Today, we spent most of the day on a little road trip. We drove two hours south of Saint Louis and visited Tower Rock, which is all in the news these days. Normally, it is an island in the Mississippi River, but because of drought and record low river levels, one can now walk to it. Mostly, we drove I-55, but the last twenty-five miles were on county roads. When we first exited the interstate, we stopped at a gas station and asked the clerk if she had been to see the rock. She shook her head and emitted vibes that she was not crazy. She said that over two-hundred people had already stopped at her station that morning.
The rest of the drive was full of twisty turns with many ups and downs. The last couple of miles were on a very dusty dirt road. This narrow road was mobbed with all the other tourist that had come to see the novelty. A two-lane road, we drove the first half, barely able to see the vehicle directly in front of us due to all the dust. About halfway, we parked on one side of the road, because by then parked cars on both sides of this road had shrunk the two lanes to one. We hoofed in the last mile. By then the vehicles were so jammed that little dust was still being created. We crossed a railroad track, and soon spied the rock.
I had brought my drone and even though it was quite windy, I was able to get it aloft and get a few photos before I quickly brought it back down again. Then we walked down to the rock and then around it. People were climbing on the rock, and a few had reached the top, even though climbing the rock is prohibited. On the way out, we spoke with a ranger, and I asked him, if today was one of the crazy or not so crazy days. He said that this was his first day there. The rangers had been hands-off, but last week, four cars had parked on the railroad tracks that we had crossed and then been smashed by a train.
Most of the parked cars that we had walked past were now gone. Only, as we got back to our car did we encounter the outbound traffic jam. I got the car turned around and proceeded to thread the needle between parked cars, oncoming traffic and pedestrians walking between all the cars. It was crazy! Eventually though we made it pass that jam. Back on hardtop we encountered again a construction zone that had a traffic light regulated one-lane section. On the way in, it had been nothing and, on the way out, it was still nothing for us, but people who were then trying come in were stuck in a mile long jam at the light. Passing all that I thought that we were free and clear, but a pair of farm tractors slowed everyone, creating one last jam. Still, we got home safe and sound.
By way of readjusting to living in Saint Louis, Anne and I took a float trip today. With temps soaring into the nineties, what better way to enjoy the great outdoors and still not lose your cool than getting a little wet. We chose to float the Meramec River, which during flooding season along with its bigger cousins, the Mississippi and the Missouri can at times make Saint Louis virtually an island, cutoff from the rest of the world with their raging waters. Not to worry now, in the dogdays of summer, the Meramec is a large enough a river to still have enough water in it, to keep it flowing, but only just. The Meramec is also the closest floating river to Saint Louis. This adjacency can cause the lose morals that the Sodom and Gomorrah title refers to, but that kind of behavior is reserved primarily for the weekend. The outfitter that we booked runs five tours on Saturday and tomorrows are all sold out, while today they only had one tour and it wasn’t even full. We rented a canoe, while the rest of the people taking the shuttle up the river were all in rafts. We launched ourselves first and never saw any of the other people again. We did see a few kayaks and one rather noisy johnboat. Its loud outboard motor flushed an osprey that had been perched in the tree above where we had stopped and had had our lunch. We were first to finish and get back to the cars. The outfitter had closed shop for the day, or so it seemed. We just left our boat at the top of the ramp and the paddles and vests outside the office. I hope that they don’t go walkabout.