops, historical markers, cafes... 
From The Arch

Oh yeah, the Arch.  The visitors center is underground, you enter near either foot of the arch.  Important note: if you go to one entrance and there is a long line, check the other side.  I discovered this after waiting in a very long line at the north entrance, only to see nearly no line entering from the south side.  D'oh!
From The Arch

Inside there is a very nice museum highlighting, among other things, the voyage of Lewis and Clark.  Earlier this year, I stayed at a campground that was the site of the death of Meriwether Lewis, and I am currently about halfway through the book "Undaunted Courage," a story of the efforts to open the American west by Lewis and President Jefferson.  Pretty soon I might start thinking about a bicycle trip along the path Lewis and Clark took from St. Louis to the Pacific.  Take a look at the map and then get back to me if you're interested in riding along.
From The Arch
So you buy a ticket ($10) and get in line, then cram yourself and four new friends into a tiny, round, elevator.  Round because the path to the top is along the inside of the arch, standard elevators only go up or down, this one is more of a "wonkavator" with no headroom. 
From The Arch
At the top, you can peek out the tiny windows and see, well, St. Louis.  And beyond, a bit.  You can't feel it swaying, but you can stay up there as long as you like.  Which isn't that long, it turns out.  Look out the windows the east, look out the windows to the west.... Done.
From The Arch

From The Arch

The Arch was well worth the time it took.  I wish I had stopped by the other seven times too.  

There are other things in Missouri that interest me, but I've got places to be and people to see, so I'll be heading on down the road.  And as usual, you can read all about it here. 




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