Monday, November 20, 2006

St. Louis 1

In the begining of November we took a short weekend trip to St. Louis to celebrate my birthday. While recently rated the most dangerous city in the U.S. (no small feat I'm sure) St. Louis is about 3.5 hours drive from here, and we had only driven through on our way elsewhere (I went when I was a kid).
Our first destination was the Gateway Arch, a 690 foot arch of stainless steel built in the 1960s to commemorate the Louisiana Purchase and the Westward expansion of the U.S. We were not able to get tickets for that evening to go to the top, though, so we just walked around the park and along the Mississippi River for a little while before heading over to our hotel in the downtown loft district.
We had a great dinner (and sake flight!) at an Asian fusion restaurant, Red Moon. I realize it's hilarious to take photos of your food at a nice restaurant, but for a few months now, I've been into documenting meals while traveling. I suppose I could have stranger habits!

The view from our room, toward the arch.

On Sunday morning, we walked over to the arch with a brief coffee stop along the way. To me, the most surprising thing about the arch was the super strict security measures they had in place at the enterance. It was worse than most airport security, they almost made the children behind us cry! Once we were through that though, we waited for our ticket time to ascend to the top in a circular five foot pod with five other people (not sure about the numerology there). This is quite the experience! The four minute ride to the top is cramped, but the view towards Illinois and over the city of St. Louis is quite nice, and it's a neat experience to look down and see the majority of the structure that you are in.

St. Louis 2

We continued our Sunday at the Anheuser-Busch brewery, where we learned that half of the beer drank in the U.S. is A-B, for a total of 1,200 bottles every minute! Although we are not A-B drinkers (it's microbrew at our house), the facility was really interesting, we saw the famous clydesdale horses, and of course we enjoyed our free sample beers and pretzels at the end of the tour.

After all that big corporate culture, we headed to Shafly's, a local St. Louis microbrewery for a tasty lunch and some different beer! Our last stop was at the St. Louis Art Museum, complete with statue of St. Louis himself out front.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Fall Break

So, I have some catch-up blogging to do. This post is really about our mid-October Fall Break. KU gives us a four day weekend in mid-semester, which turns out to be a good time for a four day weekend, as the leaves are usually changing, but the weather in Kansas is still pleasant. Joe took some time off of work, and we had planned on taking a four day camping trip, but alas, the weather was not with us. So, we instead took a one night camping trip at nearby Clinton Lake State Park, and spent some serious time in the kitchen, making butternut squash ravioli and homemade pasta, as well as pumpkin pie. It was quite the fall feast. In a way it was a nice harvest celebration, as we were using the last of the local organic veggies from our farmer co-op, Rolling Prairie. For those of you not in the know, a farmer co-op is like a vegetable subscription service. We give a downpayment in early Spring, and commit to getting veggies from a group of 8 farmers all season long, which is about half of the year in our climate. Every week we pick up 6-8 servings of seasonal local veggies and pay our fee at the begining of each month. So, we had some pumpkins and squash to use, and the sage in our backyard garden was also in need of use. Anyway, it was fantastic weekend of cooking, camping, hiking, and relaxing. :)