Have you ever wanted to just get up in the air, away from all the clutter, and see the big picture?
One item on my personal “bucket list” is a ride in a hot-air balloon. I’ll need to be a paying passenger: balloon pilots are not among my friends.
Now which one looks the best? The hippo has a certain charm. Then again, the bees on the honeycomb make a statement. Fierce like the dragon? Perhaps the goose laying the golden egg. A mushroom? Snowman? Pig or sheep?
Any one, with the right pilot and weather conditions, would help you “rise above it all” for a brief time.
If you begin in St. Louis and intend to drive any great distance (or any moderate distance) you will find it necessary to cross at least one river. Depending on direction and distance, you may cross more than one — or the same river more than once.
Today we’re going to focus on driving southwest from the heart of the city. The first sizable (except during flood) river you will encounter is the Meramec. The first time you cross it on Interstate 44 or a state highway running roughly parallel, the river is flowing south — perhaps a few degrees to the southeast.
Less than ten miles later, Interstate 44 crosses the Meramec River again — where it flows north. Like most rivers, perhaps a little more than average, the river changes direction several times as it wanders from the source to the Mississippi River.
This is a crossing where a steel truss bridge with oak floor planks spanned the water in 1900. In 1932, a new bridge, to carry the traffic for the new US Highway 66 replaced the previous. When the Interstate was construction, a new bridge, a little south (upstream) was completed. The old (second) bridge continued to serve local traffic until 2009. At that time, the decking was removed in an effort to lighten the load on the steel trusses and wait for funds to restore the structure which now lies within a State Park.
A trace of Bridge #1 remains with the pair of footings visible at low water. Bridge #2 — deckless — is in the foreground while Bridge #3 carries the traffic from St. Louis to points southwest such as Rolla and Springfield in Missouri, Tulsa, OK and beyond.
Small towns and large cities alike frequently have streets with one or more of the above names.
Yes, they often parallel a river — whether the river marks the city limits and cuts through the center of town. It’s a natural — rivers served as liquid highways (many still do) long before the network of roads in the United States was developed to support more than a man leading a pack horse.
Roads have improved — in number and quality. Often they served the many factories which were built along the rivers. Transportation has always been important to industry. A large number of the factories, many outdated, others closed for dozens of other reasons, no longer receive or ship goods on the rivers. Instead, fleets of trucks arrive with raw materials and depart with finished product.
Exceptions do exist.
A freighter passes through a draw bridge while using the Fox River as a liquid highway. From a riverside path (re-purposed railroad right-of-way) we followed along at a brisk walk as the ship headed toward the third and final drawbridge before entering Green Bay — leaving the city, entering the bay.
Can you imagine traveling this way from one city to the next in the Great Lakes?
Actually, the definition depends on your age. For young adults — even some in typical middle age — the events and artifacts at this museum are history. For the generation older — well, we remember when they were in use.
Do you remember the 1960’s? Or are they stories from older family members and final chapters of history books?
While many of the items at this museum were designed, built, and in-use before my birth — a large share continued in use into my young adulthood.
I spent a delightful day at this location. I started on land. However, I spent the largest portion of the time on the floating portion of the displays. It took time for me to tour to all the parts of the aircraft carrier which I wanted to see. I tried to imagine myself as a crew member. Did I work on this deck? Sleep in this section? Eat here? Ladders, not stairs. Deck, not floor. How many of the planes on the flight deck did I recognize? What a view from the captain’s chair!
When visiting Charleston, SC, I suggest you allow several hours to enjoy some recent history — or 20th Century history — at Patriot’s Point. A visit to the ships and displays makes a nice contrast to the 17th and 18th Century sites in the historic portions of the city.
The United States is not a compact country. We sprawl across the middle of a continent and then for good measure add a few parts not connected to the rest.
One of the disconnected portions — accessible only by sea or air — is a tropical paradise. At least, that’s the way it was presented during long, cold upper Midwest winters.
This author is old — old enough to remember when this was one of two new states added to congress and the reason for new stars in the flag. (Wonder how my father felt about it — four new states were added in his lifetime.)
Sugar cane, coffee, pineapples, and tourists populate this collection of islands. Volcanic in origin, certain places remain active to this day. My visit, while short, was relaxing and memorable. Will I return? I’m keeping an open mind. Then again — many other places with fine, warm weather remain unchecked boxes on the list of places welcoming tourists.
Building on this well-worn phrase, this woman (when young) moved West — following the young men?
Actually, I was part of the third generation in my family to pack her (or his) suitcase and head toward the setting sun.
Those in my grandparent’s generation moved to work in the lumber industry. Nieces and nephews which followed also went for job opportunity — but these were as teachers and office workers. My generation? A little adventure mixed with using my education.
Drawn by employment, and weather, my relatives at various times have lived (or are living) from San Diego and Pasadena in California all the way up the coast to Bellingham in Washington and most of one decade in Alaska.
Pick your adventure. Do you want to try the high desert in Nevada? Perhaps you’re move inclined to agriculture or industry in California. Don’t forget Oregon — just because I didn’t buy a mug doesn’t erase the state — with ranches, mountains, and beautiful coast. The mountains in Washington include the trademark Rainer. As Mount St. Helens reminded us in 1980 — even a volcano can be snow-capped.
So come for adventure. Stay for work. The Far West beckons with opportunity my family could not ignore during the entire 1900’s.