Travel – Day 2 – St. Louis

Today we departed from the Ohio/Indiana border and drove West. The goal for today?  To tour the “Gateway to the West.” That is the St. Louis Archway. This is a 630 ft tall stainless steal monument that was built to signify the westward expansion. We drove about 6 hours, non-stop through Indiana and Illinois.

Day 2 - Indiana

Day 2 – Indiana

In Indiana, Illinois and Missouri all lanes move at the same speed and drivers will occupy any free lane at what ever speed they please… Very interesting.

Motor cycle drivers in left lane.

Motor cycle drivers in left lane.

Rain was a common theme for our trip.

Rain was a common theme for our trip.

 

Illinois - Typical Drive

Illinois – Typical Drive

 

We reached the Arch and took the ride to the top. This 5-10 minute ride took a few hours of preparation. The cars are spaced apart as to limit the number of people reaching the top of the arch and allow for viewing time. The entire area is under construction and the water front spaces (such as the parking deck we put our car in) were flooded and under water. In a few years there will be a new visitor center and museum. In the mean time, ticket sales are in the old courthouse building, about a 10 minute walk from the arch. Keep in mind the road closings. As we learned, with all the construction, there are lots of walkways and roads that you can not pass thorough. It took a few tries to find our way about the city.

St. Louis Arch and Construction Site

St. Louis Arch and Construction Site

At the top of the arch are a few viewing windows flanked by people. You know, when you are at the bottom, you look up and you can almost see the arch moving about… well, at the top, you can feel it moving…

As we were leaving the park, where the arch is located, one of the horse and buggy drivers yelled out to us. She informed us that a big storm was on its way, we had about 10 minutes, they were being called in and she noticed that we didn’t have an umbrella… Very nice person… It turned out this storm would produce funnel clouds and tornado warnings.  We managed to leave and head to a Cheesecake Factory for dinner in Chesterfield. By the end of dinner, the sirens were blaring, the storm was raging behind us.  We drove West.  Just barely on the edge of the cloud front… Had we stayed in St. Louis for dinner, we would have been trapped in the storm.

Dark Storm Clouds in St. Louis, looking east from Chesterfield. Tornado sirens in the background.

Dark Storm Clouds in St. Louis, looking east from Chesterfield. Tornado sirens in the background.

After running from the storm, our check point was Kansas City.  We would drive for about 250 miles before putting in for the night.