Saturday, June 29, 2013

Nashville Tn to St. Louis, Mo

Well, a little catching up to do.... after leaving Nashville, we headed northeast into Kentucky. We have visited many caverns but few caves, so we wanted to experience the big daddy of all caves, Mammoth. We stayed in Cave City and actually went on two expeditions, the Newest Entrance tour and the Passage Tour. Both were worth the time and expense to see. The NE tour was only about a mile long and was pretty easy walking. The Passage tour is over 2 miles long and takes about 2 1/2 hours. I would rate it as moderate. Very interesting though, and we had a great guide to take us through. Pictures, those that come out, are not too great inside a deep dark hole....

After leaving Cave City, we went up to John Audubon State Park just outside Evansville Indiana. Very relaxing and a great park. Good stop for some R&R.

Next up was St. Louis, Mo. We wanted to see the Arch and the City. I remember my folks getting lost in St. Louis back in the 50's, so I was happy to have Lola with us. (Lola is our Garmin) Now many of you know I have a fear of heights, so when Debi suggested we go to the top of the Arch, I hesitated. Stupidity triumphs over common sense sometimes, so I agreed to go along. The pictures below prove my point!....

Entrance to Mammoth Cave National Park. Mammoth Cave has over 400 miles of surveyed passageways and is by far the longest cave system in the world. Much of this area was farmland until it was formed into a National Park in 1926. It was preserved and developed during the years 26-41 and dedicated as a National Park on July 1, 1941. During the depression years 33-42, the Civilian Conservation Corps, (CCC) planted over 750,000 trees on this land. The CCC provided work for those who were unemployed. Now we have welfare.

We arrived in St. Louis and our campsite was at the base of the Eads Bridge. This bridge provides vehicular traffic on top, light rail below that, and the St. Louis Riverfront underneath. Built in 1868, it was the longest arch bridge in the world at that time.

Besides the Eads Bridge, we were able to see the famed Gateway Arch from our campsite.  It is the tallest man-made monument in the United States. Construction began in 1963 and it was completed in 1965. It's arch is 630 feet high and is accessible by small 5 seat pods that take you to the top. The goal of the Arch was to revive the riverfront area and the City of St. Louis and to build a memorial honoring the western expansion of the United States.

The goal was to build, "A suitable and permanent public memorial to the men who made possible the western territorial expansion of the United States, particularly President Jefferson, his aides Livingston and Monroe, the great explorers, Lewis and Clark, and the hardy hunters, trappers, frontiersmen and pioneers who contributed to the territorial expansion and development of these United States, and thereby to bring before the public of this and future generations the history of our development and induce familiarity with the patriotic accomplishments of these great builders of our country."

Throwing caution to the wind, subscribing to the adage of "mind over matter", I succeeded in arriving at the top of the Arch.....It swayed about two feet horizontally all the while we were up there. Looking out at the horizon, we found that a large storm had brewed while we were waiting to board the pods that take you to the top. High winds and driving rain awaited us when we got back down!

A view from the top offers a spectacular overview of the City and shows the Jefferson Memorial and Gardens below and Busch Stadium to the left. The St. Louis Cardinals were playing the Texas Rangers.

Gotta love a telephoto lens. You could watch the entire ballgame from up about the cheap seats.....

More views of the City and the brewing storm
From the other side looking down at the Mississippi River

I've included this photo just because I love old farmhouses and barns and this is a classic example.....