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26 June, 2001

St. Charles Missouri 6/26/01

One of the main attractions in St. Louis is the Gateway Arch. It is visible from most locations within the City and from several miles to the east of the City. The Gateway Arch is located on the banks of the Mississippi. It is a large silver arch that towers 610 feet into the air. The base of the Arch is as wide as it is tall. A city ordinance states that no building can be built higher than the Arch. There is one building that is 20 feet short of the Arch but that is the only other "super" structure in the City.

You can ride to the top of the tower in a small 5 seat car. The temperature in the cars depends on the outside temperature and today it is very warm. You get a feeling of claustrophobia while you take the 4 minute journey to the top. Once at the top, the view is quite spectacular. To the east you can see the Mighty Mississippi and the State of Illinois. To the west, the City of St. Louis spreads out as far as you can see with all its parks, skyscrapers, churches and stadiums. In order to see out the small viewing windows at top, you have to lean over a 24-inch ledge. The viewing area is completely enclosed from the outside environment so there is no chance of falling over the edge but the sensation is the same. It is not pleasant here if you have a fear of heights.

We had the opportunity of cruise down the Mississippi on the Tom Sawyer, a replica of a 1850 paddleboat. This lunch hour cruise was a nice break from our constant moving pace. It was a warm day (250C) with a warm breeze blowing from the southeast. Cumulus clouds are present and you could see how they are building in height. Maybe they will develop into cumulus nimbus then maybe a thunderstorm and maybe even a tornado. That's the Earth Science teacher in me talking now.

After our cruise we went to this really cool little town on the outskirts of St. Louis named St. Charles. It has a historic district with a main street set in cobblestone. There are small shops that line the Main Street. These shop have the most unusual gifts. Ice cream shops appear to be the most popular thing in town because everyone was carrying an ice cream cone. Of course, the students really liked this area since it had what they love to do -shop and eat ice cream. Unfortunately, everyone spent too much money here.

We finished the day at the "loop" in University City. University City is the name of the area around Washington University. This college area has wonderful restaurants and shops. It was more geared to the students age than Cleveland's Flats. A famous restaurant named Blue Berry Hill is located here. Blueberry Hill is a "true" hard rock café. It has been the host to many popular bands and rock artists. The décor and memorabilia found in the restaurant dates back to the 1950's. You can find everything from old lunchboxes and albums to modern juke boxes. Of course, the music is quite eclectic playing everything from early Elvis to Nirvana. Even the food is good according to the students who ate there.

The next several days will be travel days as we skirt across the mid-western United States. Driving across Missouri will take us approximately 4 hours then across Kansas that may take up to 12 hours. We'll be in Kansas soon Toto.

Ciao, Cathi

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