Roadtrip: Day Four

By Day Four, I gotta admit, the days are starting to blend together.

We’ve realized that there are so many things that we would like to see but just don’t have the time in which to do it. We did try and make some time in St. Louis though, because it is home to the Gateway Arch (and Dave also has a fondness for big cities) so we started out the morning of Day Four with plans to visit the Gateway Arch as soon as it opened at 9am.

We snagged a cup of coffee on the way and sipped it on the Arch Mall, waiting for the doors to open. The Mall was very DC-esque, with a lot of lawn and benches and people out for their morning run. It was a welcome break from sipping coffee in the car.

We headed into the Arch and were still up in the air as to whether or not we would head to the top. We started out in the Museum of Western Expansion, which was a circular room that highlighted the timeline and history of the Lewis & Clark Expedition. It had excerpts from the journals of the explorers, noting what they saw, morale of the expedition, the interactions with Native Americans and the joy of seeing the Pacific Ocean for the first time.

I’m really glad we had a chance to check it out. Upon exiting the museum, we went into the Merchantile store, which was full of period candy (I exercised some serious self-control when I saw the peanut brittle), dip-style fountain pens with bottles of ink, books (McGuffey Readers and Little House on the Prairie cookbook, etc.), as well as sales ladies dressed for the time.

Upon exiting, we noticed a pod that was the exhibit of the tram used to get to the top of the arch. Combining “elevator and ferris wheel technology,” the tram fits about 5 people at a time and swings like a ferris wheel basket. Not a nugget of information to win me over. We were pressed for time anyway, so we bypassed the observation deck and headed back to the hotel to get on the road.

Since St. Louis is right on the Missouri-Illinois border, we hit the next state on the journey right out of the gate.

I should also take a moment to mention that while we’ve been driving, Dave and I have been listening to mp3 versions of lessons in speaking/understanding French. It actually seems to be working, though we haven’t gotten past hello, goodbye, please, thank you, excuse me, I’m American, are you French? and I don’t understand. I also learned how to say “a little,” which is un peu. When spoken, it sounds like a sneeze, or the name of the monkey in Aladdin with a ‘p’ instead of a ‘b.’ It makes it easy to remember.

Anyway, we stopped our lessons for a quick bite in Terre Haute, Indiana before getting to Columbus, Ohio, where we were going to crash with my friend Kate and her boyfriend, Kraig.

For those of you wondering how I have friend in Columbus, Ohio, the answer probably won’t surprise you: baseball.

When I went to Denver to see the Rockies play last year, there was another female baseball fan sitting by herself. We are a rare breed, us females interested in baseball enough to go to a game alone, so naturally, Kate and I hit it off. Her coworkers (mostly men, by the way) had no desire to spend their free time at a game so she went alone. I went because, well, that’s what I do.

We chatted the whole game and thanks to technology, stayed in touch and I even surprised her for her birthday last year and that was when I met Kraig and her family.

Anyway, we worked it out so Dave and I would stay at their place for the night and we made it to our destination while it was still light outside. This was a minor victory unto itself. It also left more time to enjoy a glass of wine with our host and hostess.

The visit was much too brief (naturally) but I enjoyed seeing them and I’m glad Dave got to meet them prior to our departure.

Today is our last leg and we should hit New York in time for dinner with Dave’s parents but it will depend on traffic. Word on the street is that Dave’s mom will have salad fixings on hand (bless her— my stomach can’t take anymore road food) so score another one for us.

Dave has graciously volunteered to drive in the city because he knows city driving gives me heart palpitations, but that means I have the middle leg of today’s drive, so pardon me while we do our Chinese fire drill and switch spots.….