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St. Louis, Missouri (we crammed a lot in today)

**And by today, I mean about 4 hours.

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We got up early, did a bunch of work, moved from the Casino Queen parking lot over to our new spot (5 minutes down the river) at Cahokia RV Parque (on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River). Then we did a bunch more work before heading out to explore St. Louis a bit. 

We started at Pappy's Smokehose for some lunch. Whoa. We got there just after noon and there was about a 30 minute line that had increased to about an hour by the time we were moving from the hallway to the interior of the restaurant.

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This place is the real deal. Loud blues blasting from huge ceiling speakers, red and white vinyl tablecloths, a display of 100s of different bottles of barbeque sauces running the length of one long wall…and the food was delicious. Kevin thinks the ribs he makes are maybe the closest to St. Louis style ribs, and I agree. The sides were great as well. Between the two sides we each got we tried green beans, sweet potato fries, fried corn on the cob, and barbeque beans. Anyway, yum. Then…we went walking.

We headed down to the waterfront to check out the arch. It's pretty cool and we thought we might go take the trip up to the top of it.

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The arch was designed by Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen as a monument to the westward expansion of the United States, and built between 1963-65. (Tons of great information and history here if you want to read more about it.)

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Up at the very top in the middle are these tiny windows. That's where you get to go when you go to the top.

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You ride up in these trippy little pod modules that hold 5 people and the inside of each one looks like this:

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It takes about 4 minutes to get to the top, and I think it would be tough if you had any kind of claustrophobia, but it's super cool being up at the top of the arch and the ride is a little like the transition in some video game: you can see through the door/window into the interior of the arch…winding stairways, metal interior structural things, fire extinguishers…it's pretty strange, actually, that you can even get up into this thing the way you can.

Once at the top you're in an area with those little windows that looks like this:

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630 feet from the ground:

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With some amazing views (this one is my favorite):

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I love that you can see the base of each side of the arch in this shot:

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Down in the lobby/museum area they've got some cool exhibits. This one told about the builders and architects.

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This is a photo in the lobby that advertises the "making of" film that we didn't see (the next one didn't start for an hour) but it looks from this image like it would be super interesting:

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After the arch we walked around the park and the waterfront a bit. This is the American Queen, a Victorian steamboat that does cruises along the Mississippi River. You can book a room for 7-12 night trips…sounds kinda fun, actually!

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The steamboat's smokestacks:

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This is the base of the Eads Bridge that connects St. Louis, Missouri with East St. Louis, Illinois.

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Eads Bridge with arch (and pigeons):

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I took far too many photos of this Union Light and Electric Building, but it was so cool!

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Okay that's all. 

Great corner detail on the United States Court House building (built in 1935):

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Love the facade of this building:

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And check out this architecture and detail on the St. Francis Xavier College Church:

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There are so many cool old buildings in St. Louis (and so much more to see, really). Just before we decided to head home, we checked out a bit of the industrial area down by the river just south of the Poplar Street bridge:

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I love the residue of the previously adjacent building on this wall:

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On the way home, this sign we passed made me laugh:

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Mom loves you. Love, mom.

Here's our new spot:

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The park has Wi-Fi, but the main good connection is apparently down and the others aren't good enough for us to use successfully, so we're using our Verizon data card. Solid AT&T cell service, full hookups, laundry, and fabulous location (about 5 minutes from downtown St. Louis).