Following my previous trip, I would like to present trip report part 2.
This time, I visited Missouri State between August 10th and 14th 2008. No need to say, the Mississippi river and the Missouri river played an important role in the history of the development of the US. My purpose is to visit St Louis as confluence point of the two big rivers, and Independence as the starting point of the covered wagons that traveled in 1800s through the famous trails, Santa Fe Trail, Oregon Trail, and California Trail. Another highlight of this trip was crossing travel by Amtrak. I would like to demystify why there are two cities; Kansas City (MO and KS) located in both shores on the Missouri, and St Louis (MO and IL) located in both shores on the Mississippi.
Kansas City and Independence
Day 1, I wanted to see the largest city Missouri State before going to Independence. Kansas City I visited is located in MO, that has the typical row of buildings appeared in the western movie, I was only one who strolled the main street in the hot sunlight of summer. After walking one hour, I reached Union Station to take lunch at Harvey House Diner. I was satisfied with Blackened Chicken Sandwich which was more delicious than one I ate in New Orleans during my previous trip.
I arrived at Woodstock Inn ($98 per night). http://www.independence-missouri.com/home.htm
I was very lucky that it was located in a quiet environment with a lot of trees on the opposite side of Mormon religious facilities though I chose the inn on the net at random. In addition, I was surrounded by a family atmosphere among open-hearted inn owner and clerk.
Day 2, I visited National Frontier Trails Museum which was one of main purposes of this trip and took lunch at Rheinland Restaurant where I enjoyed Reuben Sandwiches.
I was given a precious by-product unexpectedly afternoon when I dropped in to listen to Organ Recital at the Auditorium of Community of Christ which was held at 3 pm every day. During a 30-minute performance, I felt deeply my gratitude that I was able to live happily for 64 years looking back on my life like the shadow-picture lantern. It seemed that the solemnity surrounded by other pious audiences gave me a sort of religious mind though I am not a believer of this belief.
Amtrak travel between Independence and St. Louis
To choose transportation mode of distance, 273 miles (437 km) between Kansas City on the most western edge to St. Louis on the most eastern edge, at first, I thought of airplane that takes four hours due to an indirect flight via Chicago, but finally, I decided to take an Amtrak train that takes five hours. To make a long story short, I remind you that I overcame a hard trouble to reserve a ticket from Japan, but a kind clerk in the headquarters eventually arranged to issue a ticket.
Day 3, I waited for a 7:49 train at Independence Station which was an unmanned station with other 10 passengers. http://www.trainweb.org/usarail/independence.htm
I was somewhat restless for a moment because it was the first time to me to take a train in the US. The train stopped with a nostalgic horn which was peculiar to Amtrak. Passengers got on the half-occupied train by usher of a female conductor who would notify each passenger where to get off later. A five-hour travel was not boring because in the first half part we passed meadows with many pastures and in the later half after Jefferson City we ran along the Missouri.
As the famous Gateway Arch came into my view from the window of train, I noticed that we approached the destination finally. Because the original Spanish-style station was remodeled to Union Station with a shopping mall, and new station was under construction we walked through the railway track-beds to a center street.
Getting around St. Louis by the public transportation was very easy if we purchase a Metro pass which was effective to train and bus. I walked to the hotel for one hour until I found out that #11 bus runs on the same route in 10 minutes. http://www.ichotelsgroup.com/h/d/ex/1/en/hotel/stljf?&cm_mmc=mdpr-_-googlemaps-_-ex-_-stljf
I was lucky again to find that Holiday Inn Express ($110 per night) was located in residential area next to Lafayette Park, an oasis in downtown. I took a dinner of Salmon BLT at Squire One Brewery which was in a 10-minute walk area. http://www.squareonebrewery.com/
Day 4, My assignment this day was to confirm the confluence point of the two rivers; the Missouri and the Mississippi with my eyes. If possible, I would go to Jones-Confluence Point State Park.
It is said that two large rivers run along together for 20 miles until they become unified as one river. At first, I went to East Riverfront Station (Illinois side) by Metro Train and returned to Missouri side walking on Eads Bridge which was built in 1874 with length of 6,400 ft. I was somewhat sentimental to realize that the west-bound wagon trains were ferried until this bridge was completed. From the end of the bridge I strolled through the rich green forest on the riverbank to Jefferson National Expansion Museum to try viewing the scene from 630-ft Gateway Arch. http://www.nps.gov/jeff/ To my regret, the confluence point was not seen due to the direction where the arch was set up. On the busiest street, Washington Ave, I dropped in Metro Customer Information Center and found that the approach was very hard to walk 6 miles after transferring the bus twice. ( For the moment, I had to gave up the plan. After all, I was relieved to glimpse the confluence from the window of my return-flight next day.) Among many restaurants on the main street, I was attracted with the green signboard put on the corner of 11th street. I took late lunch at an outside table under the shade of a tree. McMurphy Grill was a gem where I encountered the most delicious dish in my two trips; Corn Beef Sandwiches.
I will never forget a thin-salty taste which was neatly cooked. After lunch I reluctantly returned to the hotel by train and bus because it was convenient to listen to live Jazz if I reserved a hotel on the Washington Ave. I decided that this is the next enjoyment. In my hotel room, I had a little celebration of successful travel taking the last dinner with leftover Corn Beef Sandwiches and Chinese food that I bought at a deli. Let’s drink a toast to end of my trip !
I would like to itemize my impression about this trip, allow me to change some of my previous impressions.
1.Polished Manner (part 2): Westerners including Americans have a nice habit that we should adopt sooner to become a global citizen; verbal greeting, ’Good morning’ exchanged among strangers in public space, such as in elevator, on the road and so on. We bow to strangers without word due to our shyness, but I believe that verbal greeting is effective to confirm a friend or foe in a sense.
2. Different Culture; I am often confused with difference between our goodness-oriented society and Western wickedness-oriented society. For example, I am disappointed to find that a second-hand CD which was bought in a famous shopping mall in St Louis was empty without disc. I was looking forward to listening to Charlie Parker who had a deep connection with Kansas City. It was my fault that I neglected to check the content at the shop, but we do not have such a habit because we do not need to do in Japan. In addition, I am surprised that the complaint processing system has been established firmly.
I am waiting for the answer from the shop until Sept 2 after registry my complaint in BBB because its email address was not published, but I regretfully to tell you that I have no answer by now.
3. Solved Food Problem; I happily to tell you that food problem was solved. I surely made a half portion To Go to eat other time and I bought side dish, such as vegetable salads at deli. After all, I was able to have a nutritional balanced food for 5 dollar or something, it was revolutionary improvement compared with previous experience.
I enjoyed fully a momentary American life due to your useful information. Thank you, see you again !
(Part 2)Trip report from a Japanese reader
Following my previous trip, I would like to present trip report part 2.
- 1 Easter Holiday on Kauai with 10 year old daughter
- 2 Christmas-time in New York City? Special holiday experiences?
- 3 Viginia Jan 18-21st
- 4 Paul Rabe - A West Chester Question
- 5 Inexpensive Weekend Getaway- New England
- 6 Vero Beach FL
- 7 San Francisco Hotel Help
- 8 Moonstruck Patisserie - Hilo ~ wow!!
- 9 Las Vegas to Zion National Park - Fear of Heights
- 10 Sightseeing and restaurants in LA
- 11 Traveling the pacific coast highway and national parks in one week
- 12 Road Trip to Montana, Wyoming, Idaho & Oregon
- 13 let's do a new Hawaii countdown
- 14 First timers in Kauai--would love advice/suggestions
- 15 Family holiday to Hawaii - which islands?
- 16 What is the United Lounge like at LAX?
- 17 visiting Arizona area for 18 days from May19th 2014
- 18 NOLA 10th Anniv. Suggestions?
- 19 US West Coast - Car or Camper
- 20 Question about Boulder area
- 21 Fort Lauderdale weather in late January
- 22 Savannah or Charleston- If you had to choose.
- 23 Hike down the Grand Canyon in February?
- 24 Grand Canyon in March?
- 25 a very short trip report of our 10 days on the Big Island