Yes, that may sound harsh, but if you have been tracking us for the past few days, you would know the unfortunate events that have us staying in this city (see this post for more details).
Well, as of writing this, we will be heading out in the morning. The truck is repaired and the trailer has 4 brand new tires. We won’t be rushing it, but we will be pushing to get to Colorado as soon as we can.
To help bide the time while we were stranded in St. Louis, we took a day to go to the Arch and the Westward Expansion Museum. It has been 9 years since Stephanie and I visited on the tail end of our honeymoon, so it was fun to revisit it and remember the times when it was just two of us running around. I remember getting to see and read a lot more in the museum at that point, this time around was more of, “Hey, look, a saddle” or “What do you see in the tepee?”.
|The view as we walked up to the arch from our parking spot.|
|No one counted, but that was a lot of steps.|
We parked our van down by the river (SNL fans?) close to the ferry boats and walked up the bank to the arch. The kids seemed to have fun with all of the steps to get to the arch. We were unable to play on the lawn much and do a photo session, partly because of riggers taking care of a stage, but mostly because of the heat. So we quickly made our way inside to where it was cooler and more to see and do.
It was quickly determined that we needed to get our tickets to go up the arch first, so Stephanie got in line for that while I purchased our National Parks Pass. For those that don’t know, there is a discount for adult tickets to ride to the top of the arch, none for children. I’m just excited to have a parks pass again.
We then wandered around the Westward Expansion museum while we waited our turn to ride. There are a lot of neat facts and quotes to read, and plenty of real and recreated items from the different eras. One that stood out to us was, “The great majority now crossing the plains were profoundly ignorant of what was before them when starting…”. I have felt like that recently.
Soon enough our time had come to head up to the top, and so we did. The six of us crammed into the little trolley and made it to the top in one piece (more on that later). It was a beautifully clear day, so we were able to see for miles around. The views were great and I think that the kids really enjoyed getting that perspective on life.
|Checking out the view of the Mississippi River and how far it goes.|
We packed it back into the trolley for the ride down and then decided it was time to visit our campsite and get some dinner. But I know that a funny story is what you are waiting for, and we can’t go anywhere with out some kind of story. Here is the deal. Right after parking, Stephanie realized that neither one of us had grabbed the diaper bag after making sure it was stocked. We felt we would be alright, that we were not planning on being gone for too long, and honestly thought that we would make it through the day. Wrong.
We almost did make it. It was not until we were in the holding area for the trolley to the top that I looked over at Eliza and she had that look. I had to pick her up since she had hidden in a corner, and that was mistake number one. I quickly discovered my arm to be covered in something warm and squishy, and had to discreetly get Stephanie’s attention so that she would know what the issue was without the bigger kids finding out and announcing it to everyone. Did I mention that we were at a point of no return? No bathrooms, no oops I need a napkin. We were in line to board the trolley. Knowing that I only had a minute or so, I quickly remembered seeing someone else park a stroller by the exit. I found them in a flash and inquired about some wipes, at least wanting to get this mess wiped up and not dripping anywhere else. They were more than helpful letting me grab as many as I needed, and thankfully there were also a plethora of extra diapers, correct size and all, in the bottom of their stroller. A big THANK YOU to this family for bailing us out.
I shoved the goods in my cargo pocket and ran back just as they were calling our number for the trolley. We waited the tense minutes for the previous occupants to unload (much like my daughter) and for our turn to board. This is the point that I felt like I was on Minute To Win It. We knew that there were about 3 minutes to get this mess cleaned and diaper changed before those doors opened. Needless to say, I had about 30 seconds to spare! The next fun part was disposal. I saw that the Park Rangers had a trashcan at the top, but upon seeing what I had to dispose of, they asked if it had #1 or #2 in it. I couldn’t lie to a ranger (it’s a crime, right?), and the response that I got was along the lines of they don’t empty these cans regularly enough for that, accompanied by a very disgusted look. However, they did provide us with some paper towels to wrap up our steaming package. Gee, thanks!
|A crude panorama of how small the trolley is with my phone.|
We got to take our present back down with us. Yippee!
Needless to say, we left after we got back down. At least Stephanie had hand sanitizer with her.