St. Louis, Missouri

IMG_20160725_143333When we first started planning our Freedom Journey, I have to admit that St. Louis, Missouri wasn’t anywhere on my radar.

We decided to stop there because it was really the perfect distance as far as drive time goes for our first “long-haul” trip in the RV. I also have to admit that I wasn’t expecting much.

I’m so thankful I was proven wrong.

Bryan had been to St. Louis a few times before but I had never been. Despite the controversy, I actually love most zoos and I’ve been hearing Bryan rave about the Saint Louis Zoo for years so, when we decided St. Louis would be a stop on the Freedom Journey, it seemed like the perfect activity.

What I love about this Freedom Journey is that fact that we’re able to leave ourselves open to possibilities as they come and change our plans on a whim.

One such possibility presented itself and we jumped at the chance to take advantage of it.

Almost everyone we told about us adding St. Louis as a stop said that we absolutely had to go the City Museum. Neither of us had ever heard of it and we mostly dismissed these people.

However, a wonderful member of the Living Unconventionally Facebook Community let me know that, not only did she live in St. Louis, but she had a Gold Membership to the City Museum and would be able to get both Bryan and me in for free!

Since FREE is such a magical and glorious word, we couldn’t say no.

(And, I know! The Saint Louis Zoo is free as well but parking there is $15 and it’s only $5 at The City Museum.)

We met up with Living Unconventionally community member Acadia, and two of her adorably awesome little boys, and spent the entire morning getting to explore the craziness of the City Museum for ourselves and through their eyes.

I’ve tried explaining the museum to other people and just can’t seem to find the right words. Really about all that I can say is that it’s like walking into the mind of a crazy person. In a very good way.

During our visit we rode a ferris wheel on top of the 10-story building, explored caves, rode down a 5-story slide, walked in a log cabin that once belonged to Daniel Boone’s son, climbed in a huge tree house, walked through a whale, stood in a bus that was hanging off the roof of the building, visited an art gallery, saw the cross from the original incident that inspired The Exorcist, climbed up a rope wall, watched a circus performance, and so much more!

I’m now one of those people who tell anyone going to St. Louis they absolutely MUST go to the City Museum.

PRO TIPS FOR VISITING THE CITY MUSEUM
→ Go as soon as they open. By about 11 am the place was PACKED.
→ Wear long pants. Climbing and crawling through the caves and tunnels with tear your knees up. Also, the slicker the better for the slides.
→ There are some amazing opportunities for pictures but leave the professional equipment at home. The tight spaces and odd angles your body will be at aren’t conducive to a giant DSLR hanging from your neck.
→ Don’t forget your flashlight. There are quite a few places that are very dark; some are even pitch black like the maze under the skate park. The smaller the flashlight the better so it can easily go in your pocket when you’re not using it. You could just use the light on your phone but I don’t recommend that. Again, you’ll be crawling, through, around, and over things (sometimes at a very high distance or near water) and I’m sure killing your phone will put a slight damper on your day.

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IMG_20160725_233419We were unable to find any free sites close enough to St. Louis so we had to pay for a site at a nearby campground. It was run by the city of St. Peters and was pricey but very nice.

They had recycling, an amazing pavilion to hang out in or eat meals, kayaks and bike for rent, an awesome dog park, and we were able to see a few gorgeous sunsets on a lake. It also had the nicest archery range Bryan had ever seen. In fact, he met a gentleman while he was shooting that actually has his own hunting show on tv!

The fact there was a heat index of 115 when we arrived in town made it very difficult to be excited about leaving our electric hook-up and AC so we decided to stay an extra night. Again, gotta love that flexibility!

We also experienced our first major storm in the RV and, even though it was nerve-racking, I was very impressed with how well the RV did. Bryan said he could feel it rocking in the wind but I didn’t feel a thing.

Our second, and final, day was definitely not as good as the first one. Bryan and I were having a very off day and when you only have one vehicle, live in close quarters, and it’s miserably hot outside, it’s pretty difficult to take some much-needed space.

We ended up dealing with laundry issues for several hours, I wasn’t able to get any work done (which was part of the reason we stayed the extra day), because of an issue with directions we missed our tram up to the top of the Arch (which I had paid for advance and couldn’t get a refund on), and we found out that the wall of the RV near one of the brackets for our awning was rotted out.

Bryan was able to get the bracket reattached but we’re not going to be able to use our awning at all. Not only does this mean the RV has water damage we didn’t know about, but it also means we won’t have our awning to provide some much-needed shade when we’re camping off-grid and need to keep the inside of our RV as cool as possible.

The picture on the left below is the good bracket and the picture on the right is the bad one.

PicMonkey Collage

 

Excluding the severe thunderstorm, fighting with Bryan for most of Tuesday, spending $26 and not getting to visit the Arch, and discovering water damage on our RV, our quick visit to St. Louis was actually pretty enjoyable.

If you want to hear the Living Unconventionally Podcast episode about the trip, just click here

 

 

 

Check out the next stop: Kansas

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