For more than ten years, we have gone through St. Louis at least twice a year and looked at the Gateway Arch from a distance, but we have never stopped. Until today. The Arch opens at 9:00 AM in the fall so we left Mickey D's just before 8:00. The drive into St. Louis was uneventful except when the GPS told me to take the exit off I-55 to the Milking Bridge. It took a moment to realize that it was trying to say M L King Bridge.
The website said there was a parking area for buses and RV's. We drove around the perimeter of the site and saw indoor parking with a 7' height clearance. We asked two people (one a transit security officer) who didn't know where the RV parking was. We traveled down a very nasty cobblestone street. Finally, we found the spot along the waterfront on Leonor K Sullivan Drive marked for RV's and buses. No one else was there, so we parked and walked the half mile to the base of the Arch.
We caught the Tram back down, a ride that only took three minutes. The Museum of Westward Expansion was included in the price so we spent some time looking at the exhibits, most of which dealt with the Lewis and Clark Expedition to explore a route to the west coast. Tom Jefferson, who had just completed the Louisiana Purchase, saw the potential of a nation stretching from coast to coast.
There was also a section on the Indians (Native Americans?) and how they were treated by the US Government. It wasn't a pretty story in most cases.
I did see one example of revisionist history when an exhibit referred to the Emancipation Proclamation with the following quote:
"all persons held as slaves within any State.... shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free."
The actual unedited quote was:
"all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free."
See the difference? People keep saying how Lincoln freed the slaves with this proclamation but, in reality, it only freed those slaves held in the Confederacy. There were four Union states that allowed slavery and those slaves remained in servitude. The 13th Amendment did abolish slavery after the war and Lincoln was the author, but this display looked like a deliberate attempt to whitewash the blatantly political/military aims in 1863 proclamation.
After finishing our tour of the museum, we left the Arch and headed back to the truck.
One odd thing was a convoy of five white Crown Victoria's that passed us. They had light bars but no markings or plates. Obviously new, they were being delivered to somewhere. The odd thing was that these cars, all made in St. Thomas, Ontario, went out of production in 2011. I wonder where they got them?
We stopped in Perryville, Missouri for lunch at McDonald's. This time, we actually ate in the restaurant and I got yesterday's blog posted. I was finally UP TO DATE!!!!!!! Sandy had some McNuggets and her usual Blueberry-Pomegranate Smoothie while I had milk and tried the new chicken bacon wrap. It comes in a cardboard sleeve that you tear the top off to give you a handhold. But excess ranch dressing required several napkins after eating the bottom half. Still, it was good. Sherm called to say all was well and he had found us a motel in Mena, Arkansas for the weekend.
The fuel price next door was $3.239 so I topped off before we got back on the road.
Near the Arkansas line, I was getting very drowsy and pulled into a rest area. A few minutes walking around and talking to a trucker from Chicago and I was ready to go again. The land leveled out and I followed one truck for almost 100 miles. The road got noticeably rougher as we entered Arkansas but smoothed out again after a few miles. Almost every town had a Drury Inn, a chain Sandy and I have stayed at a couple of times and really like. Unfortunately, they aren't country-wide. We also saw a Stuckey's sign. And then we saw an actual open Stuckey's. It was looking rough but was still in business.
Back at the room, I posted my bills for the day and worked on today's blog. I got caught up today and plan to stay that way.
Tomorrow, we plan to tour Graceland and then head for Mena to join Sherm.
Today's Route (294 Avalanche/trailer miles):