Jefferson Expansion Memorial

arch-stlouis.JPG

The “Jefferson Expansion Memorial”, which is better known as the St. Louis Arch, is the subject of today’s blog.

I have to say that my visit to the “Arch” brought more than I bargained for.? I expected a visit to an fantastic ?structure, and a chance to take a few pictures and move on, however I was in for a lot more.

For starters, the arch is a remarkable sight.? Today, the sun was shining and since the arch is made of shiny steel it was very pretty as it glinted in the sun.? Aside from the arch’s beauty, there is more than meets the eye.

Underneath the arch is a museum, theatre and the entrance to a tramway where you can ride to the top. To visit everything takes about 3 hours.? In fact it is all worth visiting as it is very well done and first class all the way.

The tramway is an interesting thing.? It is like a cross between a roller coaster and a ferris wheel.? Part of the ride to the top is like you are on a roller coaster and part of the ride is like you are on a ferris wheel.? The tramway cars are very small and only fit 5 people.? Once the door is closed you are in an enclosed capsule.? In the only window you can see stairways and parts of the internal structure of the arch going past, but you cannot see any daylight.? The ride up is four minutes and the ride down is three minutes..

The ride up the arch was the most curious thing I have ever done.? If you are claustrophobic in any way this is not the ride for you.

Once you get to the top you find out whether you are afraid of heights.? The top of the arch is very small room with a curved floor.? There are small windows where you can look out.? I spent about 15 minutes at the top.? I noticed that a lot of people only spend about 2-3 minutes up there and then they were clamoring to take the tram back down.

This what the top of the arch looks like.

The view from the top is spectacular.

The price to ride up to the top was only 10 dollars.? Parking at the Jefferson Expansion Memorial parkade was relatively cheap at only 6 dollars.? This is one place that I have visited that I recommend to everyone.? However, if you come to visit I would advise that you do as I did and come on a weekday morning before the crowds get too thick.? Especially considering the tramway to the top of the arch only runs every 10 minutes and it takes a maximum of 40 people.

Memphis

The drive down to Memphis took me about 5 hours.? It was a wonderful drive as traffic was light and the weather was perfect.? As I got closer to Memphis the grass got greener and the air was warmer.? In fact when I was getting gas in Blytheville, Arkansas I smelled freshly cut grass… something which always strikes me as a wonderful smell after every long winter.

Tomorrow, I am going to visit Graceland.? It should be interesting.

Finally… More About Southern Folk

Tonight I went to the corner bar for supper.? The bar crowd was watching the Country Music Awards on CMT, and they were really into it.???I do love this place!

Sphagnum Moss – Wisconsin’s Invisible Industry

Driving from Minneapolis to Chicago takes you through the great northwest corner of Wisconsin. I always imagined this area to be low-lying farmland, but it was far from that. It is quite hilly and forested. In most places the hills and the valleys are marked by silos and pastures that are home to many, many herds of contented cows.

Sphagnum Moss - Wisconsin?s Invisible Industry

I stopped at a rest stop near Black River Falls, WI and saw this fascinating route marker. Holy peat moss, don’t they have anything more exciting to say about the Wisconsin wilderness? I guess if I was a gardener or a florist I might see things differently.

Freeway Driving

All I can say is it is fun, fun, fun on the freeway! The speed limit for most of the drive was 65mph and the traffic basically drove 65-70. When I got closer to Chicago the speed limit dropped to 55mph, and the traffic drove 75-80. The closer to Chicago I got the more hellish and crazy it got until I breathed a sigh of relief and exited at O’Hare Airport.

The tollways are another wonderment of mine. As you approach the tollbooth there is a sign that says “Toll Ahead, 60 cents for passenger vehicles”. So, I fish my fingers into a pile of US change I had collected for such an occasion and find exactly 60 cents. However, when I get to the tollbooth the sign says 80 cents, so I had to quickly fish for more spare change. This happened more than once… I think that they just increased the tolls but did not change all the signs.

On Course for the next Four Days

The next four days I am on Voyager training at the Ex-Libris offices here in Des Plaines, IL. The office is located just north of O’Hare airport and I have plotted a route to their office that avoids most freeways. Travel should be a breeze tomorrow.

The O’Hare Hilton

While on course I am staying at the O’Hare Hilton. This is a beautiful 4-star hotel, booked on Hotwire.com for only $89/night. The bed is wonderful and I am looking forward to a good night’s sleep. I should tell you that when your book on Hotwire they do not tell you exactly which hotel you will get until you complete the booking. In this case they told me that the hotel was in the general area of O’Hare Airport… however when I confirmed the booking I discovered that the hotel is AT O’Hare airport. I can see inside terminal 2 from my hotel window, and the control tower is just outside my room.

Despite being at one of the busiest airports in the world, it is surprisingly quite here right now.

Looking Ahead

Tomorrow, after class I am heading into Chicago for an evening at the Second City comedy club. I have booked a ticket for the 8PM show.