Gateway to the West

After Sunday morning’s rainy run in Tulsa, we hit the road again, this time for St. Louis. We got a later start than we intended, so in order to make our 4:00 Gateway Arch tour, we had to drive a liiiiiitle faster than, say, the speed limit suggested. Every ten miles or so, the GPS’s projected arrival time dropped by a minute–in the end not only did I get us there with 20 minutes to spare, but I scored a sweet parking space a block away.

A massive construction project blocked much of the area around the monument itself, and the entrance line was super crowded. It probably took half an hour to make our way to the five-person tram that took us to the top. And the observation area was much smaller than I expected. I’ve been to the top of the Washington monument a dozen times, so I know these places are tiny. But probably a hundred people crammed into an area smaller than the average elementary school hallway. The interior walls sloped inward so to see out the tiny windows, you have to sort of lean forward on your stomach. Low clouds obscured much of the view, although at one point I could see the baseball game at Busch Stadium beneath us.

Monday morning we woke up about 6:30 and headed out to run. I’d mapped out a tentative route that went from our hotel to the City Museum, a partially-outdoor maze of climbing structures made from things like airplane fuselages, a steam shovel, and a fire truck connected by enclosed wire tubes. A school bus dangled from the roof and a couple of concrete serpents watched over the whole thing. I can only imagine how cool this place is when it’s open!

From there we ran over to Market Street, which took us past the public library and some fun sculptures at a new(ish–M said it wasn’t here in 2004 when he spent several weeks here for work) city park, toward the old courthouse and the Gateway Arch. Like I said, much of this area is closed so we couldn’t turn right and run along the path parallel to the river; instead we turned left and tried one of the bridges to see if it had a pedestrian sidewalk. Indeed we were able to run across the Eads Bridge–we went a little more than halfway to ensure we’d crossed into Illinois, however briefly.

From there we ran past the Arch again and down to Busch Stadium, then looped back to our hotel for a total of 4.8 miles. It was humid but didn’t rain, and the temperature (like the previous day in Tulsa) stayed pleasant and cool. Yes, the construction thwarted us a couple of times, but overall the green spaces and the sense of rejuvenation felt welcoming and safe. And I love that these early-morning runs in unfamiliar places give me the opportunity to see the city from a different perspective than the previous day’s tourist experience.

Next up: our fifth state in three days


One thought on “Gateway to the West

  1. Dad and I were at the top of the arch in 1987. I shot a nice pic of old Busch. On teh way down, we shred a car with an old lady who began freaking out. That was fun!


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