Missouri

After we visited the Louisville Slugger Factory and Museum we took off for our four hour drive to St. Louis, Missouri.

I had a hard time finding a movie for Missouri.  We had already done Mark Twain's Huck Finn for Louisiana and Mississippi.  I checked out Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone audio book.  We would listen to chapters in between movies along the way.  By this point in the drive the book was getting very interesting.  The miles flew by as we listened to Harry's adventures at Hogwarts.
We arrived at Anheuser-Busch Brewery to take the complimentary hour tour.  The St. Louis brewery is their oldest and largest brewery.  They are the largest brewery in America and the number one selling beer worldwide is Budweiser.
We learned about the history of the brewery, saw the 7-Step Brewing Process, and visited the beautiful Budweiser Clydesdales.
We learned this site was chosen due to its access along the Mississippi, the many German immigrants in the area and the natural cave formations that were used to store beer prior to refrigeration.
They survived prohibition by making soft drinks and ice cream.
In April, 1933 to celebrate the end of Prohibition, August Busch, Jr. and Aldophus Bush III gave their father a six-horse Clydesdale hitch.  The company realized the marketing potential of the horses and sent another Clydesdale drawn wagon of beer to parade down the streets of New York City in celebration.
The official home of the Clydesdale is in a gorgeous brick and stained-glass stable that was built in 1885.  It is considered a historic landmark.
This guy belongs with he animals in the stable. :)  There was even a dalmatian running around with the horses.
We had a great and informative tour and an even better time having dinner and a free beer sample!
This is when the trip turned funny.  Hank was so excited to leave and went running for the door.
He did not realized the exit area was a giant glass wall with only doors in the center.  He went running full speed toward the Cheers sign only to slam face first into a wall of clear glass!  He bounced back into a heap on the floor.  I went running to him, sure there would be blood everywhere.  The thud was so loud staff came out of all doors to see what had happened.  Poor Hank!  We were trying so hard not to laugh at him, but it was sooooooo funny.  Even the front desk man was trying to stifle his laugh once we all knew there was no permanent damage.  We were hoping they had it on the security camera and could send it to funniest home videos.  We sat in the lobby area while the Bud team was nice enough to get Hank ice and let him nurse his pounding head and shattered ego.
He got the biggest goose egg ever!  Just a little harder and it would have split for sure.  It is always an adventure with Hank!  Cheers!
The next morning we got up early to visit the Gateway Arch.
It is the tallest U.S. monument.
It is 630 feet wide at the base and 630 feet tall.
They began building the Arch in1963 and completed it October 28th, 1965.  Watching the documentary on the construction was unbelievable.   They factored in a loss of 13 men's lives, however, not a single person died building it.  These were before the days of OSHA and the workers were up there with no harnesses or safety nets.  It was amazing to us that no one slipped in the windy and cold winters.
The arch was built to withstand earthquakes and high winds of hurricane strength.  It is able to sway up to 18 inches!  I am grateful it was not a windy day while we were there.
The Gateway Arch is a marvel and something you have to get close to in order to really appreciate the craftsmanship and undeniable spirit of man.
Coming from a metalworking background, Max was especially intrigued by its construction and beauty.
Each piece was hand welded.  It is the largest stainless steel construction project in the world.
We rode in the very tiny gondola up to the top.  It reminded me of the vessel Mork from Mork and Mindy arrived in from space.  It was this super tiny egg shaped gondola with small white seats.  You got to know your neighbor very well!  All knees touched and there were no windows.  Max felt like he was in a submarine to his death.  Max hated it!
We enjoyed the view from the top but were eager to get back down and out where we could really appreciate it's beauty with our group of claustrophobic and height challenged crew.
We had a lovely time in St. Louis and were surprised how monumental the Arch truly is.
We drove across Missouri to Kansas City.  While St. Louisans consume more BBQ sauce per capita than any other city in America, we were not quite ready for BBQ at 10 in the morning.
 We would have to save that for dinner in Kansas City, which is know for their BBQ.
Kansas City has more miles of boulevards than Paris and more fountains than any other city except Rome.  I figured we had better see some fountains and boulevards before we ate some BBQ.
 We went shopping on the Country Club Plaza boulevard, which is one of Kansas City's most popular outdoor shopping areas.  It had a very European feel to it.  Max and I were reminded of when we sat on the Spanish Steps in Rome as we took a rest on these steps to have some cotton candy.  Cotton Candy was invented by a dentist.  He called it Fairy Floss and introduced in the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis, MO.
 After seeing a handful of fountains we worked up an appetite to try the most famous BBQ in Kansas City, Joe's Kansas City BBQ.  Yes, it is in a gas station!
 It was delicious, but I have to say I think Max's ribs could go toe to toe with Joe's any day.  While Max tried Frequent Flier, a Kansas City brew, we tried the ice tea.  Ice tea was also invented at the 1904 World's Fair.  Apparently a tea plantation owner was offering hot tea to fair visitors but St. Louis was having a very hot summer and he was not getting much business.  The story says he dumped a bunch of ice into the tea and it became an instant success.
The Show Me State certainly showed us a thing or two!

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