Under the Arch – St. Louis, MO

St. Charles, MO

On Tuesday we pulled out of our site near Independence and headed east across Missouri.   A few hours later we pulled into our new home at Sundermeier RV Park in St. Charles, just northwest of St. Louis.

After spending much of the last year in the dry air of the west, we are now definitely back in the lowlands of the mid-west.  The weather here so far has been a heavy dose of the three “H”s – Hazy, Hot, and Humid.   In spite of this, on Thursday we ventured into downtown St. Louis to make a visit to the famous Gateway Arch.

At 630 feet, the Gateway Arch is the tallest man-made monument in the United States.

The Arch was designed by Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen (if you do crossword puzzles, you probably recognize the name).  Construction began in February of 1963 and ended in October of 1965,  costing $13 million, about $94 million today.  The monument opened to the public on June 10, 1967.

On the way back to the Jeep we had to pass the Gateway Arch Riverboat Cruises.  Since one of the boats, the Tom Sawyer, was scheduled to leave for an hour cruise on the Mississippi in just a few minutes, we quickly purchased tickets and got on board.

The cruise goes up the river for about five miles, then turns and goes down river a bit, with a nice narration explaining some of the sites and a bit of history of the city entertaining us along the way.

Along the bank of the river we noticed a statue of two fellows and a dog appearing to be trying to get out of the water.

The figures in the statue are the famous explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark and Lewis’ dog, Seaman.  The statue is on the spot where it is believed that the Corps of Discovery exited the river in 1806 upon their return to St Louis from their two year  exploration of the Louisiana Purchase.  The Mississippi is at a high water level right now, giving the impression that the two explorers had to swim the last leg of their trip.  Below is a picture taken at a more normal water level.

We first planned to stay in St. Charles for a week, but with the fourth of July weekend approaching, we decided to extend our stay through the holiday.  The fourth is one of the busiest camping weekends of the year and many RV parks and campgrounds fill up, so we don’t want to be looking for a place to stay during the holiday.

The St. Louis area has a number of interesting places to visit, so we will not be bored during our stay.  Look for more on our explorations later . . .

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18 Responses to Under the Arch – St. Louis, MO

  1. Is there a tour to go up the archway? Let’s add R and T in your H’s …Rain and Thunderstorms.
    We are now in your beautiful state PA, where I see lots of cornfields.

    • placestheygo says:

      Yes, you can take a trip up to the top of the arch. John did that 20 years ago. He was going to go again this trip but the line was very long.

      I’ll look forward to hearing about PA. Enjoy!! Stay dry and cool!

  2. Lisa says:

    Doesn’t seem like a bad place to spend the holiday weekend.

    We are now experiencing a bit of humidity…probably not as much as you are…but I am not used to it!

    • placestheygo says:

      It is amazing how just a little humidity effects you. I found Colorado to be higher in humidity than Utah. Today we actually had temps in the 80’s and the dew point dropped all through the day to the 50’s which made it pleasant. We had a breeze so it was a delightful day.

      Yes, we thought staying here through the holiday was a good idea. There aren’t any amenities that attract families…no pool, playground, lake, or fire pits. And it is very pleasant to sit outside with the concrete pad.

      Hope you are handling the warmer weather!

  3. St. Louis is on our ” to go to” places…maybe on our return trip to Georgia in Sept. I would so have enjoyed the ride on the Tom Sawyer. The arch is beautiful…how did you ever get all of it in your picture? I so dread the 3 H’s when we head that way!

    Have fun….looking forward to more…

    • placestheygo says:

      I took the front arch picture from the boat so that helped with getting all of it. I forgot the camera and had to use the phone so I was thrilled the pictures came out so well.

      Actually, the weather hasn’t been too bad. I guess we reintroduced ourselves slowly to the humidity. There has been a good breeze so I think that is what helped. I do miss the dry weather, however.

  4. The Zoo is very nice, as is the Art Museum in Forest Park. And I’m sure you are planning to tour the Anheiser-Busch Brewery. It was actually better than we expected, even before the free beer!

    • placestheygo says:

      Yes, we are planning to bike around Forest Park and probably walk it as well. I am looking forward to the Zoo. I understand it is a huge zoo. The Art Museum has been closed because they added a new wing. However, it is scheduled to open July 1st and we will still be here. And yes, we plan to visit Anheiser-Bush. Grant’s Farm is the area we really want to visit and I want to take tram through the animal area. We will be here for another week so we will cover a lot of territory. Thanks for the suggestions:)

  5. Pam says:

    I wondered about how you got the whole arch in one photo too–wide angle lens? We enjoyed going to the Museum of Westward Expansion that is under the arch and were surprised to learn it is a national park service area so it was free with Vic’s senior pass. Another fun area to visit is The Hill Neighborhood which is like little Italy–great bakeries and cafes and fun walking around the neighborhoods–maybe need to do it before the heat of the day.

    • placestheygo says:

      As a matter of fact, I forgot the camera and took all the pictures with the phone. The arch straight on was from the boat. We did explore the Museum of Westward Expansion while there. This is a favorite topic for me. I taught a huge unit on the Oregon Trail. We began with Daniel Boone and went from there.

      John was going to ride up the arch but the line was too long. He did the ride during our last visit 20 years ago. It was the very little cars in the arch that developed my claustrophobia. I was having trouble when we got into the car and then when the door started to close, I lost it and jumped out. It caused me to be terribly claustrophobic even today. I need medication to fly, have to work real hard to relax just to ride an elevator. Back then there weren’t any warnings. I see now there are plenty, even the AAA book has a warning. Not exactly a favorite place for me.

      We will definitely check out The Hill Neighborhood. Thanks for the suggestion. We have some much nicer weather coming starting Sunday.

  6. Sue says:

    Well, well, well, you’ve managed to find yet another arch….this one is more shiny than your other discoveries. I think you’re smart to stay put for the 4th. We’ll hang out in Missoula til the 5th, then start the trek home in earnest 😦

  7. The three “H’s” are with us also but we also need to had the big “R” for rain!

    I was wondering if you rode up the Arch, but I then saw your response to a reader. Oh dear…you have claustrophobia pretty bad. So sorry to hear that.

    That river sure is high but gives a neat suggestion. I do like the statue better out of the water.

    Enjoy your stay!

  8. Erin says:

    The three H’s … got it here too. And add to that the R & T … rain and thunderstorm. We had plans to go out walking the past couple of days, but got rained out. Oh well … we will be plenty active this fall, so perhaps it’s not too bad to be sitting for a while.

    We did the Arch on our trek from SLC to DC when we moved away in ’91. We lucked out with short lines the few short hours we were in the city and did get to go up to the top … yeah, not for the claustrophobic there’s no doubt about it. Didn’t have time for the river cruise, though. Will have to put it on the list for when we find ourselves in the area.

  9. Larry says:

    Thanks so much for the input on our trip. We’re still trying to figure out how to see a lot without driving so much. If up to me I’d take 3 months, but we have two new passengers this time so we’ll have to see. We may do some revising as we go along.

  10. Donna Weibel says:

    wow you are only a few minutes from us. next time you are in the area let us know. we have a 250 ft driveway that accomodates RV’ers. we can give you elec and water, just no sewer facilities. St Charles has a grat fireworks show on the 4th and parades in the old town district. I think you will love all the things you can do in st louis. at one time our zoo was ranked 2nd in the world only one that beat us is san diego.’ I linked on to you thru Al’s blogl. Ours is Sam& Donna 5th wheel vagabonds. If you decide to stay a few extra days you are welcome to camp here. We have met many wonderful RVers that have stayed with us and have become good friends.

  11. LuAnn says:

    Haven’t been up in the St. Louis Arch in years…great photos. The big “R” is definitely winning out right now in Ohio.

  12. rommel says:

    AHHHHH! I want to see it so badly. I don’t know why but I really want to see it so badly. And whoa! you captured it excellently! I’m jealous to the brim.

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