May 27th - 28th:  Enroute to and day in St Louis, MO

8:00am:  Bags packed, excitement on the rise; the day has arrived!  Fly to St Louis today to meet up with Frankie, the group from WomanTours and the  bikes!!  Fresh strawberries and coffee served to me in grand style by my good friend starts today, and then a drive to the airport, a quick goodbye and I am left to dream about what is to come.  The sun is shining, the air moderately warm -- a perfect day to fly.  

The flight is a short one; a little over an hour from take off to landing.    Then on to baggage to meet Frankie and begin our three week ride up the Mississippi River.  The WomanTours trip started several weeks ago in New Orleans.  The women should be arriving sometime today into St Louis with a rest day planned for them tomorrow.  Perfect timing for the two of us to get our bikes, meet the group and get orientated before we start pedaling on the 29th.  The women come from all over the US and like us find this type of adventure exciting and fun.  WomanTours has been organizing short and long trips for "crazy women riders" of all levels of experience for years and has the system down pat.  All concerns are covered -- rooms, meals, supplies -- all the rider has to do is pedal and dream.  What a life!!!  Am looking forward to meeting the group and the new friendships! 

4:00pm  Checked into the hotel and exploring the neighborhood.  Directly outside our door is the famous Gateway to the West Arch looking out toward the Mississippi River.  The day is overcastted and the lines long, so we have decided to put the sightseeing ride to the top on tomorrow's agenda.  But the stroll through the park is nice.

Dinner tonight is at the hotel with all the WomanTour riders and guides.  There are 27 of us total now, so learning names will take awhile.  Most have been with the group since the beginning so are "seasoned" riders and their tans prove it.  Caught up to our friend Kathy, so she has become our "introducer" to everyone.  A real help when trying to "join" in the middle.

May 28:  Breakfast at 8am with hopes of going to the bike shop at 9 to pick our bikes.  Oops. the van left without us, but the message was left that they would pick up the bikes for us.  Oh well, guess it makes for a good time to go climb that Arch!!  Interesting design - the mode of transportation to the top.  They call it a tram, which in essence it is, but it feels more like a small time capsule.  Built in the interior of the structure, it is a series of very small (five seat) cabins that anyone over the height of 5'5" will feel like a giant.  The only window is in the door, so as it rises up to the top of the arch all sense of location or altitude is lost.  Anyone with any chance of claustrophobia would have a very difficult time -- fortunately for the three of us -- not a problem.  Once exiting a few stairs are mastered and then the top.  It is an enclosed area with small slits to view the panorama whether east or west.  The views are spectacular even if the viewing area small.  Then retreat back to the "tram" and down the other side.  Definitely a touristy thing, but worth the time.

With feet on the ground it is "Explore St Louis" time.   A stop at the old Court House to witness the court room where Dred Scott and his wife won and then lost their freedom from slavery.  The Dred Scott Supreme Court decision that resulted from actions here in the lower courts was one to the landmark decisions that brought on the Civil War.

A stroll down Market Street brought us to the Grand Central Station, now filled with shops and restaurants.  Slowly we ambled by the Carl Milles Fountain in front of the station enjoying the cool mist that floated over us in the afternoon heat.  Returning to the hotel for a rest was in order before a early dinner and then to bed.  Tomorrow starts pedal time!!

Frankie Under the Arch Looking East in St Louis

Frankie Under the Arch Looking West

Kathy and Frankie at the Gateway to the West

Viewing From the Top

Frankie and Kathy on Top of the World!

Court House and Our Hotel

Eads Bridge over the Mississippi River

Another View from the Top

Frankie in the Arch's Museum


Lois, Frankie, and Kathy at Carl Milles' Fountain