Ellen and I enjoyed a nice weekend in St. Louis with Bob and Diane.
Friday was, of course, the 4th of July and Ellen and I had the day off. I took the morning to mow the lawn and get a few other simple jobs done. Bob and Diane got out here about 1pm and we set off for St.Louis in Bob's car.
First stop was at Abraham Lincoln's tomb, since Diane hadn't been there before, and it had been years since Ellen and I had -- but it's not the kind of place where you need to visit frequently, it hadn't really changed. At some point I'll have to make another trip to Springfield, though, to visit the more recently opened Lincoln presidential library.
It took us a little bit to figure out how to get the Lincoln's tomb because there aren't good signs to it from the interstate. We made it between my looking up the directions on Bob's iPhone and Bob remembering that the turn had a Walgreen's on the corner -- but there's a Walgreen's on EVERY corner (we passed at least four in Springfield on the way in).
After that minor side trip we completed the drive to Fairview Heights, IL, a suburb of St.Louis, where Bob had booked rooms at a very decent hotel (where most of the rooms seemed to have been booked by a family reunion). We had dinner, then decided we were tired so skipped trying to take the train into St.Louis for fireworks and instead bought a deck of cards, a few beers, and spent the evening playing Hearts.
Saturday we slept in a bit, I took a good walk, and we hung around the hotel a bit, as we didn't have anywhere to be real early. We got lunch at Red Robin, then drove in to Busch Stadium to park (at the garage nearby). We walked down to the arch to buy tickets to the top for the next day, since we didn't know how busy it might be on Sunday morning. We knew that by the time we tried to get there on Saturday it would be too late for a ride to the top without conflicting with the ball game. We then took the train back to the stadium because Bob wanted to figure out where it ran, though we discovered that we would have just walked back just as easily.
Then we settled in for the Cubs-Cardinals ball game. A good exciting game, but it didn't end well as Kerry Wood gave up 3 runs in the 9th inning allowing the Cardinals to come back to win 7-6.
We went back to Fairview Heights, had dinner at J.Buck's (steaks all around), then Ellen, Diane, and I took a short dip in the hotel pool before retiring for the night.
Sunday, we got up early, drove in to park near the stadium again, walked down to the arch and took our ride to the top. As it turned out, since we got there before 10am we wouldn't have had any problems getting tickets just that morning -- I think they were selling tickets for an earlier time than we had at the time we actually arrived. We browsed the museum for a while, took our ride to the top, and got pictures from there -- a bit different view than the previous time I was there since the new stadium has been built. Another change in the view, temporary, was that the river was very high, flooding the deck below the arch (up to at least the first few stairs, though the base of the arch and the museum are far above that level). It was also flooding the docks of the riverboats along that section of the river, so the riverboat McDonalds must have moored elsewhere, and the others just were closed to business since people couldn't get to them. At this point in the river, there weren't other residences or businesses to flood, though I know there has been a lot of problems both upstream and downstream.
We walked back to the stadium and had lunch, and watched a game that was fun, but much more one-sided than the previous day -- Cubs won 7-1 -- and we ditched the last inning because Ellen, Bob, and Diane were getting too hot (game temperature in the 90's).
We took Diane to the St.Louis airport for her flight back to Omaha, stopped at Hardee's for a quick dinner (and I certainly DON'T regret not having Hardee's around here anymore), and drove home, getting back arounf 11pm.
And, that was it for a very nice weekend.
Bob and I also went to the Cubs/Reds game on Wednesday night -- another Cubs win, 5-1, but it got a bit tense in the 9th as the Red got the tying run to the plate before Wood managed to finish it up.
Ellen, Bob and I (and maybe/probably Kathy?) will be back at Wrigley on Sunday for the last game before the All-Star break.
And, that's it for now.