St. Louis, Missouri
Jun 23, 2011
|We went to the Casino Queen on Thursday evening and spent a short time playing the penny machine. We invested $25 dollars and came home with $95 dollars. Not bad for an hours work. Of course Debbie was the winner.
Friday, we spent the day at the Gateway Arch in St. Louis.
Marines Invade St. Louis Gateway Arch Grounds
On our way into St. Louis we noticed billboards announcing Marine Week. After we got settled into the Casino Queen RV Park, we noticed planes and helicopters flying overhead and near the Arch. Only after we got to the Arch on Friday did we realize what all the excitement was about.
The United States Marine Corps demonstrated full-scale combat air and ground operations showing how they would overwhelm an enemy objective from air, land, and sea; or, in this case, along the Mississippi riverfront in the middle of America. The Marine Corps traversed the river while receiving cover from military aircraft. They landed near the Grand Staircase at the foot of the Gateway Arch. Thousands of people turned out to watch the would-be invasion.
The amphibious assault lasted about 45 minutes and included Marines, amphibious assault vehicles, combat rigid raiding crafts, the Osprey, an AV-8B Harrier, the CH-53 Super Stallion, a Sea Knight, a Cobra, and a Huey helicopter.
Before the training exercise we got to listen to the "Junkyard Dogs" Marine band. The band consisted of enlisted men playing the tuba, trumpet, trombone, tenor and alto sax, drums, keyboard, electric and bass guitars. The played a variety of jass, blues, big band, and rock. So young, but so talented.
The Gateway Arch
The Arch is the tallest national monument in the United States at 630 feet; it is the city's best known landmark and a popular tourist attraction. Construction began February 12, 1963 and the last section of the Arch was put into place on October 28, 1965.
The Arch is a structure known as a catenary curve, the shape a free-hanging chain takes when held at both ends, and considered the most structurally-sound arch shape. The span of the Arch legs at ground level is 630 feet, the same as its height.
Each year, approximately a million visitors ride the trams to the top of the Arch. The trams have been in operation for over 30 years, traveling a total of 250,000 miles and carrying over 25 million passengers.
The Arch weighs 17,246 tons. Nine hundred tons of stainless steel was used to build the Arch, more than any other project in history. The Arch was built at a cost of $13 million. The transportation system was built at a cost of $3,500,000.
In order to ensure that the constructed legs would meet, the margin of error for failure
was 1/64th of an inch. All survey work was done at night to eliminate distortion caused by the sun's rays. Since the Arch was constructed before the advent of computer technology, relatively crude instruments were used for these measurements.
The Arch sways a maximum of 18" (9" each way) in a 150 mph wind. The usual sway is 1/2".
Museum of Westward Expansion
We relived the Old West with a visit to the Museum of Westward Expansion underneath the Arch. We got to view rare Indian Peace Medals and weapons of survival and an actual tipi. The Museum of Westward Expansion preserves the past so that you can experience it today.
We discovered the land that Lewis and Clark explored. We learned how the mountain men lived in the 1800s and took a peek inside a covered wagon. We listened as history unfolded through the voices of life-like "animatronic" figures.
The museum had a cronological timeline of major events and presidents from 1800-1899. We spent several hours reading all the information. It was really interesting.
We also saw the movie "Lewis & Clark: Great Journey West" on a four story screen. Narrated by Jeff Bridges, this film took us with Lewis and Clark as they explored the uncharted lands of the Louisiana Purchase and beyond.
All in all, we had a great time. Tomorrow we will be heading to Lynnville, Indiana for one night.