Gateway to the West only $7

Gateway-0710The drive to St. Louis was long and boring nothing but farmland the entire time, and I felt like it was never going to end. I didn’t mind so much after the sun had vanished, at least then I can’t see versus seeing nothing. I got an early start Thursday in St. Louis waking up at 6am and heading to the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. I spent the first two hours of my day drinking coffee and taking sunrise photos of the Gateway Arch, Mississippi River, and various other things to kill time.  Then I went to the (Free) Old Courthouse where Dread Scott had sued for his freedom. It was a good way to spend an hour and it had been since high school that I lent any thought to Dread Scott.

Gateway-0250The Arch finally opens to the public; I spent the first hour and a half inside the museum learning how Jefferson helped to settle the west and following Lewis and Clark’s expedition across the US. This section was also free and had many artifacts to look at. You should never waste anything that’s free. Much of the artifacts were originals though they did have a few replicas scattered about. After seeing EVERYTHING there was to see that’s free, I paid the $7 (National Parks Annual Pass discount) and ascended to the top of the Gateway Arch at 630ft tall viewing 30 miles in either direction.  Spent about 45 minutes taking all the pictures I can, while using my sweatshirt sleeve to wipe the forehead grease and fingerprints off the tiny windows to get a clearer shot. I talked to a few nice people up there too and hopefully they are reading this blog now. Then I got bored and decided I had gotten my use out of the seven dollars, so I went back to the courthouse to go in the places restricted from drinks. I couldn’t throw away my coffee the first time.

Then I stopped by the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis which was amazing cover floor to ceiling in mosaics. I didn’t have any religious epiphanies, but it was nice to walk into a giant piece of art work. It is a well worth while stop for anyone regardless of religious or non-religious beliefs. From there, on my way out of St. Louis, I stopped by the Zoo because it was free. I enjoyed seeing and photographing the animals but can’t help but feel bad for them. Animals that roam hundreds of miles confined into small areas. Half of them looked sad and ill. Some animals had spots of fur or feathers missing. There was one ostrich that had a bald spot on its body the size of a basketball. No I’m no Zoologist but I believe that is a sign of an unhealthy bird (Maybe just the pecking order). Another depressing event at the zoo was a woman and child hollering at the gorillas and making “gorilla noises”. The gorilla spent most of his time hiding his face, before running off to the other side of his prison cell. I can only assume someone so ignorant couldn’t read the hundreds of signs that said “Do not harass the animals”.Gateway-0339

The day ended with a stop at a cheap motel that looks like one straight out of a serial killer movie stuck in the 90s. But it was a bed and a hot shower after a long drive; I didn’t care at that point.

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