Tom, high school football coach of the Lincolnway East Griffins, was given a coaching opportunity to go to St. Louis after the team’s nearby playoff game to scout an opponent. This meant a free night in a hotel in the small city of Missouri and a few free meals, so of course Tom and I jumped at the chance. After watching the Griffins lose in the playoffs, (meaning we didn’t even have to do the scouting), we drove on to St. Louis that evening. We were psyched to see the huge Gateway Arch greeting us from the expressway, lit up in full force. We drove around the city a bit, passing the Cardinals baseball stadium and a few other recognizable sites, before checking into our surprisingly swanky hotel which upgraded our room just because. We were granted a deluxe corner suite with wall-to-wall windows displaying a full view of the Arch… it looked so close you could jump to it!
We dressed up for a night out on the famed boardwalk, Laclede’s
Lady, exploring the nightlife. Two pulled pork sandwiches and a few beers later, we were having great fun bar-hopping until later in the evening when some not-so-friendly looking characters emerged from the darkness. We took this opportunity to leave the boardwalk and hit up a Casino where Tom won a random $50 off one coin in a slot machine.
The next morning we left our fancy suite to explore the streets. We opted to wait in the hour long line for a ride to the top of the Gateway Arch, the tallest memorial in the United States – and we are so glad we did! We got our ticket numbers and perused the mediocre museum built into the basement below the Arch before being paraded with other tourists like cattle into a dark tunnel. We joined three other people into a little white pod reminiscent of an alien spaceship from “Men In Black”, snapped on seatbelts, and were in for the ride. All of a sudden we were picking up a shocking amount of speed… our little alien pod swinging back and forth like crazy all the way up in darkness. At the top, we were allotted 15 minutes to gape out the pea-sized windows on all sides, admiring the cityscape below. This really gave a perspective of how high we had traveled in such a short span (630 feet to be exact)… it was scary to see.
After being transported back to ground level safely, we wandered the streets in search of a cute local restaurant. No such luck, so we settled on Hooters. Don’t judge. The wings were great and we were waited on by the St. Louis Hooter of the Year, so I’d say it was a win. Our short stint in St. Louis gave us a good perspective of the small yet vibrant city. Our last night we drove to Tom’s old college stomping-grounds, Illinois State, and partied the night away at familiar hotspots with good friends. We had once again mastered the jam-packed weekend trip on a budget.