Saturday, August 21, 2010

Last Stop: Saint Louis

We are officially back home, plowing through a mountain of mail, making lists, packing boxes and trying to transition from an incredible family "trip" back to the routine we temporarily escaped from.  Before I get swept out in the tide of details into the sea of transition to the farm, I wanted to post a few final tidbits about the conclusion to our eastward advance which took place in St. Louis.

As always, we make grand plans to see this and that when we travel, but reality (and fatigue) sets in and we only end up meeting a slice of our mega-pie of goals.  The chosen slice in this case was seeing the grand Arch, the gateway to the west, the monument dedicated to the brave company of explorers who set out to experience and map out the great expanse west of the Mississippi River.  Forging such an ambitious architectural endeavor as the Arch was impressive to say the least, and we enjoyed every moment of our tour.

(This was a very happy day, because it began in a very happy way - Thank you, Starbucks!)

I am posting a couple of different pics of the Arch under the pressure of my son, Benedict who insisted that I take my tiny camera and snap as many angles of the enormous structure as possible (without kids, because they would literally be specks- zoom in on the kids and they are just standing in front of a big piece of sheet metal.  Arch pics now, kid pics later!).
(Begging child buzzing like a gnat in my ear, "take it from here, mom!")
We rode in a small space-pod like contraption to the top - 630 feet above ground.  There, we could look out small windows to see what the fearless construction crew saw of their beloved city as the worked tirelessly to complete their mission.  Talk about sweaty palms and ceaseless prayers!
Taking it all in - a break on the green space just beyond the Arch along the mighty Mississippi.

After we learned how the arch was built via a video inside the museum, it changed our perspective on the landmark's beauty.

Sigh...just because I love them soooo much.  Even the backs of their heads are adorable.  (Oh, yeah, and that's the Eade's Bridge in the distance - the first major example of bridgework exemplifying the cantilever system.)

OK - enough about landmarks, natural wonders and climbing and canoeing adventures - let's talk about treats.  I can remember almost every trinket and treasure I ever bought on family vacations with my hard-earned babysitting money.  How could I expect anything less that enthusiastic shoppers from my boys??  Waiting for lunch gave them ample time to share and compare goodies.  We loved watching them celebrate!  Benedict with his Lewis and Clark replica compass. Good thing for that - we now have navigation assistance on the way home.

George - I love how you couldn't wait to bust into your Early Explorer Fact Cards - colored pencils and sharpener included.  Yeah for school in disguise!

Can't pass up a good book, can ya, Andrew??  Pony Express, eh?? Mm Hmm...Andrew....Andrew???  Never mind. (We're in a serious story-zone here.)

Henry:  "I'll take a nap in daddy's arms and....

an extra scoop of ice-cream.  A sweet ending to a sweet trip!!

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