St. Louis & the Gateway Arch

Over Thanksgiving last year Mark and I flew up to St. Louis to spend the holiday with his step-mom’s family. Every year they have this big family tradition of competing in their own rendition of the Amazing Race where the entire family is divided up into teams of 4 or 5 and they participate in various events with a point system determining a winner. Apparently this year was toned down big time from previous years due to some reckless driving {more like the real Amazing Race} but it was still a lot of fun. One of the events included bowling…left-handed; it was pretty hilarious and our team won that event only because we were the first to figure out that traditional bowling methods simply didn’t cut it for the non-dominant hand. We devised a system of standing at the top of the lane, swinging the ball like a pendulum a few times and then releasing; the results were far more accurate than the many gutter balls our competitors were scoring. All in all it was a fun time with new family.

The highlight of the trip, for me, was going to see the famous Arch. I vaguely remember cramming in a few facts about the structure before an architecture history test but there wasn’t much that stuck so it was great to walk around the museum and learn all about it. We watched the documentary video “Monument to the Dream” in which the entire construction played out; it just blows my mind how amazing architecture is, I can’t even describe it. One thing I remember from the video is that during construction, to ensure the constructed legs would meet up correctly at the top, the margin of error for failure was 1/64th of an inch!

Funny story…as we are walking up to the Arch we spot some little rectangular specs in the structure up at the top and Mark inquired as to what they could be. “They’re windows,” I said, “I’m pretty sure you can ride to the top and look out.” Again, keep in mind that my memory of the structural facts of this monument were pretty vague so I wasn’t 100% sure of myself. Throughout the morning both Mark and his dad kept making little comments about how they did’t believe visitors are allowed up in the Arch, all the while chipping away at the little confidence I had in my memory. Finally they revealed that they had bought tickets to ride the tram up, to which I said “See! I knew you could!” To which they both just laughed and I finally got that they had been messing with me the whole time…ugh, thanks guys.

So we stand in line for what felt like an eternity, waiting for our turn to take the ride up. The tram consisted of 8 little egg-shaped compartments, each seating 5 people; they looked like something out of an old Star Wars episode. As we ascended, each pod individually retained the appropriate level by periodically rotating every 5 degrees or so, keeping the correct orientation while we went along the curved tracks inside the Arch. Once we made it to the top we could look out the observation windows; the Mississippi River on the east side and the city of St. Louis to the west. Since the whole Arch is formed from an equilateral triangle, the sides with the windows were angled downward and if you leaned over far enough you can see the Arch’s shadow directly beneath itself on the ground {it was around noon}. Kinda scary looking straight down from 630 feet up!

On our way back down, Mark and I shared a pod with a nice man and his two young daughters who lived in St. Louis. We started chatting and both got on the subject of where to eat for lunch. He suggested a little hole-in-the-wall pizza place that the locals swear by so we took his suggestion and had ourselves some Joanie’s pizza afterwards. The weather was nice enough for us to sit outside in their patio area, it made for a great experience…the pizza and the atmosphere.

It was a great trip, we both can’t wait to go back!

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One Response to “St. Louis & the Gateway Arch”

  1. The First of Many « life by britney Says:

    […] was our trip to St. Louis for Thanksgiving and then Christmas in Rogers with my family; Mark was offered his dream job at […]

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