We left Onondaga Cave State Park and headed towards St Louis. We were scheduled to visit St Louis in the fall of 2013 but there was a government shutdown which meant the Gateway Arch was closed so we canceled our visit. This time we were really looking forward to seeing the Arch and other St Louis sites.
We arrived at our campground, Babler Memorial State Park, which is located about thirty minutes outside of St Louis. It is a lovely campground at a higher elevation so no worries about flooding. The campground is electric only and the host remarked we had the nicest site (#21) in the campground on a cul de sac with plenty of space between sites.
I always plan activities ahead of time and I knew we had lots of places in St Louis to visit in the short time we were there, so we decided to arrive at the campground early and use the afternoon for sightseeing. Usually on a move day we don’t plan activities but use the day to travel and get set up at our new site. Since we always get up early on move days, once we get set up we just relax and take it easy the rest of the day. But this time we wanted to hit the ground running. We were anxious to get that first view of St Louis and the Arch. We were a little worried that since we were arriving several hours before the designated check-in time, maybe our site wouldn’t be ready or they wouldn’t let us set up that early. But no worries, the friendly camp host checked us in with no comment about us being really early.
We quickly set up and headed to St Louis. The Cardinals were playing at home so we were a little concerned about traffic but we timed our arrival into the city after the game had started. From a distance we were excited to see our first view of the Arch.
Today being a Sunday, we decided to drive around the city and get acclimated, find places to park when we visit the Arch on Monday and tour the Anheuser Busch Brewery. There is quite a bit of construction downtown and traffic patterns can be complicated so we wanted to take advantage of less traffic on Sunday to look around.
Next up was the Brewery tour. Eberhard Anheuser and William D’Oench purchased the St Louis brewery from the brink of bankruptcy in 1860. In 1861 Adolphus Busch married Anheuser’s daughter and worked as a salesman for the company. In 1869 Busch bought D’Oench’s share the company substantially expanded its facilities in St Louis in the 1870’s. Production increased from 31,500 barrels in 1875 to more than 200,000 in 1881. In 1879 it was renamed Anheuser Busch. It was the first American brewery to use pasteurization to keep beer fresh, the first to use mechanical refrigeration and refrigerated railroad cars and the first to bottle beer extensively. In 1957 it became the largest brewer in the United States.
In 2008 through a series of mergers with three international brewing groups in Belgium, Brazil and Anheuser Busch the name was changed to Anheuser-Busch InBev and is now the world’s largest beer producer. The company employs over 30,000 people and operates twelve breweries in the United States.
I am not a beer drinker and Bill occasionally drinks beer so our main incentive for visiting was to see the Clydesdale horses. Who has not seen and loved those Clydesdale commercials! When we arrived we signed up for the complimentary tour which included a brief tour, including free beer samples and a chance to see a few horses. The tour which gave an introduction to how beer is brewed was very interesting. After the tour ended they offered a large beer of your choice or a soft drink.
On our way to the car we had a wonderful surprise when we saw a Clydesdale horse at the side of the visitors building and we were allowed to go up and pet him. His name was Alumni and we even felt like he was posing for the pictures!
Next blog will talk about our long awaited visit to the Gateway Arch.