On the Mississippi at St Louis

Trip Start Sep 17, 2012
Trip End Sep 30, 2012

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Flag of United States  , Missouri
Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Springfield to Rolla - 290 miles

The day started with a drive around Springfield. The city is the state capital and the home of Abraham Lincoln. The centre of town contains all the principle state buildings, with domed roofs and ornate architecture. After an hour, we got back on to Route 66 looking for our breakfast stop, the Ariston Cafe. It was not yet open though....

Perhaps a bit of a surprise to us, as we approached the Missouri state line, Illinois became a jungle, with trees filling the horizon. Our first real icon of the trip would be the Chain of Rocks Bridge over the Mississippi river. Following the 66 signs through Illinois had been easy so we found the bridge with no trouble. What we had not appreciated though was just how long the bridge was, until we walked most of it. The bridge has been closed to traffic for years, partly because it is not big enough for modern day traffic and partly due to its ageing condition. The iron work was stunning (and we would see many more smaller bridges built this way later in the trip). The Mississippi is an enormous river, even this far inland. From the centre of the bridge, we could see the Gateway Arch in St Louis in the distance; our next port of call. The river is also the state line between Illinois and Missouri.

St Louis
Arriving in St Louis caused us a bit of a problem as we discovered somewhat later that the original and later bypass route had both been signed. We wanted the early route but found ourselves on the later route. We did not realise this for quite some time though and had to take the Interstate back into to town, in part because we got lost! The Gateway Arch is mind boggling big, made of stainless steel and over looking the bank of the Mississippi. A clever lift carriage conveyed us from one foot of the arch up to the observation deck 200 metres above ground, with excellent views of the Missouri country ahead. The Arch literally is the Gateway to the West. We lunched at the Eatrite Diner before picking up the route again heading west toward Rolla.

The Meramac Caverns slipped by without a visit as we were too pressed for time.

We arrived late in after leaving the interstate too early. We did find excellent steak and salmon at Matt's Steak House though.
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