Made it to St. Louis, Missouri early this morning to walk the city and see the Gateway Arch. I refused to pay for parking and opted instead to park along the water front (literally a couple feet from the water), next to a “No Parking” sign, located inside of a small gated-lot labeled “Employees Only.” That’s two good reasons to tow my car, and one good reason to get a new rental if the river ever rises a couple inches.
By late morning the park was full of tourists, and school buses packed with sugar-filled children continually pulled-up to shuffle the little devils onto the scene. It took me ten minutes to take the above shot because people couldn’t stop touching the sides of the arch, and every person that moved once they saw me was quickly replaced by a couple more.
The tourists stuck to the typical spots for their picture-taking, while I wandered through brush, between buildings, and up trees to try to get different angles of the monument. These spots ended up giving the best shots of the structure, even though not a single tourist was within 300 feet of me. Eventually I was spotted, and for about 15-minutes another photographer casually followed me around.
After a while, I ventured over to Illinois to take pictures across the Mississippi River. I ran into Malcom W. Martin while there, and for some reason was entertained with the idea of putting sandals on the statue:
After reading underneath the arch, walking more than four miles around the city, and enjoying a delicious steak lunch with a cold beer, I left St. Louis to resume my journey along the back-roads of the mid-west to become more familiar with the real culture. It was there that I became familiar with what is sure to become the fastest growing religion in the world: Cowboy Church.
Sitting alongside of the road in farm country was a normal looking barn, with the odd addition of a “Welcome Cowboys!” banner hanging above a Cowboy Church sign.
Yes, this is real.
The apparent aim is to add a western twist to the Catholic faith; cowboy hats are required for admission, baptisms are done in a cattle tank, and they even have their own Ten Commandments:
1.) Just one God.
2.) Honor yer Ma & Pa.
3.) No tellin’ tales.
4.) Git yourself to Sunday meeting.
5.) Put nothin’ before God.
6.) No foolin’ around with another fella’s gal.
7.) No killin’.
8.) Watch yer mouth.
9.) Don’t take what ain’t yers.
10.) Don’t be hankerin’ for yer buddy’s stuff.
From what I was able to find, the sermons are extremely short because of the fact that they try to make use of the rodeo ring set up within the barn.
I wish I could have attended.
On the way back home I also came across one crazy invention at one of the rest stops: all-in-one sinks. Basically, you stick your hands into this hole and soap shoots-out automatically into your hands, and then the water faucet turns on right afterward. After about ten seconds, the blow-drier turns on to finish you off. This is all in the same spot.
I don’t know if I loved or hated these things, but they certainly were intriguing. I took each sink for a test drive and possibly broke one while trying to figure out how it worked.
Long weekend; I’m finally going to try to get some sleep tonight after traveling 1600 miles in 48 hours.
Closing stats (from my quest to be true to the mid-west way of life):
2 – Steak meals consumed per day
1 – Milkshake consumed per day
8 – Times the radio plays “I’mma Be” per 9 hours
7 – Miles per hour under the speed limit to drive if you want to go the speed of traffic
30/30/30/10 Radio Rule – % that is religious talk radio / % rock ‘n’ roll music / % country music / % Black Eyed Peas