As previously mentioned, my trip to St. Louis was for my cousin Zach's graduation from St. Louis University. After surviving the long and exciting day at Busch Stadium we met up with the family. On top of Zach's immediate family, my mom and grandma made the journey east as well (yes, Molly - we missed you).
At this point I cannot help but share the Bonnie Bloom travel experience that we all learned over the course of the last five days (consider yourself warned). It started when Scooter received a text message that read "Everything is good, we are in the air now" - the don't use your cell phone message apparently does not apply to text messaging. We then discovered my mom got caught with bottles of water in the carry-on and trying to go two at a time in the metal detector with my grandmother. We all finally learned that she thought she had the best airport parking as she was able to park directly across from the terminal and walk with not shuttle, not knowing she was parking in short term parking for five days. Have to thank her for providing quite a source of entertainment over the course of our trip - and for those of you that know my family, we cannot ever let anything go.
Back to the trip - Friday morning I got up and joined some of the family for a tour of the St. Louis University engineering building where we saw Zach's home for the last four years, his senior design project, and some of their labs and wind tunnels. Zach graduated with a degree in Aeronautical Engineering. The campus tour was followed by the Parks College of Engineering, Technology, and Aviation commencement ceremony. Tom had organized a cocktail reception at the bar in their hotel following the ceremony to celebrate Zach's accomplishment. To end the day, we joined Zach's old roommates and their families for a backyard BBQ.
Saturday morning was the Commencement Ceremony for the entire university, which we followed with a family lunch. The restaurant was directly across the street from the Anheuser Busch Brewery so Scooter, Drew, Chris McCaffery (just finished his junior year at SLU - yikes!), and I couldn't pass up the opportunity. The tour of the facility lasted about an hour and covered seven or so buildings including the Clydesdale stables and concluded with a couple of cold beers.
I set the alarm a little earlier on Sunday morning to make a second attempt at the St. Louis Arch - this time with much better success. Scooter, Chris and I made the journey 630 feet to the top of this unique structure. It was a very different experience - basically you sit a a tiny egg-shaped "pod" that slowly moves you up the side of the arch. When you get the top, they have a small observation area but the area is still arched with no flat area to stand. This is definitely an experience I recommend if you ever come across the opportunity.
St. Louis was five days well spent - the Cardinals' game, the graduation and all the celebrating that accompanied, the time with the family, the home of Bud Light, and the Gateway Arch. I want to thank Zach and Paige for their hospitality and a place to sleep.
I'm in DC now, about the head out for a morning walk towards the Lincoln Memorial, and then grab a train to Philadelphia.