St Louis

It has been over a week since I last posted so I will try to catch up as much as possible. 

Last Saturday we took a ride and found the Prophetstown State Park in Indiania.  What a wonderful park – they have a huge campground – wonderful bike trails – hiking trails – plus they have an old indian settlement and a farmsted.  We took a tour of the house which was an old 1930 Sears house – quite interesting and very nice.  They then took you on a wagon ride pulled by two horses to the indian settlement.  This was from 1808 and we got to see the council house.  They had a guide whom was very knowable so we learnt a lot about the indians in the area during that time frame.  We then walked around the farm and saw an old model T – old farm equipment and a totally working farm.  We then took a ride and saw Purdue University.  That is huge and a very nice campus.  We stopped in target and bought another crock pot – did not bring mine with us and really could use one.  Across the street was the huge factory where they make Catapillar equipment.  Back home for dinner and relaxation.

Sunday was a day of getting ready to leave Indiania.  We did take the truck and get it washed – I help dry it off – never thought I would do that but kind of enjoyed it.  We also did laundry at the campground.

Monday morning we left and traveled on a few back roads and then hit the interstate.  Stopped for gas and lunch and then stopped in Illinois at the Vandalia State House in Vandalia.  This was the capital from 1836 to 1839 and where President Abraham Lincoln served in the house of representatives.  We were disappointed to learn that it is closed on Monday.  We did take pictures outside and it is really a beautiful building.  Our next stop was at a Pueblo Indian store.  Tim got two shirts – I just looked.  We then arrived at the Casino Queen Campground.  We will stay here for a week and enjoy the area.  We can look out our door and see the arch in St Louis across the river.  Tonight we went to the casino for dinner – they had crab legs for $15.95 all you can eat.  Course I orddered a steak – not into crab really.  I played a few slots but they do not have many – not as exciting as Atlantic City or evn the casinos in Ct.  Very small – stayed about 30 minutes and went back home.

Tuesday we rode all around St Louis.  Found the Anheuser-Busch Brewery and went on a tour.  We got to see the historic stables which our home to the clydesdales – we got to see the beer being brewed and at the end got to have 2 glasses of beer if you wished.  It was really interesting and the grounds and buildings are so clean and pretty.  Flowers are everywhere on their grounds and just stunning.  I found out that you should drink fresh beer – anything over 110 days old they cannot guarantee taste.  They use barley malt, rice, hops, yeast and water to make beer.  Beer should be poured to produce a 1 to 1 ½ inch head.  This foam releases the co2 and makes the beer less filling.  As everyone knows we are not really beer drinkers but this was really interesting.  They offer tours in Fairfield Calif, St Louis, Mo, Fort Collins, Co, Jacksonville, Fla and Merrimack, NH.  If you get a chance take a tour.  It is completely free and they have a wonderful gift ship.

Wednesday we did some grocery shopping and then went into St Louis to the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial.  This is a memorial to President Jefferson, the La Purchase, and the people whom lived and settled the west.  Our visit consisted of a tram ride to the top of the Gateway Arch.  You get into a little car which can seat 5 and it goes to the top – remember it is an arch so cannot go straight up – really weird and alittle scary.  Once at the top you can look out these little windows and see the city of St Louis on one side and the other is Illinois.  Really cool.  To bad the cardinals were not playing at home – you got to see the whole stadium.  We then visited the Westward Expansion Museum which tells how the settlers worked their way west.  It was really interesting and so much to learn and see.  This trip is such a history lesson to us as a lot of this was new to us or forgotten.  We have been out of school for along time.  Again the only thing that cost money was the trip to the top.  So much to see and do in this country for free. 

Thursday we went to the Grant Farm which is owned by the Anheuser-Busch Farmily.  We got on a tram and it took us on a ride to see all kinds of animals grazing in the fields.  We saw buffalo, zebras, deer, horses, cows, etc.  They let you off and you get to see more animals – they have an area for kids to feed the goats.  The goats are babies so they are small – never saw this before – it was so darn cute.  The kids feed them with baby bottles and they were in heaven.  You also get to see the world famous clydesdales – even new borns.  It was a very nice day but quite cold  with the only cost being parking for $8.  The property was once the home of President Grant and was bought by the Anheuser-Busch Family in 1903.  His log cabin which he built sits on this property.

Across the street is Ulysses S Grant National Historic Site run by the National Park Service. The house is called White Haven and you get to see this plus the summer kitchen, chicken house, ice house, and stable.  They also show you a short film.  President Grant was not from this area but came to St Louis on orders from the army after graduating from West Point.  His roommate at West Point was Fred Dent and President Grant would marryhis sister Julia.  This is the home of the Dent’s which Grant bought and farmed for many years.  He had planned on coming back here after serving two terms as president but lost all his possessions.  He wrote his life story before dying and this money is what his widow lived on for years.  He died in 1885 and him and his wife are buried in New York.  It was interesting to see the house – no furniture – so you really use your imagination. 

Friday we took a ride to Forest Park where the 1904 Worlds Fair took place.  This park is like Central Pak in New York but is bigger by 500 acres.  It has 1371 acres and so much to see and do.  We visited the visitor center first and got some information.  We then went to the History Museum.  They have different rooms with different displays.  The first one was about the worlds fair in 1904 – wow what an amazing fair that must have been.  I have only been to the Worlds Fair in New York back in 1965 and hope to attend another one some day.  You really got to see the visions of the future in this display.  The next room was an exhibit of Spirit of St Louis and Lindbergh’s story.  It was so imforative – got to really learn a lot.  Then on to the early St Louis to present day.  Great displays and so much history.  You saw things that you completely forgot about – a kitchen from 1960 – wow have things ever changed.  Again this was completely free. 

Our next stop was the St Louis Zoo.  This is also in the park and has over 11,000 animals.  We got to see rhinos, bush dogs, capybaras, hippos, red river hogs, carmine bee-eaters, elephans, bears, prairie dogs, malayan sun bears, apes, gorillas, sea lions, lions, tigers, takins, antelopes, camels, zebras, okapi, addax, antelopes, giraffes, and kangaroos to name a few.  Some of the animals were new to us – but it was just wonderful.  Again completely free.  What a wonderful way to spend a day but gosh were we ever tired.  We walked and walked – and by the end of the day you knew you were getting old.  Everything on my body ached.  Got home and had pictures on my computer from Susan.  They were of the girls and just delightful.  Made my pleasant day that much better.  After a wonderful dinner of pot roast we just relaxed with a book and a glass of wine. 

We have seen a great deal in this area and really enjoyed ourselves.  Today is Saturday and we are planning on leaving on Monday if we get our mail.  They told us we could get mail here but it has not arrived as of yet.  Keeping our fingers crossed.