So we bravely hit the road for our next destination, Aurora CO. We stayed at an entirely adequate, if a little sketchy, hotel there. But the nice thing was that the kids and I got to have dinner with an old college friend I hadn't seen in years. I totally failed to take pictures, but we had some absolutely delicious pizza and great conversation and it definitely took the edge off of sending Pete home that morning.
We then left Colorado and drove to Colby, KS, where we stayed at a lovely Hampton Inn with an indoor swimming pool. The next day brought us the rest of the way across the state (just about) when we arrived in Topeka. I took the kids to see the Minion movie (which sadly was really not good) and then we hung around the hotel pool again. This time, however, the hotel pool had a three story water slide, so that was tons of fun for them.
And then we continued on to St. Louis. First, let me put in a plug for we stayed - the Omni Majestic in downtown St. Louis. I had called them to confirm that we would be able to park, given that we were pulling the camper, and they assured me that valet parking would be able to handle it. Well, we pulled up and the man said "I don't know where I'm going to put that thing," and I said "I don't know, but I was assured it wouldn't be a problem" and he said "Ok, I'll take care of it."
Additionally, the front desk was extremely helpful, and the "complementary shuttle" really did shuttle us about town. Finally, they brought up cookies and milk (complementary) before bed, which the kids thought was just awesome. And I assure you, we did not choose the most expensive hotel in town. If you are visiting St. Louis, I encourage you to consider staying there.
Anyway, we pulled into the city and headed over to see the Arch. Now, I am a smidgen claustrophobic, so I knew that we weren't going to the top of the Arch. But when I saw the little metal
coffin contraption that you actually go up in, my choices were entirely validated.
It was cool to see the Arch from the distance and then get right up close, though. (Caveat: I'm pretty sure that the "Gateway to the West" is more exciting if you're actually heading West. It loses some of the momentousness when you're heading east).
|Kind of a bummer - tons of construction is happening around the Arch, so there's no pretty park framing it right now.|
We then had the hotel shuttle take us over to the Shaved Duck for BBQ, as I really wanted to have BBQ in St. Louis and this place had excellent reviews. So good, in fact, that when we got there the wait was about 45 minutes and the kids were threatening to mutiny.
However, when the food arrived they were singing another tune. And that tune was "this is the best food ever." It was really really good.
|This is the face of a 7 year old who just put back 1/2 rack of ribs and a side of mac n cheese.|
Then it was back to the hotel (for cookies and milk, of course) so we could get up early and head to the City Museum, which was completely and totally awesome.
The City Museum is not really a museum. I don't know what it is. It's really a crazy indoor playground. Mixed with man-made caves. Mixed with a gym. Mixed with a scrap metal yard. Whatever you then have ended up with, it's super fun.
|Jax immediately climbed into the ceiling like some kind of feral animal|
|Sliding down the two-story slide. I did that one. It was fun.|
|In the caves.|
|Climbing out of the tree-slide.|
|Outside. This was about 3 stories up.|
We stayed for the morning, got an amazing lunch at this sandwich/crepe/coffeeshop place, and then got back on the road.
|My lunch. One of the sandwiches came with me for the road.|
We drove into Indiana where we spent the night before moving along into our last two nights of hotels for this trip. Whew.
All in all, I give St. Louis a big thumbs up. I've already mentioned to Pete that it would be fun to do a Chicago/St. Louis family trip some time, so hopefully we'll be back.