Day 5

Trip Start Jul 26, 2006
1
5
16
Trip End Aug 2006


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Flag of United States  , Indiana
Sunday, July 30, 2006

Today we planned to visit the Gateway Arch and take a Riverboat ride on the Mississippi River. We were up around 7am and called ahead for tickets to ride the tram up in the Gateway Arch. This turned out to be a very good plan. I thought I remembered Mom & Dad talking about having problems getting a seat because it was so busy. It costs an extra $3 to reserve seats, but it's well worth it. We were able to get seats for 11:10am. Figured this would give us enough room to get lost and park and hike how every many miles needed to get from parking to the Arch and still make it through security, which they said could take a half hour. We just didn't want to be rushed. We arrived at the Arch around 9am, waited about 15-20 mins to get through security. Then we went to Will-Call to pick up our tickets and they said they had room for us on the 10:10am ride if we wanted it. That tram was leaving in about 10mins so we jumped at the chance to get an earlier ride. The line for the poor folks that didn't call ahead for tickets was really long and there was no line at all at the Will-Call booth.

We scurried over to the line for our tram ride up and you would not believe what you ride in to get up there. I just figured it was some kind of elevator or something that everyone stood in together. But noooo, I was way off base. They put 5 of you in this little itty bitty pod with 5 small plastic seats. Your packed in there shoulder to shoulder, knee to knee. Then the door closes -- you had better not have a problem with small places. I don't think you have to worry about heights on the way up, you can't really tell how high up your traveling. There are two narrow windows in the small door. Speaking of the door, it is so small you have to bend over to go through it. Through those windows you can see the dark inside of the arch which has stairs going all the way up. So we should probably be thankful we're not walking up all those stairs. The pod makes a jerking motion as it goes up each level, which made me wonder how often they've had to grease those gears since the 60's when it was built. If I'd been thinking ahead about what we wanted to visit along the way instead of flying on the seat of our pants, I would've checked out this web site http://www.nps.gov/jeff/arch-ov.htm which has loads of information about the Gateway Arch. But that's okay -- It can be more fun and exciting walking in without knowing what to expect. Once you reach the top and get out of the pod there are long narrow windows to see down below and take pictures. It was a clear day - since the storm from the night before had cleared the air - and you could see for miles and miles and miles. I thought the ride back down went faster and smoother but Hubby disagreed. Anyway - by the time we were back down in the main building the crowd was unbelievable. There was no way all those people in line were going to get on a ride to the top today. I couldn't even find the end of the line. We were so thankful we had called ahead and came early and were able to get an even earlier ride to the top.

We walked around the museum, which was very nice and informative, including everything from the 1800's to the 1990's. Next we walked over to the dock and bought tickets for the noon ride on the Tom Sawyer Riverboat cruise up and down the Mississippi River. The boat had three levels and the bottom two levels had air conditioned compartments. The captain gave historical and current information about the surrounding area we were seeing during our cruise over a loud speaker while we walked around the boat looking at the sites and taking pictures. There were drinks and snacks available on board for purchase and restrooms too. It was a very nice and comfortable cruise.

By 1:45pm we were back on the road again heading east on I64 through Illinois and into Indianna. The scenery was made up of more corn fields. Did I mention the oil rigs we had been seeing along the way? Well, there are plenty and they are all in the corn fields along the highway. Imagine being able to make money from the corn on top of the soil and the oil below it. Sounds nice, but I'm sure there's more to it than the simplicity I just gave it.

Later in the afternoon we took a scenic detour from exit 92 at Levenworth, Indianna along Hwy 62 to Corydon. Part of the highway paralleled the Ohio River. We pulled over to look around and get some pictures. This section of the Ohio River was pretty big. There was lots of farm and grazing and forest land on the Kentucky side of the river. Couldn't see much for beach area, we were up on a cliff looking down at the river. There happened to be a barge working it's way down river. You could hear faint music coming from the barge as it got closer. There was also a house somewhere below us that had music playing. It just added to the scenery. I couldn't make it out, but it had that down home hillbilly tone that seemed to belong with the river and country setting.

We arrived in Corydon Indianna around 6pm and decided to stay there for the night and get a few loads of clothes washed.

One bit of trivia we learned from our Riverboat guide was that the guys on the tug boats work 30 days on and 30 days off. What a life that would be, to spend 30 days living on a tug boat pushing containers up and down the river and then 30 days back on land to be a part of the real world.
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