Tuesday, 6 January 2015

DAY 27 - Skirting The Mississippi To St. Louis

Hi y'all, and welcome to Day 27's Blog coming to you from St. Louis, Missouri, the "northern-most of southern and the southern-most of northern" cities, the birthplace of 7-Up, home of Bread-Co and gateway to the west with it's famous, enormous Gateway Arch.

Today we travelled from Memphis, Tennessee heading due north, covering three states, Tennessee, Arkansas and Missouri and a distance of 303 miles / 488 km in around four-and-a-half hours. The route shadows the west side of the mighty Mississippi River.

Memphis to St. Louis along the mighty Mississippi River

The drive (as usual) was pretty straight-forward and commenced with the crossing of the Mississippi River on the Memphis-Arkansas Memorial Bridge which was mentioned in yesterday's Blog. After entering Arkansas, we first came across West Memphis. This seems crazy in that it seems that Memphis actually spans two states.

Crossing the Mississippi River on the Memphis-Arkansas Memorial Bridge

Welcome to Arkansas

The 'other' part of Memphis is in another State

As we left West Memphis the vista comprised mostly flat crops on both sides of the road with very little trees around. The first part of the drive also had some very long straights with two straights in particular being around 45 miles / 60 km in length. With the cruise control set for the GPS speed of 80 mph (in a 70 mph-zone) (it's the done thing over here...honest), the drive seemed to go pretty smooth and quickly, having to slow down periodically for trucks overtaking other trucks. After we passed into Missouri, the drive remained the same in terms of crops, but suddenly we hit trees (forest) on both sides of the road. We only stopped twice along the way, once for fuel and the other for lunch.

First stop for fuel in West Memphis

Welcome to Missouri

You can see the sudden change from plains to trees as we travelled through Missouri

At first I thought this said that if you hit a worker you get 10G's...alas

Second stop for lunch was in Perryville...but alas there was no sign at all of Katie

Welcome to Missouri's Republican County

Further up the road getting close to St. Louis
Here's a picture of a truck and earth-moving equipment for Todd

We arrived in St. Louis and proceeded straight to our Hotel in Chesterfield (to the north-west of the city) to settle in and rest after the long drive.

Welcome to St. Louis

The Hotel we are staying in is the Homewood Suites at Chesterfield. Not only do they offer breakfast, but they also offer free dinner for its guests and tonight was Spaghetti, and not only that there was free beer on tap as well as red and white Wine. I elected to go with the Cabernet Savignon, I mean we are talking Spaghetti aren't we? But importantly, it was so nice to have a home-cooked meal for a change.

Around the same time, the sunset from the Hotel was just breathtaking.

Sunset at Chesterfield, Missouri on 06 Jan 15

After dinner we decided to head out to the arch so that we could check it out at night, with a plan to check it out during the day tomorrow. The website stated that it was open until 2200h, but for some reason it closed about 10 minutes before we got there (1800h). Also, because of a misunderstanding between Bob (our GPS) and I, I missed the turn-off into downtown leading me across the Mississippi River and into Illinois. I think that's the first time that a disagreement between Bob and I has led me into another State. But, we eventually got back to where we needed to be. In spite of the fact that the gateway Arch was closed, Schuyler and I took the opportunity to photograph it from various vantage points. This was great except for the fact that the temperature was -4 degrees C outside, so it took us a while to thaw out when we got back to the car. The other problem is that the Gateway Arch is so freaking HUGE, so you probably need to travel at least half-a-kilometre away if you want any hope of catching it all. Here's some shots:

The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri

The Excavator in the foreground gives you some sort of idea of the hugeness of the Gateway Arch

We then headed to check out some Record Stores that Schuyler had researched and he managed to find some rare albums. One of the Record Stores, The Record Exchange was just amazing with what looked like probably hundreds of thousands of LPs, CD and just about everything else.

Joshua and I checking out the Record Exchange store in St. Louis
Well, we have now settled in for the night, so that's all for this report. Tomorrow, the temperature is set to drop to as low as -19 degrees C...wish us luck ;)