Monday, March 21, 2011

The Old Chain of Rocks Bridge

I know you'll believe me when I tell you St. Louis is quite seriously a great place to explore.  I mean, you already know about the arch - even if you don't live here!  But we have a wonderful zoo that is - get this - FREE.  We also have another cool spot called Grant's Farm which is free, too, although you pay to park.  Anyway, there are tons of fun, inexpensive things to do around here with your kids.  Tons.

I think we've done them all.  Seriously.

When I think about things to do during our annual Spring Break StayCay, in fact, I'm beginning to feel a sense of de'ja vu.  Facing a week at home with the kids and no beach in sight (I quite literally pine for Hawaii, I kid you not), I really needed some new ideas to entertain us.  The Old Chain of Rocks Bridge proved to be one such adventure. 

:: watch Sashi in each of the following photos ::

First of all, everyone was very, very, very excited about the prospect of riding their bikes across a bridge over the Mississippi River.  (*cue sarcastic laughter*)

Daddy actually told me, "Don't do it."  He was convinced the Chain of Rocks Bridge was a death trap wrought with semi-tractor trailers, racing motorists, and a 12" path for only those bikers crazy and daring enough to risk their lives to cross it.

And maybe the boys were more into dinosaur battles and wrestling each other on the living room floor than the prospect of hiking their bikes into the back of the van only to risk *see above*. 

And Sashi, the whole time, repeated, "I do not like this.  This is not fun."  Over and over again as we headed into Illinois.

I was pretty, fairly, almost certain, however, that the bridge was closed to vehicular traffic.  At least I thought so.  And since Pookie and I planned to run the distance of the bridge and back of 2 miles (I'll tell you more about her upcoming 5K race another day), I packed lunch and off we went for what proved to be - a wonderful experience!  The kids are already making plans to do this again and again!

When we arrived in IL, however, countless signs read "Dead End" and "Road Closed" and "Do not enter."  Surveillance cameras marked a path that I timidly approached by van.  I nervously rehearsed to myself what I would say if stopped by gunpoint a la military base. (I would plead ignorance, speedily maneuver a u-turn, and get the heck on out of there!!!)  Fortunately, I summoned the courage to keep driving straight and, eventually, we came upon a barren parking lot and a bridge proclaiming "Old Chain of Rocks" (and no army vehicles or Jed Clampett-looking characters!).  And no vehicular traffic whatsoever.  Unless you consider my two boys and little Sash on their self-propelled two-wheelers 'vehicular.' 

The round-trip across the old route 66, two lane bridge lasted about 30 minutes since Pooks and I were on foot.  We saw two antique water towers built in the river.  We marveled at Route 66 paraphernalia.  We ended at a single picnic table eating ham sandwiches and scarfing down Girl Scout cookies.  And, like I said, the big kids are planning annual trips.  Perhaps even one for each season in between.

Win won for Mommy and our St. Louis StayCay!!!  
See where else we spent our week tomorrow!
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