We left Nashville and made the 300-mile (crossing 3 states) trip to St. Louis, a bit longer drive than we like, but that is how things work out sometimes. This wasn’t originally part of our plan, but we decided to make the trek, as we didn’t want to miss the “Gateway to the West.” This was the furthest west we have been since December. We arrived at the Casino Queen RV Park in East St. Louis, a newer park right on the Mississippi River, across from the city with perfect views of downtown and the iconic Arch. As usual, we were surrounded by train lines and major highways, but the location just couldn’t be beat. After analyzing our next few days stay, we decided to head over to the casino for dinner, as we probably were going to eat out a lot and it did not make a lot of sense to head out and try to find a grocery store. We found a nice little deli/bar and ate a decent meal, played a few slots (the table limits were too high), then returned to the MoHo, a bit tired and looking forward to our adventures in the St. Louis the next couple days.
Sunday we got up and headed out to the light rail station across the parking lot from the casino and took it across the river to the city. Our fist stop was the Gateway Arch, officially called the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. We entered into the underground bunker that housed the exhibit, a gift shop, and ticket sales. The tickets were reasonable, only $7 each, with our National Parks pass discount. About an hour later we were in line to head up to the top of the Arch. The capsule to take visitors up to the top was something else. A tiny little bubble that stuffs 5 people in, and it is very close quarters to say the least. (They asked us when we bought our tickets if anyone was prone to motion sickness, which I am, or claustrophobic.) The four minute ride up to the top and a short walk up to the observation windows and we were suddenly 630 feet up in the air looking out small porthole sized windows for 30 miles in both directions. A very amazing view, well worth the trip in itself! I also immediately noticed the movement of the Arch, as it was a windy day, and I could certainly feel it. We descended to the bottom to finish the visit with a few more pictures. On the ground outside, I really started to feel that my equilibrium was not good, and almost felt dizzy for a about the next 3-4 hours; should have taken some of the Dramamine that was sold in the gift shop.
We walked SW out of the park, our next stop was Busch Stadium, and an afternoon Cardinals game vs. the Pirates. We picked up a couple tickets off a guy who had extras and then grabbed a beer in the street and just took in the atmosphere, a much more lively vibe than what you would see outside of a Mariner’s game. The streets were filled with Red Birds fans and there was a really well developed area to get in the mood for a baseball game. We finally entered the stadium, and wandered around and took it all in. The place seemed huge, with 5-6 levels of seats in all sorts of different configurations, with several specialty venues that had different themes and offerings. We also noticed how all the seats were red, and it made it look like the place was packed, yet maybe only ¾ full for most of the game. The game was great and the Cardinals won 7-0, a perfect day all around. We found our way to the light rail station and returned to the MoHo, and cooked in for the night.
Monday we headed out back across the river, first stop was to Mecca: the Anheuser-Busch Brewery! Many of you that know me, Bud Light is one of my favorite beers, so we had to go to the home of one of the most popular adult beverage makers in the world. The brewery offered a free tour, and it was very well done. We got to see the Clydesdales in their stables, see how they make the beer, watch some of the production lines and packaging, and finish with a sampling in their outdoor beer garden. The grounds were enormous, and when you get inside to see the operations and learn how much this facility produces, it starts to blow ones mind. They have 360 huge tanks for making beer. Each of these tanks holds about 3,600 gallons of beer. The tour guide said that if you wanted to try and drink enough beer to empty one tank it would require you drinking one beer an hour, for 127 years. The storage facility below one of the packaging buildings holds 10 acres of product, that is a lot of beer! After we finished we headed NW of town to find another of Triple D’s recommended stops, Dressel Public House. I started off with a great shrimp appetizer, with the best cocktail sauce I have ever had. Traci had the Grilled Cheese with truffle oil and a cup of Tomato soup, and I tried the Porchetta sandwich; hers was out of this world, mine just all right. We finished dinner and headed back to the RV Park, hoping the MoHo was still in one piece. During our drive up to the restaurant, I got a call from the RV Park that they were under a Tornado Warning, and if the sirens went off we must immediately make our way to the brick bath houses on property. I had been watching the weather all day, and felt safe where we were, and thought the storms would miss our home on wheels, but it was still a bit unsettling to get a call from the park none the less. We arrived to the Park, and all was fine, and the clouds broke to give us a nice quiet evening before we headed out the next morning.
Tuesday we headed east, leaving St. Louis behind for a quick one-night stop in south-central Indiana. We were having dinner at some friend’s home, Emi, Mark, their 2 yr old twins KC and Dillon and family dog, a sweet German Shepherd named Wrigley. They live in the town of Ferdinand, a cute little place of about 2,200 people, small town America at its best. We had a wonderful stop, great home cooked meal and nice visit, so glad we could meet up and enjoy an evening together. The next morning we were off to Louisville and the Kentucky Derby!