To read this in order, please see Sister Saga or follow the links.
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We got up late – at least for us. Cheri went to the lobby to get coffee and noticed that the included breakfast would only be served until 9 and it was already after 8.30.

We then went back to the room and packed up our stuff and got into the car. We took off and headed west. We saw signs for the Clabber Girl museum. We got as far as Terra Haute where we found the museum – finally. We did see some high water and the elementary school surrounded by sand bags.

Clabber Girl stories will follow.

Pam and Cheri in front of the Clabber Girl Museum

Pam and Cheri posing. It sure is nice to be the person making this.

We then got back on the road and stopped at the AAA that was on the same road as the museum. We got some tour books for all the states we were traveling through and then went on to the K-Mart. Cheri needed batteries for her camera and we shopped around. We got beach towels and Pam made a new friend while looking at swimsuit cover-ups. We left with our treasures and got back on Route 70 West and finally made it to Illinois.

We continued on our way, looking for things to see and do and going along in strings of P words. We had deep philosophical discussions concerning important things like the difference between cussing, cursing, and swearing.

Next we needed a bathroom and pulled off at an exit somewhere in the wilderness of the midwest. There were fields and more fields and eight houses built around a dirt path and then down the road – a super Wal-Mart. We stopped in there.

Back on the road, we neared the Mississippi River. There were signs about delays on one bridge but not another. We had no idea what bridge we were supposed to be crossing. However, we did have internet access in the morning and knew that the Gateway Arch, while experiencing some high waters, was still open to the public. We made it across the bridge and drove right into completely stopped traffic. We could see the arch immediately to our right, but were hemmed in by concrete retaining walls.

Unable to get to the Arch and nervous about it. That's me driving.

We slowly inched forward and Pam finally rolled down her window and asked a driver on the other side of the retaining wall for some directions to the place. They helped us get there. We could only go to Second Street because First Street was flooded.

The Gateway Arch looming upwards

Gateway Arch at ground level

Mississippi River encroaching on the Arch; flooded First St.

Pam and Cheri against the wall.

The three of us at the top of the Arch

The Arch's shadow falling across the Mississippi River

We made it to the arch and rode to the top. We got out and took our pictures and came back down. We walked around the park and took more pictures and then got back to the car. Pam had driven most of the day. I had gotten us from Ruby Tuesday, where we stopped for a late lunch, to St. Louis. But it just seemed too scary to drive a strange car if I didn’t have to. Cheri declined as well.

The parking garage had a very steeply circled ramp that was coated with scratch marks from all the cars that had hit it. Pam negotiated the ramp and asked the parking attendant for directions back to 70 West. “Turn left, up the hill to the light, turn right.” Accurate, but not complete.

After turning right we came to a five point intersections with a flashing red light. Each of the roads were at least two lanes and cars were going past willy nilly. Off to the left was a sign indicating that 70 West was in that direction. We waited for a chance to go and the driver behind us encouraged us by helpfully honking his horn. This further disconcerted the driver.

We figured out that it was a five way red flashing light. I have no idea how we were supposed to know this in advance, but the two Louises were glad Thelma was driving. We were vigilant in our continued search for further signs indicating where in the hell 70 West really was. There were several twists and turns and finally we were on a ramp that actually got us onto Route 70. As Thelma drove up the ramp, the two Louises whooped and applauded.

The next thing to do was get past St. Louis and into some suburban area in order to be sure to avoid rush hour traffic, just in case we are on the road during that time. We finally settled on a Day’s Inn and got off at the appropriate exit.

The sign was right there and we headed in that direction. However, it took three tries to actually find the entrance to the hotel and one rather iffy hill that looked like we were going to be driving right into some over filled lake – but it was only an optical illusion and we finally got to the hotel.

The place is not quite a five star hotel, however. I would be uploading this wonderful tale, but I don’t have internet.

Cheri was sitting in bed reading when Pam noticed a wasp flying around the room. The wasp landed on Cheri’s forehead and being a helpful big sister, Pam told her, “It’s on you.” Cheri had not seen a bug flying and so reached up to grab the offending critter as it waltzed through her hair. She then, in typical Cheri fashion, screamed wildly and began to flailed around the bed while waving her arms like a windmill. She then jumped around the room panting and fanning herself. Next, she took her croc, tracked the wasp down and beat it to a bloody pulp while screaming. She IS the charming sister.

Things settled down and we all fell asleep.

Next post is here.

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