Tuesday, October 6, 2015

St. Louis to almost home

Cooper is doing a little better. Saturday he had another bad spell, so we called my brother; Bob told us to double up on Cooper’s anti-nausea meds and to feed him numerous small meals a day. That seems to be helping. Yesterday Jim didn’t even have to wrestle Cooper into the rig. Instead, Cooper walked up and down the ramp on his own four legs. Not easily, but he did it. He is one tough doggie.

Since we decided to go back to our home in Salt Lake (instead of our original plan of exploring the Ozarks and then heading to Arizona), most of our days have been spent driving and watching over Coop. We've camped one night each in Columbia, Missouri; St. Joseph, Missouri; Lincoln, Nebraska; Ogallala, Nebraska; and Rawlins, Wyoming. With one short, but lovely exception, all we saw of those places were the RV campgrounds. 

We did, however, get in one short trip to downtown St. Louis before we left Scott Air Force Base. The local light rail has an end-of-the-line stop at Scott, so we drove to a parking lot on base and hopped on a train that took us just a couple of blocks from the Arch. We may have set a record for "shortest visit to the Arch."

The lovely exception after that was in Lincoln, where my brother and SIL Don and Trudy live. We had a great visit and a wonderful home made dinner of chicken pie, salad, apple cake and enough IPA beer to get Jim to Salt Lake and then some. Thanks so much, Don and Trud!
A view of St. Louis from my seat on MetroLink, St. Louis' light rail system. If you look near the center you can see the reflection of someone's ear in the glass. Not sure who that is.
St. Louis' Gateway Arch is 630 feet tall and clad in stainless steel. Built as a monument to the westward expansion of United States, it was completed in 1965.  We watched a movie about how it was built.  None of the construction workers were wearing safety harnesses; some guys weren't even wearing safety helmets.  But according to the movie no one died during construction.  
Construction is everywhere at the Arch. Planned improvements include an amphitheater, biking/walking paths and gardens.  I read that the project is expected to be completed in 2017.  
The St. Louis Arch frames the city's Old County Courthouse, which was completed in 1828.  Slave auctions were held here (the last one in 1861) as were all of the trials for the Dred Scott case.  The courthouse now houses exhibits, movies (we watched one about Dred and Harriet Scott) and is an information/ticket center for the Arch.
We crossed the Mississippi River via the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge in St. Louis as we drove to our campground in Columbia. The bridge opened in February 2014, is named for the former St. Louis Cardinals baseball player, and is known locally as the "Stan Span."

Bev and her baby brother saying hi to Mom in Ohio.
Our spot at the Sleepy Sunflower Campground in Ogallala, Nebraska, complete with sunflowers.  It wasn't fancy, but the owners were helpful and with our Passport America membership we had electric/water/sewer and really fast Internet for $17.50.  Next time I want to visit nearby Lake McConaughy, a reservoir on the North Platte River.
As we drove toward Laramie today, we saw so many "Caution: Fog Ahead" signs we thought maybe the fog had burned off before the signs were turned off.  No such luck.  Wyoming's I-80 reaches an elevation of 8,640 feet, and at that point if it's rainy, you are more or less in the clouds. This is the last photo I took of the fog, because from here until the fog cleared it was very thick and both us us had our eyes on the road.


  1. It wasn't until we lived in St. Louis that I knew that The Arch, and the Courthouse were part of the National Park System. I would often see the "Forest" Rangers walking the grounds, standing guard at the museum underground beneath the arch and acting as crossing guards for pedestrian tourists crossing the city street in front of the courthouse, and wondering how different these tasks must have been from guiding park visitors up and down the "Bright Angel Trial" in the grand canyon, the type of job for which they thought they were signing up!

    1. I didn't realize they were national parks either (even tho I was there before with you and Sandy). We have two National Park Passport books that we get stamped at every park -- and did we take them to the Arch? No, of course not. Just like you said, the "forest rangers" were directing traffic -- plus keeping people from wandering into construction -- when Jim and I were there.