Another day of this heat wave. I give in. I cry Uncle. Where is the rain? Or a good cloud? or a day with a high BELOW 30? The dehydration, exhaustion and heat stroke have beaten me down. Today I was so tired, and hot, that I barely took any photos. It was also so busy in St. Louis that it took 5 hours to do 2 things. We were so hot that we were unwilling to stand outside for 3 hours to wait for the free Gavin DeGraw concert. The heat exhaustion has us ready to come home. I’ve never been this overheated….ever. Heat can definitely dampen the fun. There was so much I wanted to see/do in St. Louis – and so little of it got done because of heat. So I end my day a little frustrated and annoyed. I’m sure you sensed that. (it also doesn’t help that he Mississippi river may have the most vicious mosquitos ever. My feet have been eaten alive and are throbbing from the itch/pain)
So what did we do?
1. Cahokia mounds: Just East of the Missouri border (in Illinois), are living sites and burial mounds for native Americans (look carefully to see me on the top of the mound and Ray on the stairs). From a distance it is hard to understand that the mounds are – they just look like hills, so time in the museum helped us better understand what we were seeing and the significance of the region.
2. St Louis Arch: a Jefferson memorial in honor of his role in westward expansion. Tiny enclosed ferris wheel style cars take you on the 4 min journey to the top (over 600 feet). For those of us who don’t like tiny enclosed spaces, it’s not the most enjoyable windowless 4 minutes. The parabolic arch continues, even at the top the floor. What you see is what you get. So when you get off the elevator it is uneven ground and angled windows. I really loved the simplicity and elegance of it and found the national park it is housed in to be beautiful (yes, another national park). Underneath the arch we saw an Amish family, looking rather out of place, and at the base a museum dedicated to the westward expansion.
3. Mississippi river boat tour: Mississippi river facts: in Missouri all casinos must be on the water, the river is mostly industrial, there are 27 locks north, but none south of St. Louis, it is deepest in New Orleans (400 feet-ish) but only 20-30 feet here in St. Louis. While we learned a few things about the city, and that was neat, most of the time the boat felt like a bit of a tourist trap (i.e. rip off).
4. Drive Historic Route 66: We journeyed over a one way bridge, cross the chain of rocks canal, to drive a few minutes on the historic route. You would figure with the length of the road trip that we would have seen more of Route 66, but we seemed to be going the wrong direction this time around.
5. Campsite Relaxation: Remember that heat wave I mentioned? Well we headed back to our KOA for a nice swim in the pool before dinner. Cool down was essential. However, we got eaten alive by bugs in our attempt to make French toast – which meant dinner inside the tent and early night to bed. The bugs were so bad I had to ask myself at 8:30 PM whether or not I could wait until the next morning to use the bathroom, because I didn’t want to brave the outside (and bugs) any more. This is by far the worst mosquito infestation I have ever experienced in all my travels and years camping. And that is saying something. Next time in St. Louis (or anywhere along the Mississippi I think), I would opt for a hotel.