Today we decided, would be our last of sight seeing, and the last monument we would visit would be the Gateway Arch in Saint Louis. Virginia had been to it many years ago, but I had never seen it. It was visible almost as soon as we entered the city, looming over the skyline. We parked and began walking towards it. It looked even bigger up close.
The monument was build to commemorate the explorations of Lewis and Clark and the westward expansion of the United States. The Arch has an underground museum on these subjects, and after passing a metal detector test, we went inside.
Originally we hadn’t planned to go up to the top of the Arch, because we didn’t want to pay for tickets, but we decided it would be pretty silly not to and decided to get some tickets and check out the view. We boarded the cramped little capsule that would take us to the top almost immediately after we purchased the tickets. The capsule elevated us up the leg of the Arch to the observation deck. The view was amazing! Cars looked like tiny models driving down the matchbox-sized streets. We didn’t linger here long, as the area was crowded and the windows small, but it was worth it.
We spent another hour or so looking around the museum and gift shops, and then we were on our way. We were right by the Illinois border and as soon as we crossed it, the scenery became more and more familiar and reminded us that we were almost home. We were heading for Bloomington, where my younger sister, Molly, attends Indiana University and hopefully had some space on her dorm room floor for us to crash.
We got there after dark and went to a Chinese buffet for dinner. Next we returned to campus and Molly’s dorm where they were celebrating the release of the latest Harry Potter film. The night’s activity was a showing of “Wizard People, Dear Reader,” a bizarre and humorously misinformed retelling of the first book synched with the first movie. Virginia and I stayed to watch this while Molly went off with some aquaintences to make friendship bracelets. When the film was finished, we retired to Molly’s dormto make our beds and relax for the evening.
The next day we would travel to my parents’ home in Kokomo and from there to my Grandparents’ in Lansing for Thanksgiving. The travels aren’t over for us, but the tour of western America felt completed.