I didn't have a good reason for going to St. Louis except that it was sort of on the way to Nauvoo and why not? But when I was looking for fun things to do in St. Louis, I came across this really amazing-looking place called the City Museum. The word "museum" is a misnomer because it's nothing like a museum and more like a giant McDonalds playhouse (or hamster habitrail for humans) made out of repurposed construction materials like re-bar, cement,sheet metal, and stone.
It was unfortunate that we went to the City Museum at the beginning of our epic journey because the boys thought they'd died and gone to heaven and every other place we went paled by comparison. We crawled through tunnels and slid down 10-story slides and climbed towers, and the boys got to ride their very first ferris wheel (on the roof of the museum).
I only had one complaint about the museum. You know how some amusement park rides have a sign that says, "Must be 48 inches or taller to ride this ride." The City Museum needs a sign that says, "You must be XYZ inches or shorter to fit in this museum" and also "You must weigh less than XYZ pounds." I was happy that Michael hadn't come with us because he would have had to spend the whole day sitting on a bench on the first floor. I even had trouble fitting through much of the museum. There was one point where I climbed up a tower with the boys to get to a slide and the passage kept getting narrower and narrower until finally you had to squeeze through a thin slot to get to the slide. I seriously thought I wasn't going to fit but there was no way I was climbing back down with a long line of strange kids climbing up behind me, so I had to shimmy my way through the hole. The next day my legs were covered in ugly black and brown bruises.
At that point, I decided that I was going to find a spot to sit, let the kids roam free, and they could come find me if they needed me. Which led to this:
We spent two nights in St. Louis, camping both nights. The first night, nature decided to test our limits with thunder, lightning, and thick sheets of rain.
Since we were travelling light in the Camry, my brilliant idea was for all four of us to sleep on the queen size air mattress, but it became obvious in approximately .5 seconds that I was not going to get any sleep on the same air mattress as my squirmy kicking boys. We also had the good fortune of a campsite next to the kind of people who go camping so they can stay up all night getting really drunk with their friends. So when the wind picked up and the first raindrops began to fall, I was laying in my sleeping bag outside of the tent, resigned to the possibility that I wasn't going to get any sleep that night, when Cole started shouting, "Eli! Wake up! Eli! Eli!"
The next day, he told me he thought it was a tornado...
On our last day in St. Louis, I drove all over the city, shouting profanities at my GPS, trying to figure out how to get to the Arch. By the time we got there, I had to pee like nobody's business, and by the way, Dear City of St. Louis, I believe I speak for all tourists when I say, "Why don't you have public restrooms near the Arch!!!!!!" We walked for a mile in all directions around the Arch before finally using the bathroom in a Mexican restaurant where I totally planned to be a customer until I saw their menu prices and then we had to sneak out. So instead for lunch, we had some delicious donuts, and it was a happy ending to a very frustrating morning.