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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

At last! I Get The Big Picture.

..in all its glory..


Quality Inn, Topeka, Kansas.  7/16/2013:   You have to remember what the St. Louis Arch symbolizes.  It's the gateway..the portal..that stands where thousands of pilgrims arrived in this city to get what they hoped they would need and then..went west.  They came overland or down the Ohio to the Mississippi on riverboats which brought them to that wharf where the arch now stands.  Frontier guides helped them get ready and then took them on the journey.  Not all survived.  In essence, the arch stands where the west began.



  It is beautiful..it inspires awe and that sense of history.



  Which brings us to today.


  I have driven at breakneck speeds past that arch for many years.  Always in a hurry, having to be content with a shot Mary Alice took out the car window, never having the time to stop and do it real justice.  So, this time I decided that, with all the extra time I gathered on my long distance run yesterday, today I would seek out a spot to get a face-on shot.  I thought surely there'd be at least one place along the waterfront in East St. Louis where I could stand long enough to get it.  I was determined.  So I got off at the E. St. Louis exit and wound through side streets, angling toward the river with every turn.  Then I spied a sign for the "Casino Queen."  Thinking it would be a riverboat and that riverboats need a dock--I reasoned this might be the place, so I followed the signs.  Actually, it's a full-sized Casino, but what the heck--it's right next to the park.  

  If I had been smart enough to look it up on the internet, I would have known ahead of time that, some years ago, the St. Louis Gateway Center Commission reserved land in what is normally an industrial district to build a park with a view..and what a view:


    The structure on the left is the Mississippi River Overlook..part of the Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park.  The late Mr. Martin was a mover and shaker in St. Louis who had much to do with the park at the arch and the one you're looking at in that picture.  The commission put an initial 15-million dollars into it and I'm told it is THE place to be for the Arch's Fourth of July fireworks.  I took this shot from the top of an amphitheater with tiered seating.

  I was the only person around when I got there just after 9AM, local time.  I took three cameras and walked up that ramp to the very top.


 Coming around the last turn, I was startled to see someone sitting on a bench, and started to say something to assure him I was there for the same reason he was.  It was only when I got close that I realized I was talking to a bronze statue.  It's Mr. Martin, with the "best seat in the house," watching his beloved St. Louis and its lovely arch.

  Saying no more, I did clear away some ambitious spiders who were spinning a web under his chin before I got down to some business of my own.

  Old newsmen keep their habits.  Don't rest your luck on just one picture--take a bunch so you're protected and will have a selection, too.  With digital cameras, that's not hard to do..so I probably walked away with about thirty good samples of a picture I've wanted to take for years.

  Thank you, Mr. Martin.  It's really grand.



  In case you want to go and do likewise, don't do what I did.  You can get to the park from the Illinois side of the river by going west along I-70 to Exit 2A (on the left).  Exit onto 3rd Street.  Go .3 miles on N 3rd, turn right at West Broadway/Riverpark Drive..go another .3 miles and take a left on South Front Street.  Go .5 miles and turn left onto West Trendley Avenue.  Park.  Enjoy.

  I'm in Topeka, KS tonight after what always seems like the longest part of this trip--the run between St. Louis to Kansas City.  It's only 225 miles, but it just always seems longer.  I compounded the misery by making a wrong turn and ended up circling through Kansas City to get back on I-70 West..in the process, learning more about Kansas City than I ever planned.

  Oh, well.

  Tomorrow, it's off toward Denver.

  I'll let you know how that turns out.

  Ta.

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7/16/2013