Monday, September 10, 2007

Day 4 - St. Louis to Indiana

Tuesday August 21, 2007
total miles 313
total travel time 9 hours (including visit to the Arch)
states: Illinois, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana

We hit the road at 8:30am and headed back west to St. Louis to visit the Gateway Arch. The princess was worried about the speed of the ascent to the top, probably due to her recent visit to Six Flags, so we asked at the ticket counter, and learned that the trams go 4 miles an hour. The Princess was reassured by this information so we bought the tickets.

Our tram was about to leave so we went straight to it. It turned out it was less of a tram and more of a pod.

The Princess’ anxiety about the ride had not disappeared after all, and when we sat down she buried her head in Stephen’s chest and refused to look. Turns out she thought we were simply taking a ride up, over the top, and back down, and she was afraid of how it would feel as we crested the “hill”. She was much delighted when we arrived and got out. We all experienced that weird feeling in your tummy when you look down form a height, particularly underscored in this case by the fact that the design of the windows is such that you can look not only down, but down and back, as the windows angle out.

Here's what we saw from one side:

We took a “pod” back down and as soon as we got out The Princess begged to go back up. Farmer Boy enjoyed the whole thing with his usual quiet smiling enthusiasm; Little Guy’s favorite part seemed to be nursing in the pod in both directions.

Next we spent some time in the Museum of Western Expansion, which is under the Arch. I had high hopes that this would be Farmer Boy’s primary Lewis and Clark educational stop on the trip, but it was not especially engaging, and frankly, poorly laid out even for adults. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to go to a museum in St. Charles that had been recommended to us as having a great child-friendly Lewis and Clark exhibit.

By 11:45 we were loaded back into the car and heading east on I70 again. We had decided to drive as far as possible, as our next major stop was in western Pennsylvania, a distance of more than 600 miles.

As we crossed from Illinois into Indiana we also changed time zones. At around 6:30 pm we rolled into our campground. This was our first night to camp, so we had a learning curve. Everyone pitched in to help:

We barely got the tent up and dinner in our tummies before it was dark. The kids decided we would rotate telling stories to each other before we fell asleep; tonight was Farmer Boy’s turn.

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