I was lax and didn't take so much as one picture in Cedar Rapids. After I left there, next stop was St Louis. I was 3 hours early to meet up with somebody, so I decided to bike downtown, where I found that Arch. I broke my streak of non-photography with a postcard-pretty picture of the old court house and the arch:

Geez! that's one big arch..and its sides are steeper than I remembered.

Down by the river I found this cool statue. Not of Tom Saywer and Huck Finn, but Lewis and Clark! Go figure. In the background is a train of barges. I've seen one barge at a time being pushed by tugboat in Philly, but this was a chain of 5 or 6 barges, all pushed by a tough riverboat.

Oh yeah, there's a dog in the statue too. I don't know the name of the dog. No word on Sacajawea.

The Eads bridge (the closer one) was the first bridge built in St Louis. It was the longest span of its time. When railroads overtook rivers as the preferred means of shipping and transport, St Louis had to act fast to keep from subsiding into just another fading river town. The bridge was built in 1874 and omg it's still there! I didn't drive over it, but I did drive over the other pictured bridge, the Martin Luther King Drive Bridge.

There's that damn huge arch again...

How huge is it? Well here's the two bases of the arch. That tiny little thing leaning against the closer base is my bike.

The next day it was nice and sunny out. I parked about 20 blocks out from the river, where there were no meters, and biked back into downtown.

Since it was so nice out, it was a good day to go up inside the arch. yes, you can actually go INSIDE. There are two trams that feel like some kind of mellowed-out amusement park ride that start under each base and take you up to the apex of the arch. They are TINY inside and the decor is straight out of a 70s sci-fi flick!

Up a few stairs...

...and you're there!

630 feet up.

I can see my car!

Eads bridge and MLK bridge again, from a much higher perspective:

Click this one to see all the teeny tiny little people better...

A bank-to-bank shot of the mighty Mississippi:

And finally, a shot to the east: East St Louis, a charming spot, but clearly not the spot for me.

Oh wait! here are some pictures from back on the ground! This dizzying twisted thing is the arch some of the above pictures were taken from. If you press your nose right up against the screen, maybe you can see the tiny windows up there.

...and that's it.

next stop: Dallas TX
road trip 2007