Day 23

Friday, June 17, 2005St. Louis, MO
Miles: 2962Meet Me in St. Louis, Louis
Today we headed for the center of Metropolis and the big statue of Superman. We got a late start because Ceridwen was sleepy and not very quick out of bed (but Keath got lots of work done before anyone in the campground woke up!). We checked out Superman and a cool little museum with memorabilia from all the eras of Superman. The museum had the best AAA discount yet, bringing a $3 admission down to just $1 each. How can you go wrong?

Since I was so reluctant to get out of bed, we ended up being stuck in Metropolis while Keath had a conference call. I went to Harrah’s and did some heavy gambling. Ok, I played some slots and then gave up. Wahoo.

After the conference call, we were on our way again, up the Great River Road. This section occasionally crossed paths with the river. How exciting. We saw Karnak, Thebes, and Cairo.

Along the river, we stopped at Grand Tower, IL and went to Devil’s Backbone State Park. As far as we could tell, the only thing in the park was some RV sites, but right outside the park was a cool bluff overlooking the river, which we climbed, and some caves that river pirates hung out in during past centuries, which we were unable to access safely.

A sign on the side of the road informed us that Little Grand Canyon was just 12 miles up a side road. We decided to go for it. 17 miles on a winding road later, we arrived at the Little Grand Canyon National Forest. It was nice, but a little overhyped. More of a gorge than a canyon really, but it was nice to get out and stretch our legs.

In Chester, IL, we stopped for dinner at a pizza restaurant called Marcello’s. They had a really cool mural on their bathroom walls and pretty good pizza too. Since Chester is the home of the guy who created Popeye, we took our photos in the silly little cutouts in the center of town. We tried to find the statue that is supposed to be in town, but the Illinois guidebook led us astray.

St. Louis was our next stop, and we made it to our campground just East of the city around 8pm. Sadly, this campground is a city one, and is therefore not much fun. Most disturbingly, the counties surrounding St. Louis prohibit campfires to help control pollution. I can see from all the smokestacks, cars, trains and trucks around here that it’s really campfires that are the problem. I’ve heard it’s all the avid campers in LA that are responsible for the smog. I’m bitter. We’re contemplating moving to a hotel tomorrow since the joy of camping is diminished by the lack of fire, the presence of an odd smell near our site and the sound of the freeway.