May 13, 2004

5/13/04 Granite City MO

24 miles (33 total)

Four AM came early, as we drove to St Louis to get to the Arch by 9. A little overcast but that didn't diminish the impressive Gateway Arch. I would have liked to take the tram up to the top, but it was a 60 minute round trip, plus you had to wait for the next one. So, another time perhaps.

Nomad and I should have had a premonition after we got lost in the parking garage. We followed the riverfront bike path but we had to go farther than expected because we couldn't get past the flood wall. Although Nomad was confident in his maps, I seemed to be very lost trying to find the Bellefontaine Cemetery where William Clark is buried.

It just started to rain once we got to Clark's grave marker. The cemetery secretary, Jeanie, came out to take our pictures and asked us to autograph them. The folks in the office were very nice to us, even letting us use the restrooms.

At William Clark's grave site

But as we left the cemetery, the rain started coming down. The only way to the Chain-of-Rocks Bridge had you traveling a main road with semi traffic with no shoulder. At some parts I was able to use the bike path but not all. Let's just say I got wetter. [smile]

At the bridge, which is the old Route 66 and now only open to walkers and cyclists, I found a small awning in which to get out of the rain. I had only enough room to stand but still got wet because of the winds. Then it really started to come down. At one point, I could only see 100 feet in front of me because the downpour was so heavy.

While I waited, I knew Nomad was getting soaked, not only by the rain, but by the trucks too. An hour or so when he finally met me, he looked like a drowned rat. But as we started across the bridge, the rain turned to just a sprinkle.

Once on the Illinois side, we waited for Dwinda to drive up. As wet as we were, we decided to splurge on a motel room for the night. I decided to stay while Nomad walked the additional miles to the Lewis & Clark State Memorial Center. Dwinda and I later picked him up and got him dry and fed. Oh, he'll sleep like a bear tonight. [smile]

Unfortunately, they're calling for more rain tomorrow. That could cancel even more of the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial celebrations planned for both sides of the river.