Various thoughts about travel, writing, and publishing -- plus anything else that is worth a comment by award winning science fiction author Henry Melton
Sunday, October 08, 2006
The St. Louis Roller Coaster
Today, Archon 30 ended and it was time to move to a new location for the night. From previous trips, we knew that there was a good RV campground over on the river, just across from the arch. It was associated with a casino, but I could overlook that. I'm not a gambler. I looked up the relatively simple directions and headed back east towards the Mississippi. I should have begun the trip with more dread.
Many highways, many interstates, all converge at one bridge. You can see in the Google Map image how the roadway is braided like rope. Crossing the river is a trial. Since I come to St. Louis at least once a year, I have had many opportunities to discover how easy it is to take the wrong branch. In places, every one of the lanes are equivalent, even though they branch and re-join. In other places, you'd better be in the correct lane well in advance or you'll never make it.
This was a sunday afternoon and traffic wasn't heavy, so when I realized I needed to get all the way over into the left lane for a left exit, Mary Ann following in the jeep behind me thought I was having engine trouble as I swayed the RV across multiple lanes and dodged cars, trying to get to the right place. And then, I managed to take exit 2B instead of 2A, and was forced to head across the MLK bridge (the upper bridge in the image), into downtown St. Louis. So looping around I headed back across the bridge, looking for an exit, any exit, that would get me off of the St. Louis Roller Coaster Ride.
Finally, I pulled off on some city street in the middle of East St. Louis, a most desolate and abandoned place. A quick conference with Mary Ann, and she took the lead, as we drove up and down the old streets, looking for our destination. The buildings were abandoned, the street lights were turned off and stop signs put up to take their place. But eventually, we reached the Casino Queen.
But we weren't home yet. Following the Jeep, I drove into the casino's parking lot and looped through tight places until the security guards showed up and offered to guide me over to the RV place.
So, finally, we are parked for the night, in that triangular parking lot in the upper center of the image, just below the MLK bridge.