The trip from Oklahoma City to St. Louis along I-44 is one we’ve made many times, just not in the last 15 years. If you wanted to, you could get off the interstate and take Route 66. The drive was 7 hours by interstate and that’s enough for one day, on an old, crowded 4 lane interstate. Pretty sure we couldn’t have handled 10 or more hours on bumpy old 2 lane Route 66.
A must stop for us was always the ‘largest McDonalds’ in Oklahoma (or the USA they use to claim). Unfortunately, it is really no longer the largest anything. It’s a nice rest area with a gas station. The building holds souvenir stores, bathrooms, a tiny McDonalds counter and a Subway. The statue of Will Rogers is still standing too. Definitely worth a stop as rest areas go.
As you reach St. Louis, you can’t see the Arch coming up from the southwest. We booked the Westin Hotel downtown, which is right next door to Busch Stadium; the Hyatt Regency is right next to the Arch. We had a short walk from the hotel to the Arch, something we needed after sitting in the car. There are scooters parked that people seem to be renting and then dropping them wherever when they are done – a new form of sidewalk art.
As you approach the visitor center, you have a great view of the Gateway Arch and the Old Courthouse building across the street, also part of the National Park property. When you arrive, you have options. You can take the tram to the top of the arch, see a documentary film, visit the museum and even take a ride on a Mississippi Riverboat. I have to say, I was impressed with what they have done to tell the history of the area and also why this location was important in history – which is why the arch was built in 1968. The film documenting the construction of the 630 foot structure was well worth the time. It IS an interesting place to visit. And we now have our #60 national park stamp!
Steve enjoyed talking to a man who shared his genealogy chart showing he is a cousin 13 times removed of/to former President Theodore Roosevelt. Doesn’t he look like him too?
Heading out in the morning, we pass the stadium, see the arch in the distance and then cross the mighty Mississippi River into Illinois.