After having to load the bus at 6 a.m. at the Brookstown Inn Saturday morning, loading the bus at 9:30 a.m. in New Albany this morning felt like a breeze. Continental breakfast was served starting at 7 a.m. and was highlighted with eggs, sausage, potatoes, waffles, and fruit. All travelers came down, ate breakfast and had time to go back to their rooms, clean up and get ready to depart. OʼFallon, Illinois was the first destination of the day. Once the travelers got to the bus, the loading crew took their luggage, then travelers were able to “read” the seating chart posted on the wind shield and find their seat. If you thought these teenagers could read a chart, they canʼt. It only took a little movement and explaining to get them in the correct seat however. The majority of travelers were sitting beside someone they didnʼt already know. Conversations were sparked, phone games were played, and just like that new friendships were created.
Upon arrival in OʼFallon, travelers were able to choose from several spots to eat lunch, and of course some of us had to make a pit stop at Target to pick up a few things. Before we knew it, we were in St. Louis, Missouri also known as the Gateway to the West!!! Pulling up to the City Museum all the travelers were excited by the site of the obstacles and vehicles hanging on the side of what used to be an old shoe warehouse. I overheard several of their comments. Addie said, “the Ferris Wheel looks really cool.” Harris added, “that bus looks like the Magic School Bus" (referencing the bus hanging off the edge of the roof), "do yʼall think the Frizz is on it?”
A short walk to the Gateway Arch from the hotel and the nerves and excitement began to rise as we found ourselves in groups of 5 piling into a tram bucket with a 4 minute ride to the top. Right before getting in the bucket, I heard Libby say, “how in the world are we going to get in that?” The view from the top was breath taking, with views of the city, the Cardinalʼs ballpark and the countryside on the other side of the Mississippi River.
A delicious dinner was served at the Old Spaghetti Factory with a choice of Spaghetti or Alfredo. A scenic walk past the Gateway Arch led us back to the hotel for the night.