Thursday, October 2, 2008

Meet me in St Louis

We got into camp and got set up early enough that we had time to drive over to St Louis and spend an hour tying to find a parking place that didn't coast $15.00, we finally found a three hour meter that was open so we grabbed that. After putting a pocket full of quarters in the meter we took off for Busch Stadium to take their tour, we got there at 2 PM and the people were already lining up
for tickets for tonight's game. The tour took just about an hour and
cover the better part of the stadium, we got to go down on to the field (don't even think of
touching the grass), sit in the Cardinals dugout, mess around in the
booth used by the TV announcers. We went into the Cardinals Club dining area, their are 660 green seats right behind home plate and if you have one of these seats you get to eat and drink free in the Cardinal Club, as much as you want until the seventh inning, of course these seats are $14,000 and you must buy a minimum of two. Then they took us to the Champions Club which is similar but the seat are on the second deck and are only $120 per game.
It really is a beautiful stadium, their building a huge complex right across the street where the old stadium was which will be restaurants, shops and condos. Outside the stadium they is a large statute of, who else,
Stan "The Man" Musial, to demonstrate what a great hitter he was the tour guide pointed out that his life time batting average was .336, he hit .336 against both right and left handed pitchers, he also ended his career with the same number of hits on the road as he had at home.

Botanical gardens, Day Two
There are three Interstates that share the bridge crossing the Mississippi, I-70, I-64 & I-55, so as soon as you cross the nightmare begins trying to figure out which lane to be in, which exit or ramp to use to stay on the freeway you want, then just to help you out they have construction on two of the three freeways. We figured that it was going to be a small gardens since it was in the city and that not to many flowers would be in bloom for late September, boy were we wrong. It's Saturday morning and we had
trouble finding a parking spot when we got there, we asked one of the parking attendants why there was such a crowd, and he told us that there were 13 weddings taking place today. Once we got through the main entrance and building and into the garden a little ways it was almost like we were the only ones there, this place was so big it could have handled 5 times the crowd. According to my pedometer we walked three miles and only covered about 60% of the garden, this has turned out to be our new favorite garden and we are already thinking of a return trip during may to see all the spring blooms. This entire garden was Henry Shaw's home and was built for his enjoyment, he ended up deeding the property to the city of St Louis as long as it
remained a garden open to the public.

They have different traveling displays and this time it was a sculpture named Nikkei or something like that, as you can see by the pictures he like his women on the large size. While walking around we came across three of the weddings and a few different areas were there was musical entertainment, when leaving there was a wind quartet in the lobby playing along with some wine tasting. If you like gardens this is an absolute must see, and plan on spending the better part of the day.

Football Sunday Day Three

Rainy Day Four
It's cloudy and it's going to be an all day rain so we just did some junking at the local stores.

The Zoo at Forest Park Day Five
Forest Park is the location of the 1904 World's Fair and still has a few building that remain from the fair, we never got a chance to explore the park it self as the zoo wore us out, the park is about 2 miles long and a mile wide, very big. The zoo is divided into 5 sections, we managed to cover two of them, the Historic Section, which is the original zoo, all the original buildings are here and it has the birds, reptiles and sea lion show. The original open flight house from the 1904 World's Fair is still here and used for the larger birds, cranes, ducks and such so they can fly freely around. The other area we did was called Red Rock and housed mostly African animals, the two best things were the giraffe's lean right over the wall and you can feed them leafs, very up close and personnel. There is a lion that just had 5 cubs a few months ago and they were very, very active, mom tried laying around but the cubs weren't having any of that, they were jumping on her, chewing on an ear or fighting her tail until she would shake them off and start to run away. As she was trotting away one of them leaped up on her back just like an adult would do when attacking an antelope, the mom stopped and fell over on her side just like the antelope would have done, then she gave him a big lick on the face for a job well done. We'll tackle the rest of the zoo next time we're here.

I first saw the Gateway Arch in 1976 on a motorcycle trip and have wanted to get back her and ride to the top ever since, well I finally made it back. The ride to the top is quiet an experience, the tram that takes you to the top is made up of a number of small, very small cars, they are designed for five people to sit in a space that two people would be uncomfortable in, after a four minute ride you crawl out through the door which is about four feet tall and 18 inches wide to find out that you are on the top of the world. The walls are angled out and have carpet on them so you kind of lean out on them to look out the windows and see that there is nothing between you and the ground over six hundred feet below. it gives you a pretty nice view of the Mississippi River and St Louis. After getting back down to ground level we spent and hour at the Lewis and Clark Museum which is underground of the Arch. Across the freeway and still part of the national Park is the old Courthouse, it has been restored and house's a museum with information on the Dred Scott court case which was held in this very courthouse. Dred Scott and his wife were slaves who sued their owner for their freedom, the local courts awarded them their freedom but when it was appealed to the US Supreme Court it was overturned and they were returned to there owner. It's an interesting story and history that covers about 12 years of their life and has an unusual ending.

River Dubois Day Seven
Easy day today just a ten mile drive to The mouth of the River Dubois, this is where Lewis and Clark made camp, just north of St Louis, for the winter to build up their supplies before they headed up the Mississippi in the spring.
They have a full size model of the keel boat that they used, but it's cut in half right down the center, front to back, to show how they used every little space to pack their supplies. Out back is a reconstructed fort that they built and lived in during the winter. Back to camp to watch the baseball playoffs.

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