A day under The Arch-and we don't mean McDonald's!

Trip Start Jan 01, 2007
Trip End Dec 31, 2007

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Flag of United States  , Missouri
Sunday, September 16, 2007

  We got an early start to a wonderful day in St. Louis.  After an hour and half drive, we parked right under the Gateway Arch (which we discovered is actually called the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial) and boarded The Mark Twain - a large riverboat that runs on the Mississippi River.  It was a 5 1/2 hour cruise, which took us through Lock and Dam #27 (of 29 total on the Upper Mississippi - Lock and Dam #1 is in Minneapolis), and to the mouth of the Missouri River.  It was a picture-perfect day (about 400 pictures-perfect, in fact!), a bit cool on the second deck sitting at the bow of the riverboat, but with a jacket, absolutely delightful.  Adding to the experience was our sighting of a large flock of rare White Pelicans, who must have been resting on their southern migration, and many Great Blue Herons, as well.  To reinforce the riverboat environment, there was a dixieland band on board, and a wonderful luncheon was served.   
   We hoped to take the ride to the top of the 630 foot Arch (hadn't realized before that you could do so!), but it was sold out for the day, so we settled for walking around it, and spending a couple hours in the Museum of Westward Expansion on the ground level.  It occurred to us that we pretty much did the modern-day version of the Lewis and Clark Expedition this year, only backwards, starting out in May and June at their travels' end points in Oregon and Washington - and today, spending time where they whole thing began, in St. Louis on the Mississippi River! 
   The arch itself is a pretty fascinating structure - the tallest of all U.S. Monuments (the next closest is the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C., at 620 feet, I believe).  The story of the design and construction of the Gateway Arch is also quite fascinating - here's some background on the challenges:  Click here: Jefferson National Expansion Memorial - Gateway Arch Architecture (U.S. National Park Service)
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