A couple of weeks ago, I had to make an unexpected one day road trip from my little town in Oklahoma to St. Louis and back. The reason for this trip is a long one, but suffice it to say, I was going to treat it as an adventure. The kids boarded the school bus shortly after 7 am and I was out the door soon after. I stopped and took a bad photo of the sunrise (hey, I was documenting everything) and stopped at a McDonald’s for a quick breakfast before getting on the turnpike. Soon it was just me and the open road. And every trucker in America. Man, was I44 busy that day! Somewhere outside of Springfield, MO, I stopped at what I thought was a run of the mill rest stop. I ended up spending the next half hour photographing the Route 66 Welcome Center. Cool little buildings built around the picnic tables depicting businesses found along Route 66. My favorite was the gas station with wooden old-time gas pumps.
Upon arriving in St. Louis, I took care of the business that brought me here and then headed downtown to the arch. I couldn’t leave St. Louis without a visit to this huge piece of St. Louis history. I was looking forward to getting some wonderful shots from the top of the arch, unlike the ones I had taken when I was a kid with a pocket 110 Instamatic camera. But, to my dismay, because of the Government shutdown, the Arch was closed. I was free to walk about the grounds, but a trip up to the top was out of the question. Well, when you are given lemons, make lemonade.
I began photographing the arch from every angle I could fathom, most of them up. But, I wanted to be able to show its massive size and distinct architectural lines. The sky was a brilliant blue and lots of puffy white clouds filled in the otherwise, empty space.
Because it was a weekday and because the park was technically closed, there weren’t too many people around. The ones that were out enjoying the day and the arch seemed very relaxed and content to just sit a spell. So, I photographed that too. And feel that I came away with a couple of successful photographs.
It was getting late in the day and I had a long trip home so I headed back up that very busy interstate that brought me here in the first place. After stopping for gas and lottery tickets ( I actually left Missouri with a few of their tax dollars), it was time to eat again. Joplin’s Petro Mart is a trucker’s paradise and a pretty decent place to grab some dinner. I recommend the Iron Skillet to anyone traveling through.
I was worn out and extremely tired when I walked in my front door at midnight, but I knew I had some interesting takes on the arch and all things in between. I had been feeling out of sorts photographically for quite some time, but this unexpected road trip was just what I needed to refuel my passion for photography. I am ready to take on the next photo challenge that comes my way. Hopefully, it will be a little closer to home or at least offer a night’s stay in a hotel.