Me having fun at the Zoo
Wanting a touch of home with a visit from some friends my wife and I met up with our friends from Wisconsin at the halfway point. St. Louis, Missouri. Which can be a little pricey but just outside of town on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River things are much cheaper. And we were able to stay in the bets Super 8 Motels I have been in. Which normally doesn't take much, but we were thoroughly impressed with the "Big 8" in Collinsville.
Things started off fine with a great drive north. Between Jonesboro and St. Louis is an excellent drive taking us through the Mark Twain National Forest in Missouri.
We pulled up to the "Big 8" and check in and as I come back out from the hotel, our side view mirror has fallen off. There was no vandalism, my wife was out by the car the whole time, the mirror just fell off. So we got a chance to really let people know we were from Arkansas when glue did not successfully reattach the mirror by itself and we needed to combine that with some string. And still today as we drive around Arkansas our side mirror is held together by this white string wrapping around the mirror, through the door and on the inside of the car.
View of St. Louis from the top of Monk's Mound at Cahokia Mounds.
Free Day in St. Louis
On Saturday when it came to us spending the day in St.
Louis we wanted to do it on the cheap. So of course we headed to the St. Louis Zoo, which is in a very nice part of the city and is definitely FREE! We had a great time, and in fact a little too great because when we left it was past 5:00 which is the time the FREE Discovery Center (or children’s science discovery center) closes. So we returned to Collinsville with a planned detour to visit the Lady of the Snows Shrine. There are signs advertising it, one of our friends has been there, so we believe it exists. We were also making use of one of those excellent portable navigation systems you can get at electronic stores. So we typed in the Shrine and is says it has an address for us. We follow the directions for about 15 minutes until it tells us we have reached our destination . . . and we are sitting in a neighborhood at a dead end staring and an empty cornfield.
Brenda and Betty at Cahokia Mounds. They are on top of Monk's mound with other mounds in the backdrop.
"Gurdy" (our navigation system) definitely got us lost, the exact opposite of the purpose of those things.
A view west from Monk's Mound. Woodhenge is standing on the otherside of the mound in the distance.
After we leave the neighborhood we call an audible. We stop by Cahokia Mounds, a native American site outside of St. Louis but under the radar. Cahokia was the site of the Mississippian Civilization in PreColumbus America. Cahokia was a major trading city with materials brought and traded from Northern Wisconsin to the Gulf of Mexico. The mounds are earth pyramids constructed over 800 years ago with the tallest standing around 100 ft. During the 1100's it is believed that Cahokia had a population larger than London at the same time period but the community mysteriously went down hill (probably as a result of overusing its resources) and by the time settlers found the area they believed they had found some excellent sledding hills.
The largest part of the city was destroyed and flattened when making room for St. Louis and farmland and now a few mounds remain that are still being studied by archeologists. There is still a lot they are learning from the area and a lot about the use of the mounds and the community they still do not know for sure. But it is an excellent little park that I would recommend for any visitors to St. Louis who have an interest in Native American or Pre European history.
Birdmand stone carving found on the site. Mesoamerica style?
*After the first 4 photos they are from a previous trip. But I thought a view better pics would help capture the area.