Monday, July 18, 2011

Sad City In Illinois Cairo & Gorgeous City of St. Louis, Missouri

Another Bridge?

We thought we we turned down the main street of Cairo and we were going to see a great old-fashioned city with references to Mark Twain's novel and see some historic sites. What we saw was sad devastation. What happened? Doesn't Chicago even care? This once grand city is falling apart literally, with the facade falling from high above to the sidewalks below, only at night do arsonists, the homeless, and gangs come to this once ornate and thriving city.

The ground and street are sinking into large fissures and holes. The whole place that once was grand is now the victim of heavy vandalism and arson. We took the pictures of the best places and were able to talk to firemen at their main station. They seemed very discouraged and heartbroken at the way Illinois has neglected a city of tall, brick, and as ornate as beautiful homes and buildings in St. Louis. The city has buildings are up to four story, over two hundred years-old,  and incredible. Literally, his one-time prosperous town is daily crumbling away. It could be again, but then...maybe it's too late. It will be no more.

I accidentally took this one tilted and looks like we are sinking
Steve and I stayed the night in St. Louis, Missouri.

 The hotel was very hard to find and we arrived so late in the evening. We were so tired that we didn't go out to look for a place to eat, and every thing at the hotel was closed. The air-conditioning seemed to blow hot-air all night because the gauge was stuck and that was probably to save electricity. Not our favorite place to stay, and it smelled funny or different in a bad sense. I thought at the beginning of our journey, if we stay in only a couple of bad spots, that's okay. This time, we just needed sleep. I think I was catching up on all the sleep deprivation of many nights. We're not used to travel and had been hard to get a restful nights sleep, with the time changes and the excitement of each day. Tonight sleep took us and I we were both completely "out-of-it" and I think I snored.

Sunday morning July 17th, 2011. We were so lost. Both of us had slept-in a bit too long and trying to find a church seemed impossible. Steve was bent on showing me his mission home when he first arrived at the Central States Mission. We saw "about" where it was, but couldn't find it. The homes are here lovely and the French influence in the beautiful city is not only impressive, but even more grand and elaborate to me because of my comparison to the city of Cairo. Statues are everywhere and the mansions are so ornate. I would have to agree with Steve, that this place is not even comparable to any Beverly Hills home, much better! There are better roads, better views, the grounds are kept so much better, and even the streets are completely clean, everywhere.

Even The Fire Hydrants Are Fancy With Silver Tops

Steve took me to Forest Park and we took pictures. He showed me where he used to track with his companions. This was Steve's first area as Elder Lazenby.  He wasn't here very long because the mission was growing and it split twice while he was there and changing as he left. Steve mission ended in the Tulsa, Oklahoma Mission.

Natural Falls In Forest Park In The Center Of The City

Steve did take me to eat at the White Castle. The hamburgers weren't really good, guess it's the guilt of eating out on Sunday. It was very weird going out-to-eat on Sunday. Everyone in the place had just been to church, I'm guessing it was the one near there the Catholic Church. This particular White Castle, fast-food restaurant used to be across the street. So, it was a bit confusing to Steve. He kept saying, "I thought it was over there by a gas station." Forty-three years and alot can change in a community. A local man sitting next to us was in his mid-90's and he told us all about the renovation and about the community, southern people are so nice!

We drove to the arch. I didn't even want to look at it because I knew that Steve had gone up inside of the arch and I'm still wondering how he survived that fun, claustrophobic trip. If Steve could see the arch from way up in the sky, in a jet, flying to the East Coast. I'm not going up there, ever! He promised I didn't have to get-out of the car, but he wanted me to see it and the Mississippi River at St. Louis. The steamboats were out in the water and the view was astounding, and so unexpected.

Paddle and Steam Boats Run A Very Muddy Mississippi
It broke my heart to see the flooded farm areas near Cape Girardeau. The waters had been there awhile and although there was no smell of stagnant water. The green scum of the water had taken over all the landscape. The road was right near the water and looked so strange. We saw homes still flooded from the storms and also huge tractors just stuck out in fields. I know that this all must be devastating for those that live here. They have lost businesses, crops, transportation, and so much of their homes. I'm grateful we don't have this kind of flooding. It does flood here in Ventura County, but it doesn't last for as many, many weeks.

We are on our way to our daughter and her family in Salina and we have the states of Kansas and Colorado to hurry on through. We've got to leave, but I'm thankful to have seen this beautiful city of St. Louis. If we had an actual MAP we could've jumped into Mississippi hitting another state. I always thought Four Corners, New Mexico was so neat-o, with all the states together, but here there's Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, and Kansas all right together. That's a whole three more states! Two large seaport rivers are linked to the state divisions, and now I wish I had paid more attention in my geography classes in middle I'd remembered?
Another Bridge Seemed to Mean Another State
 My perspective on traveling has really changed and I know to look and study all the places that might end-up as part of a trip anywhere. The history of any place, not only teaches but makes each place seem so more special and alive.
Guess Where The Corn Is?

Topeka, Kansas for another nights stay.

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