St. Charles, MO
We are still here in St. Charles, about twenty miles west of downtown St. Louis. Our original plan was to stay here for a few days, but with the fourth of July holiday filling up parks, we extended until Sunday. That way we have a good place to enjoy the holiday in a nice quiet park without a large group of holiday campers in the next site partying all night around the campfire.
The heat we experienced upon our arrival has ease some, so early in the week we paid a visit to Forest Park, a huge public park on the west side of St. Louis. The park, which opened in 1876, has hosted several significant events, including the World’s Fair of 1904 and the 1904 Summer Olympics.
The park has a dual path that goes around the perimeter of the park, a distance of about six miles. One side of the path is fine gravel for walking and running. The other is paved for bicycles. The picture above shows part of the walking/running path, while below is a picture featuring the bike path. We parked at the visitors center and headed out to walk the length of the path.
Forest Park features a variety of attractions, including the St. Louis Zoo, the Saint Louis Art Museum, the Missouri History Museum, and the St. Louis Science Center. We made a stop at the zoo, but John said that after almost twenty years working in a middle school, this very crowded attraction brought back too many memories, so we quickly moved on. Our next visit was to the art museum, where the crowd was much smaller.
If you are into art, this is probably a very good museum. But we are definitely not into art, and even thought the three Van Gogh paintings looked a bit like a young art student painted them. But apparently someone likes them, as they are extremely valuable.
Out in front of the art museum stands the Apotheosis of St. Louis, a statue of King Louis IX of France, namesake of St. Louis. The bronze statue was donated to Forest Park by the Louisiana Purchase Exposition Company following the 1904 World’s Fair.
In front of the art museum is a large grass area leading to a large pool of water called the Emerson Grand Basin.
St. Charles is a city of about 66,000 people, sitting along the banks of the Missouri River. Its main claim to fame is as the last “civilized” stop for the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1804. The Corp of Discovery camped here before setting out on their journey to the Pacific. The city puts on a classic American celebration of Independence Day. The festivities began with a morning parade through town.
The St. Charles Municipal Band provided some musical entertainment for the crowd. We saw them later in the evening at a concert along the river.
The boat below is a re-creation of one of the vessels used by the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
After having a daughter active in a high school marching band, we know how difficult it is to get a high school band together for a summer parade, so we were appreciative of the efforts of the St. Charles High School Band.
The parade ended at Frontier Park, a community park along the Missouri River on the site where Lewis and Clark made their encampment.
In the evening we sat on our lawn chairs to enjoy a concert by the town band. They were followed by a rock and roll band.
About ten o’clock the town set off their fireworks over the river. It was much too late for us to be out, so we enjoyed them from the comfort of the motorhome park.
We are just about finished with our stay in the St. Louis area. On Sunday we’ll cross the mighty Mississippi and head across Illinois into Indiana where we’ll make a visit to Indianapolis. Then it’s on to Celina, Ohio to get a few minor repairs done by our friends at Cruising America RV.
More on that later . . .