Dear Bob, here are some photos of my life here on the campus of Concordia Seminary. I love kids, working with the grounds crew, swimming, playing with my dog friends, and especially my own family people.
A beautiful Saturday ahead of us and this means the St. Louis Zoo will be packed. It's like everyone in the Metro area wakes up on these nice weekend days and thinks, "let's take the kids to the zoo." And that means the traffic trying to get into the zoo at Hampton will be stopped in the right lane which makes it really dangerous for traffic not going to the zoo and driving west they come around a bend after Kingshighway right into stopped cars.
Each year officials try and make people understand that Hampton is not the exit to take to the zoo. They desperately publicize the idea that Kingshighway is the better exit, but most people do not. And so the cars are stopped all along the long exit curve to Hampton and onto highway 40, some on the shoulder, some not. What makes this doubly dangerous is that the right lane after Hampton is exit only at Skinker and many drivers realize this too late. They get out of the zoo jam and then realize they have to get over to the left to avoid Skinker exit and they're getting over into traffic which was in the left and middle lanes to avoid the zoo jam.
This is my exit heading back to the seminary and I see this all the time. Even though I now know what to do, you just can't control the sudden impulses of other drivers.
So if you're coming west on 40 this morning, be aware.
A notice from KMOV's Laura Hettiger this morning: "Another semi rolled over near Poplar Street Bridge and 55 in downtown overnight. it's the 4th time in just 3 weeks."
These roll overs are happening on the new westbound exit ramp from the bridge to 44/55, a ramp MoDOT spent almost 2 years working on to improve the former ramp. So what is causing this? Is it that the ramp is still not functional enough to handle traffic efficiently or is it that the trucks are taking it much too fast?
I'd submit it is the trucks going to fast for the curve. If you have driven from Illinois you've surely noticed how much in a hurry these trucks are once they get past the construction slow down near the King Bridge exit. So many semis just take off like a shot once past that spot and can't slow down enough to take the sweeping exit curve.
Here is an explanation from one of KMOV's commenters:
The main problem with the ramp is the angle of the bank based in the turn radius is too flat.
Additionally, what is pretty scary when you are in the left lane on the westbound Poplar and happen to glance at the eastbound traffic, you'll notice that the concrete dividing wall is quite low and is all that separates you from the huge trucks zooming east right on your shoulder. The speed limit is 50 on the bridge and into Illinois for quite some time, but in reality that is not the case.
KMOV's Laura Hettiger counted 20 construction sites in the St. Louis Metro area this week which is quite a few. Everything seemed to begin all at once and when you get through one, you're soon looking at another.
Southwest announced this week that they will be adding two additional gates in St. Louis to keep up with the increasing number of flights. I'll say this about Lambert after flying American to San Antonio two weeks ago. The main terminal which had a very nice renovation recently, is a deserted place. There are very few passengers around which means the airlines like United and American have fewer flights out of St. Louis. On the other hand, the East Terminal which houses Southwest is a madhouse of people which means that airline is flying many many flights.
Actually after flying American for the first time in a long while, I'll take Southwest's planes, there is more leg room and more efficiency in getting people on and off.
I do believe Lambert's terminals could use more in the way of places to eat or things to look at. Other airports cater to all kinds of tastes but not here.
This past Thursday Dale and I flew to San Antonio in order for him to preach 3 times on Sunday as well as be part of a conference. I was able to spend Friday touristing in the Texas hill country with the pastor's wife and Saturday Dale and I did some sightseeing together. I have to say, San Antonio has a lot to offer, it's bigger than I thought, has lots of things to do, lots of history and many people out and about.
Unfortunately I had no ability to get on my blog during those days, it was logistically too difficult to drag along a laptop. You can get a better look at the photos by clicking on them.
First the Texas hill country which was gorgeous with roadsides and fields filled with Bluebells and orange bells.
These flowers are all along the sides of roadways and they may not be cut back until they have completely gone to seed.
The first thing Julie and I did was a bit of window shopping in the very charming and unique town of Fredricksburg.
There's Julie looking at a couple of glass birds.
This was Rustlin' Rob's Texas Gourmet Food, amazing.
Another store had fun things outside the front door.
We antiqued there too and lo and behold I was able to find and buy a couple of Blum Cowbells, originally from Collinsville.
Then we went into a museum I never knew existed, The Admiral Nimitz National Museum of the Pacific War. This was a tribute to all navy and marines who fought in the Pacific theater during WWII, one of whom was my dad so I was very interested in this place.
It was so cold that day and kind of off and on rainy that I bought a jacket in the museum gift shop. Never gave a thought to San Antonio being raw and cold.
Outside is a Memorial Courtyard with photo plaques of hundreds, maybe thousands of men who took part in that part of the war. Some on the walls lived through the war others died fighting. It's quite an expansive memorial area.
There are several of these walkways with plaques all along.
The "MY DEAR" at the bottom endeared me to this sign in a window.
On Saturday Dale and I walked a couple blocks from our hotel to the Alamo. I have never seen the Alamo and was quite taken with it. Many have said over the years that it is much smaller than you would think, but I never realized there was so much more to the Alamo than just the one famous building. It was awe inspiring.
No picture taking was allowed inside of the building itself and you cannot touch the walls either.
In the Alamo gift shop were bumper stickers, the top one which said, "COME AND TAKE IT" refers to the battle cry of the Texans fighting to save the Alamo. I have no need for a bumper sticker but was so taken with that 'cry' that I bought a T-shirt with those words. Dale was probably smarter, he bought a book on the history of the Alamo.
I don't know if you're still hanging in here, but after the Alamo we walked through the famous River Walk which was right outside our hotel. What a marvelous thing for a city to have and the crowds came and came and came and rightly so. It is beautiful with tons of places to sit outside and eat or drink or people watch. Also tour boats by the dozen floated by all day and all night.
People lined up in block long queues
Tables with people eating
The river is below grade so you had to go down steps to get there and up to leave.
There is a lot of river, you go down one block or two, make a turn and head down another.
We had a late-ish lunch at The Original Mexican Restaurant along the River Walk. I did not intend to leave San Antonio without good Tex-Mex. And this place was fantastic.
While we waited for our meals, a group of Mexican musicians came by and played for us. They were amazing and I told our waitress how wonderful they were and she said, "you know they're military". Wow. Our military guys doing music like that in their off time.
On Sunday morning Dale did the Gospel of Mark in church.
We went back through the River Walk on our last night, Sunday, with a pastor friend of ours and his wife. Here's or hotel by night.
Very impressive and what most caught my attention was how many people were out doing things in San Antonio. Streets were filled with people coming and going from place to place, stopping and talking, eating--whatever from morning til night.
And one last impression. I am now a huge fan of Uber, the car service. We used them several times and couldn't have been happier.