Illinois, Missouri, Where We've Been

Gateway Arch, Lone Elk Park, and Harvest Time

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Gateway Arch

The Gateway to the West in St. Louis, Missouri marks the location where the Mississippi River divides the east from the west. 

The goal was this:

“A suitable and permanent public memorial to the men who made possible the western territorial expansion of the United States, particularly President Jefferson, his aides Livingston and Monroe, the great explorers, Lewis and Clark, and the hardy hunters, trappers, frontiersmen and pioneers who contributed to the territorial expansion and development of these United States, and thereby to bring before the public of this and future generations the history of our development and induce familiarity with the patriotic accomplishments of these great builders of our country.”

The construction of the Arch was an incredible feat of engineering. The positions of the two legs of the arch could be off by no more than 1/64″ so that by the time the top was reached, the pieces could be fit into proper alignment and bolted together to fit.

Inside the two legs are a set of staircases and a tram car system that adjusts as it rises to keep the riders level.

The top opens up to another set of stairs where travelers make the last climb up into the middle section of the arch where there are windows to the east and west to look out onto the two states. To the west is St. Louis, Missouri with its grand skyscrapers, capitol building, and city parks.

To the east is the Mississippi River and the city of East St. Louis, Illinois. 

The memorial went through many years of concept drawings and modeling before the arch was finally chosen as the winner. Here’s one of the alternate designs for the memorial that would have been if it wasn’t for the winning design of the Gateway Arch, a much more fitting design, IMHO.

It was said that the only thing simple about the Arch was its shape. Given the math, I’m not sure even that was simple. 


Lone Elk Park

A little further west of St. Louis, Missouri is a refuge with elk, bison, and birds of the world.

It’s a drive through safari that’s free and open to the public where animals like this one can be seen lounging in the woods.

Many were resting while others were eating the last of the greenery before winter comes.

The bison were intimidating as they wandering within just a few feet of the truck. 

The birds were in a different section that was more like a zoo. They had eagles, owls, and pelicans just to name a few.  

This pelican was swimming in circles showing off her feathers each time she swam by us.


Harvest Time

In Illinois, we met up with friends of ours who own a farm. The timing happened to be right and they invited us to see the corn harvest first hand and ride along in the combine. 

We each had the chance to hop aboard the combine and go for a ride. 

You get a different perspective from inside the combine. Check it out:

Naturally, my kids then picked up the leftover stalks and began a sword fight.  Lol!




Scott AFB FamCamp

Scott AFB FamCamp is in a small, woodsy area of the base. It’s far away from the main part of the base, in fact, it’s on the other side of the airfield. That gives it a quieter, more secluded feel. 

There are approximately 20 sites in our loop. Our site had electric and water and there was a dump on site. The turn onto the one lane road that led to the sites was a little tight and you could tell some people had cut the corner and created a muddy trench with their tires. 

There was not a formal checkin as everything had been done online already. A card was hanging in a box on our site when we got there that morning with dates listed for departure. 

The Commissary was about a 10 minute drive from the FamCamp. No diesel on base for trucks.

We got 10 down/5 up on Starlink. 4 bars on the Verizon phones and 4 bars with the cell antenna (16/7). AT&T was also at 4 bars with the cell antenna (5/8).