After spending Sunday enjoying the farm and the various farm implements (ATV, mowers, large bugs the size of small planets) we enjoyed lunch at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception with my Dad and Elaine (where they both work). That evening we had the fear of god instilled in us when the emergency weather warning radio went off. In this neck of the woods sever weather can kill. It looked ok to us outside but we knew it was only a matter of time. Sure enough the thunderstorms and lightning rolled in and we watched in awe.
We set off from my dad's place to head east 300 or so miles to St Louis, Missouri early the next morning. As we drove across Missouri I was struck by how many influential Americans hail from this hot humid hell (which is strange to consider and you'll know what I mean if you've ever been to Missouri).
Walt Disney modelled Main Street America at Disneyland on Main Street in Marcelline, Missouri. Mark Twain is from Hannibal, Missouri and his stories are set in many of the places we drove through. Harry S Truman was born in Lamar, Missouri.
The route we took wasn't exactly direct as my husband was driving and my father was navigating. Neither of them are particularly efficient at either task. I had to put my foot down and insist on lunch for the children at 2 pm.
We walked round Union Station in downtown St Louis. It was amazing to consider the history of this place. St Louis was the Gateway to the West. Lewis and Clark started their expedition of the west from here. All railway lines came together here to take off to their final destination. It was the last bastion of civilization. St Louis went down hill after the Great Depression and has only recently recovered. We witnessed one act of thievery in the mall when a boy stole a pair of sneakers from the local Foot Locker.
We then had to find a motel room (or two). Downtown St Louis was full. We headed across the Mississippi to Illinois. We drove through a rather scary neighbourhood of crack dealers and whores with me in the back seat screaming we were going to be car jacked and Marc cutting across lanes of oncoming traffic no realising he was on a one-way street and therefore nearly getting us all killed. But hey, that's what travels are about.
The next morning we had a quizzical encounter with a young lady who claimed to be Teen Miss Nebraska US United, whoever that is. She requested a photo session with our gorgeous little Abigail for a reason indeterminate. We obliged and then headed for the Arch taking care to avoid the drug district.
It was a beautiful day. The ride up the Arch was a wee bit scary. The view was stunning. The ride down was much quicker than the ride up. The history museum was fascinating. The shop was brilliant.
We then headed to Grant's Farm. This place is owned and operated by the Anheiser Busch family who makes Budweiser. We had a fabulous day with highlights including feeding the baby goats, drinking free beer samples, and getting up close to the famed Clydesdales.
The long drive home was made a wee bit shorter when we stopped at The Pear Tree in Bevier, Missouri. If you are ever in the area (which I sincerely doubt you will be) you must stop in. We had the best steaks ever and a great time (right up to the point I dropped the sour cream and it spread all over the table and very nearly all over my father). Be warned prices are a bit high for the area and whilst the onion rings are good they aren't $8 good.
Photos of all activities follow! Lots of photos!