St Louis – 2012 Road Trip – Day 3 – Cardinals baseball and BBQ

Sunday morning we were first in line for the Gateway Arch, the landmark structure of St Louis. The Arch is a 630-foot monument, the centerpiece of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. Clad in stainless steel and built in the form of an inverted, weighted catenary arch, it is the world’s tallest arch, the tallest monument in the Western Hemisphere, and Missouri’s tallest structure that you can go up in.

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The ride to the top is completed in small pods that can pivot to keep the rider level despite the curve. From the top, 600’ above downtown St Louis, is a commanding view of the city, the stadiums, river and nearby neighborhoods.

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Just to the north is the Eads Bridge, The bridge is named for its designer and builder, James Eads. When completed in 1874, the Eads Bridge was the longest arch bridge in the world, with an overall length of 6,442 feet. The ribbed steel arch spans were considered daring, as was the use of steel as a primary structural material: it was the first such use of true steel in a major bridge project.

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On June 14, 1874, John Robinson led a “test elephant” on a stroll across the new Eads Bridge to prove it was safe. Two weeks later, Eads sent 14 locomotives back and forth across the bridge at one time.

From there we headed to the edge of downtown to the St Louis Union Station. The station. another National Historic Landmark, was the primary passenger intercity train terminal for St Louis. Once the world’s largest and busiest train station, it was converted into a hotel, shopping center, and entertainment complex.

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Not often do we go to the same place twice for a meal during a road trip, but our dinner on Saturday was so good we went back Sunday for lunch to BB’s Jazz, Blues & Soup. It is a great atmosphere, fantastic ribs and the best mac and cheese ever. And to make it better it is caddy corner from Busch Stadium, and we were there for a game

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Good luck gave me not only the chance to go to a baseball game in what is generally thought of as America’s best baseball city, but they were playing Pittsburgh on this very hot Sunday.

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While our seats were nearly at the top of the stadium behind home, that worked in our favor because of the view, the lack of a crowd, and in the 100+ degree heat, it gave us shade and a slight breeze.

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The stadium atmosphere inside and out was good, they even had a St Louis Fire Department truck running a hose as a mister for the crowd in the street outside. On top of that I was wearing a Pittsburgh Pirates T-shirt and nobody gave me a hard time, likely because they had had a 20 year losing streak.

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We stayed for most of the game, but given the heat and the fact that we had a long drive we decided to head out after the 8th inning. It was a long drive out of town, and eventually out of all of the suburbs west of St Louis. It was this drive to Kansas City that I decided Missouri was even worse than Indiana for left lane drivers. But we eventually made it to Columbia, and exited I-70 to take a break by checking out the University of Missouri campus.

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One of my Roadside America stops was in Columbia, a statue of Beetle Bailey sitting at a table. After a couple of photographs of Beetle, and a few of the campus and stadium, we continued west.

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It was another 100 miles to Kansas City, and since it was Sunday evening the left lane drivers had all gone off to church or something, so it went by fast.

I booked our motel near the twin stadiums outside of Kansas City in the city of Independence. I was expecting a built up area, but there was nothing there except the motel, a Denny’s and the stadiums across the freeway. So it was Denny’s for dinner.