Monday, June 29, 2009

Day Two, St. Joe's to St. Louis



St. Joseph, Missouri, is located in the northeastern corner of the state, just over the eastern border of Kansas. The city is famous for being the original station for the Pony Express. A monument to this American institution graces a patch of lawn in the middle of an otherwise sea of concrete, a somewhat depressed area that is St. Joseph. Older, ornate buildings from the city’s past stand proudly, if a bit forlorn, in stark contrast to parking garages and boxy shaped, modern buildings. Highways and byways snake around the little city, with most of the travelers choosing to hurry on to bigger and newer places.

We stayed at a downtown hotel where the staff was as friendly and helpful as could be. The accommodations were clean and comfortable, cheerful and colorful in sharp contrast to the city outside. I thought that perhaps since it was a Sunday night, we’d caught the place asleep. But Monday morning didn’t bring a whole lot more activity. We easily found our way around to the monuments and places of interest that we wanted to see before getting back on the highway to continue our trip.

Today’s route through the state of Missouri was not nearly as scenic as yesterday’s, but that’s what you get when you travel on the interstate. It’s built for speed. The countryside would have been rather pretty, save for all the billboards. Much of the landscape was similar to western Kansas, but there were areas that were heavily wooded and dense with dark green trees, that I imagined them to be bushels upon bushels of broccoli!

Our destination today was St. Louis, primarily to see the Cardinals at play in Busch Stadium. It’s amazing how the promise of a baseball game will get a 16-year-old up and out of bed by 8:00 a.m. We drove the length of the state and arrived mid-afternoon, in time to explore the downtown area of St. Louis.

I should mention that we’ve planned our trip around hotels available using Dan’s free points for all the traveling he’s done in the past year. I felt bad that he wouldn’t benefit from all the stays, but he said it would be like a busman’s holiday to spend his vacation in a hotel for four nights in a row. So, we divvied up the points between all of the various hotel chains and had enough for one big splurge at a luxury hotel in downtown St. Louis. Our room has a view of Busch Stadium – much to my son’s delight – and is steps away from the Arch and the Museum of Westward Expansion – much to my delight. Emily is delighted to have found a friend to play with in the pool. So, we’re all happy.

Our hotel is right smack in the middle of the picture, just across the street from the ballpark.


The Cardinals have some of the most enthusiastic fans I've ever seen. At game time, the stadium was a sea of red. I searched in vain to see if there were any other teams represented among the crowd. There were a couple of Orioles and a few Giants (the opposing team.) And I have to say, during the seventh inning stretch, "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" was sung with such enthusiasm, it would have made a choir director weep. Great people, those Cards fans!

For the history buffs among you, St. Louis was once a city where dreams began. It was the gateway to the west, where thousands of Americans began their journeys to new lands in the western territories of the United States. The courthouse, which is just diagonal from our hotel, is filled with ghosts of history past. It was where the initial trial for the Dred Scot case was tried. And it was around this building that wagon trains gathered to prepare their way west, loading their beds with goods and lining up for the long journey ahead. A museum dedicated to these missions is located beneath the Arch, underground. Tomorrow, we’ll spend the morning exploring this area. And then we’ll take to the road again, heading off to the Land of Lincoln.

9 comments:

Becky said...

I lived in St Louis from age one to age 12. I watched the arch being built. I've spent many a year rooting for the Cards. Including the 1967/68 years when we made it to the World Series. The '67 series is the one where my grandpa and I devised a plan for me to skip school so I could watch the final game with him. I love St Louis. Good memories.

Thanks for bringing it to life. I hope you go up the arch today. That is fun.

Joanne said...

Sounds like a great day! Who won the baseball game??

Jen said...

Oh my gosh...do you realize you are 3 hours from me? We go to St Louis all the time...actually have 2 trips planned for it before the first of the year...their zoo is awesome and we do the games alot....yes we are card fans.....i cannot believe how close we are...you should totally call me if you drive thru Paducah Ky........we could just meet....

Robin said...

I went to St. Louis many years ago - and I loved it then. Your pictures brought back lots of fun memories.

Sharon said...

I know St. Louis mostly as the home of two seminaries...;) Thanks for sharing your wonderful family trip with us...blessings on your summer,

Susanne said...

That museum sounds like something right up my alley!

The game sounds like it was so exciting!

Barb said...

What a great trip, Karen. I'm just now catching up with you and here you are, in my old stomping grounds. Rob and the girls and I lived in St. Louis (actually Creve Couer and St. Charles, two suburbs of St. Louis) for four years before we came back to Colorado in 1988.

I hope you and the kids get to go up into the Arch. It's amazing.

On your way to the shore on the east coast. Sigh. Lucky you!

Mary said...

Last time I was in St. Louis, we intended to go up in the Arch, but there was a thunderstorm, which set my husband off, and then there was a FIRE at the top of the Arch! At that point, I'm sad to say, we did not give the museum enough attention.

Boomeyers said...

Doggone, Karen, I just caught up! I would have met you downtown for lunch and brought Rissa and my Emily to play in the pool with your Emily! :-) Darn it! Maybe next time! Glad you enjoyed the game. Hope the weather was cooperative!