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Agriculture Being Watered in Kansas
Agriculture Being Watered in Kansas

Then we headed off across flat Kansas and wound up in Salina at the Lakeside RV Park. We found ourselves in the middle of millions and millions of acres of hay, corn, soybeans and sorghum. We didn't see much being harvested and most of the hay looked like it had been cut months ago.

Large Round Bales of Hay in Salina, KS
Large Round Bales of Hay in Salina, KS

The next day we drove to nearby Lindsborg. This is a quaint little Swedish village just south of Salina, where we saw many large Dala Horses that had been expertly decorated. We enjoyed some of the shops and a park near downtown. I was impressed with the cobblestone streets too.

Large Dala Horse in Lindsborg,KS
Large Dala Horse in Lindsborg,KS

On Monday, Aug 1 we continued along I 70 and stopped at the Wizard of Oz museum in Wamego Kansas on the way. It was a surprisingly hilly and woodsy drive. We camped at the Basswood Country Resort just north of Kansas City.

Wizard of Oz museum in Wamego Kansas
Wizard of Oz museum in Wamego Kansas

Tuesday we explored Kansas City and found the condo Dayadevi lived in for 7 months back in her IBM days. We took a very round about route but got a good look at Kansas City in the process. I especially loved this fountain of a variety of children.

fountain of a variety of children
Fountain with a variety of children

The next day we drove to St. Louis and camped at the MGM Lakeside RV Park but we were not very comfortable there so the next morning we moved to the KOA next door. Then we drove into St. Louis and wound up in the Hyde Park section of town which is literally falling down and being destroyed, partially by vandalism and partially intentionally to make way for new housing. It was very interesting to see these new homes being constructed in a matter of a few hours by cranes assembling prefabricated sections of the buildings.

Church destroyed by vandalism
Church destroyed by vandalism
new homes being constructed
New homes being constructed
new homes being constructed
New homes being constructed

In downtown St. Louis we tried to find a good place for lunch and would up driving across the river. Then we drove back into downtown and stopped to check out their huge Post Office, with these great second story murals that portray almost 200 years of St. Louis history.

St. Louis Main Post Office
St. Louis Main Post Office
St. Louis Main Post Office
Murals Inside St. Louis Main Post Office

Next we explored the historic Union Station which was renovated a few years ago and now houses a three story mall with lots of great places to eat and shop. There is also a large hotel and even a pond. It also has a good museum which explains the history of this great train station and the trains that it serviced.

Union Station, St. Louis, MO
Union Station, St. Louis, MO
Union Station, St. Louis, MO
Inside Union Station, St. Louis, MO
Union Station, St. Louis, MO
Inside Union Station, St. Louis, MO
Union Station, St. Louis, MO
Museum Inside Union Station, St. Louis, MO

We finished our day in St. Louis by visiting the Gateway Arch although we arrived too late to go inside.

St. Louis' Gateway Arch
St. Louis' Gateway Arch

On Friday we drove up to the Alton area to check out the confluence of the three great rivers, the Mississippi, Illinois and Missouri.

Map of the Confluence of the three Great Rivers
Map of the Confluence of the three Great Rivers.

There is a legendary mythical bird called the Piazza who made many appearances during our day trip. Here it is on the side of a cliff above some interesting large caves.

Mythical Piazza Bird
Mythical Piazza Bird

As we drove along the Mississippi we saw many barges carrying various types of cargo. We crossed the Mississippi on the free Brussel's ferry, drove through the Illinois countryside, then circled back around to Alton.

Barge on the Mississippi River
Barge on the Mississippi River
Barge on the Mississippi River
Tug Pushing Barge on the Mississippi River

Along the way we saw this house in the shape of Noah's Ark, and a party boat going up and then back down the river.

house in the shape of Noah's Ark
House in the shape of Noah's Ark
Party Barge on the Mississippi River
Party Barge on the Mississippi River

Here is a colorful casino in Alton and a memorial of a great debate between President Lincoln and his rival during his election campaign.

Grain Elevator and Lincoln Debate Memorial in Alton, IL
Grain Elevator and Lincoln Debate Memorial in Alton, IL

In Alton we saw many beautiful old stone buildings such as this church.

Old Stone Church in Alton, IL
Old Stone Church in Alton, IL

Here is the Clark bridge which crosses the Mississippi at Alton. From across the river you can see the huge grain elevator in Alton and the riverboat casino just to the right of it. Here is another barge with a huge load of rock going down the river.

Clark Bridge near Alton, IL
Clark Bridge near Alton, IL
Alton, IL from Across the Mississippi River
Alton, IL from Across the Mississippi River
 Barge on the Mississippi River
Another Barge on the Mississippi River

On our way back to the coach we stopped at the Melvin Price Locks and Dam and the Great Rivers Museum where I learned a lot more about the barges and locks along the great rivers.

Barge Exhibit at the Great Rivers Museum
Barge Exhibit at the Great Rivers Museum

Here is an interesting comparison or aerial views of the confluence during a normal year vs the flood of 1993.

Arial view of Flood of 2003
Aerial view of Flood of 2003

Next we explored the Granite City locks, which is near the Chain of Rocks canal which was built so the big barges could easily navigate past a particularly rocky stretch of the Mississippi. It was very interesting to see how various cargos are loaded onto barges there.

Barge at Granite City Locks
Barge at Granite City Locks
Storage at Granite City Locks
Grain Storage at Granite City Locks
Storage at Granite City Locks
Grain Storage at Granite City Locks
Oil Railroad Cars at Granite City Locks
Oil Railroad Cars at Granite City Locks

The next morning we stopped at the Lewis and Clark State Historic Site and Museum on our way out of town and learned a lot about their daring journey. Here is a partially completed memorial to Lewis and Clark which I found rather odd.

Memorial to Lewis and Clark
Partially completed memorial to Lewis and Clark

On January 18, 1803, President Thomas Jefferson proposed the first official government expedition to explore the vast unknown lands west of the Mississippi River. This cutaway view of their sailing vessel was quite interesting. Quite a few provisions were required to make the long journey of course.

Cutaway view of  sailing vessel
Cutaway view of sailing vessel
Cutaway view of  sailing vessel
Cutaway view of sailing vessel
 view of  sailing vessel
Outer view of sailing vessel

A replica of Camp River Dubois, where they spent the winter of 1803, was built nearby. A docent showed me around the fort, including the bunk houses for the troops and the captains quarters.

Camp River Dubois
Camp River Dubois
Camp River Dubois
Captain's Quarters at Camp River Dubois

This desk contains many interesting artifacts including a drawer full of tobacco.

Camp River Dubois
Captain's Quarters at Camp River Dubois

Here is another desk with a cask of whiskey sitting beside it. Each soldier was given a ration of whiskey each day for good behavior.

Camp River Dubois
Captain's Quarters at Camp River Dubois

Here is a room full of goodies to be traded for essentials along their journey.

Camp River Dubois
Captain's Quarters at Camp River Dubois

On Sunday we stopped in Metropolis IL which is the home of Superman. Actually it is where the Daily Planet was located in the comics and movies. I enjoyed the little museum there quite a bit. We saw many likenesses of superman all over town.

Superman in Metropolis IL
Superman in Metropolis IL

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