The Gateway Arch in downtown St. Louis was quite impressive. It is a towering 630 ft. high and would make the Statue of Liberty, Mt. Rushmore, and even the Washington Monument seem small if they were present. It resides in a beautiful park where photo opportunities seem endless. Forty blocks of buildings along the Mississippi river were torn down to make the park.
The temperature that afternoon was in the mid-90's and somehow felt hotter. We were glad to look around the air conditioned Westward Expansion Museum below the arch and take the tour to the top of the monument. The view of the city and surrounding area revealed how flat the Midwest is compared to the Piedmont region of Virginia. The girth and power of the Mississippi was also evident from the top. The river's importance for commerce was also evident as 12 barges lashed together into one large barge seemed to be the preferred method of moving goods. We ate some dinner, watched a movie dedicated to the westward expansion and then walked down to the Mississippi and threw in some sticks that are now destined for New Orleans.
The next day, we slept late, missed breakfast, hit the pool and only did a short day of travel to Topeka, KS where we again enjoyed the pool and just hanging out. The kids really enjoyed the Turbo Twister pool slide at the Holiday Inn in Topeka as did Dad.
Today is a long day on the road as we are traversing the bulk of Kansas. The eastern portion was surprisingly hilly as I thought we left all the hills before the Rockies behind us on the other side of the Mississippi. The central portion has something I don't remember from my previous treks across the state, oil wells. I certainly hope the farmers are getting the profit from them. The combines are out in force here in the western portion where the wheat is ready for harvest and the fields go as far as the eye can see. It is almost like being at the ocean where you can see all the way to the horizon with nothing to block the view and the wheat and corn substitute for the water. Corn is abundant, but not like I remember it. A sign promises to show us the largest prairie dog in the world and a six-legged cow, but I don't think we have the time for that. Huge puffy white clouds float in an otherwise perfectly blue sky. The temperature is 90, but not nearly as hot as is seemed in St. Louis.
God willing we will be camping on the foothills of Pike's Peak outside of Colorado Springs this evening. I anticipate the elevation will make the temps cooler than we have experienced so far and am looking forward to that and a view of beautiful mountains. Travelling is surprisingly easy with the kids reading books, watching movies, playing video games, texting and the van just humming along. The trip is tiring though probably due to inactivity and stiffness more than anything plus sleeping in unfamiliar beds.