July 27, 2008
I'm finally getting the photos from the 'longest field trip' we took in April up. There's just no excuse other than life itself for how behind I am. I can't believe it has been this long since we drove up to Michigan. Seems like yesterday. It is nice having a ton of photos to remember all the places we saw along the way.
These pictures are from Day 5 of our 7 day trip from Texas to Michigan and back. Gas was bad back then, but it is even worse now. I think the most we paid on our trip was 3.67$ per gallon. Without our robotics sponsors, we wouldn't have been able to even afford that! The bottom of this post has links to each day's adventures that I have already blogged about... and a few extras thrown in for good measure.
Here's a quick explanation as to what is in the picture collage above (left to right, top to bottom):
1. Factories everywhere. I think this one was in Indianapolis. I thought we had factories down South. Most of ours are in Stinkadena (Pasadena and Texas City where the petroleum is refined before it sucks all the money out of our wallets).
2. Pretty sunset on our way in to Missouri. So there's an Illinois sunset, folks. Looks much like the ones down here. Go figure.
3. We started out on 70 and were undecided on whether we should detour to go see St. Louis or not. I wanted to see the arch since we were so close. Our belated detour took us down 57, 50, 51, and in to St. Louis on 64. On the way out of town, we traveled 44. We stayed in a hotel south of town for the night before heading to Arkansas the next day. The star on the map below is the cave we visited on Day 6.
4. Clue boardgame painting - Centralia, IL. There were some interesting buildings in Centralia. I collect photos of post offices, so I originally stopped to take a picture of that, but it was too late. I did get a blurry shot of the Sentinel office, though. Aside from this Clue painting, it was the coolest thing I saw in Illinois. Here was the quote above the little rural newspaper's doorstep: "Here shall the press, the people's rights maintain - Unawed by influence, unbribed by gain". The quote itself was awe inspiring, but the building was decorated in Ancient Egyptian style. The Sentinel's website has some interesting info if you want to stop by. You'd be amazed at the neat things you can find traveling through small towns in the U S of A.
5. The middle shot is a green farm field in Indiana - somewhere near Fort Wayne, I suspect.
6. A stoplight in Centralia that caught my attention. It is amazing I haven't been run over already with that camera attached to my forehead.
7. Street signs in Indianapolis (and no, they aren't pink - I doctored the picture). I just couldn't believe my little Texas eyes were seeing a sign that said, "Chicago" on it. I know. I'm sheltered.
8. Coming in to St. Louis, it was getting dark. We were tired.
9. As soon as we got within photographic range of the Arch, my camera quit on me. It gave me some crazy error message, "Disc is not formatted". I was totally hyperventilating and mad as a hornet. Being left to think that the previous 5 days worth of photos were deleted, I began to have serious regrets about splurging at Best Buy for my new Canon 40D before the trip. I mean, what kind of camera erases 1,000 photos on a whim?! Thankfully I was wrong about the camera and I still love it. At the moment, though.... even seeing the Mississippi River out of its banks and being almost directly under the Gateway Arch wasn't enough to bring me out of my funk. It pays to read the instruction manual. After missing a perfect shot of a lit up Cardinal Stadium and the Arch, we made it to the hotel and I discovered that all I had to do was turn the camera off and pop the disc out and reinsert it. So I have only a few blurry shots of St. Louis and some scary memories of being lost in the downtown slums at night. All that for driving quite a few hours out of the way and paying for another night's hotel room!
I still am glad we got to see St. Louis. My kids don't have very fond memories of it (they were screaming "we are going to die!!!" in the back seat before our Tom Tom guided us back to the freeway), but at least it is a tangible place to them now. All those studies about explorers, Indians, and pioneers heading west are more concrete since they have seen the Gateway Arch with their own eyes. They have seen the muddy Mississippi. They have seen the Louis and Clark survey marker in the swamps of Arkansas. They know how long it takes to get to these distant places by car (so they can imagine how long it would have taken a pioneer in a covered wagon). They have a little better understanding of just how big and multi-cultural our country is.
My stepmom (who has been in the education field her whole life) says that education is about "experiences", not worksheets. The more experiences you can give a child are what help them to grow and learn about the world they live in. That's why I love homeschooling, field trips, trying new things, doing unit studies, and reading historically accurate living books. We were glad to add St. Louis in to our 7 day cross-country trip because it added a life experience that all of us didn't have. I only wish we could have stayed longer and met a few blog friends along the way! After returning home, I was reminded that Dana lives in St. Louis. I'm sure there are others I'm going to kick myself over once I find out you are in or close to Saint Loo-wee! Places are less scary when friends live there.
Maybe next time we'll be there in the daytime so we can actually go up in the Arch and see the town. If you happen to visit St. Louis... please make sure your camera is in working order (and that you have the instruction manual handy). A Tom Tom might be a good investment, too. I'd love to see your pictures if you have some to share!
Recap of the Longest Field Trip (Robofest 2008, Texas to Michigan and back):
Day 1 of our Robofest Trip (Texarkana)
Burritos for Peace Program
Day 2 of our Robofest Trip (White Line Fever)
Day 2 & 3 of our Robofest Trip (Down Home on the Farm)
Day 2 of our Robofest Trip (too many states for 1 day)
Day 2 of our Robofest Trip (LaGrange, KY)
Day 3 of our Robofest Trip (Robot Competitions)
Day 4 of our Robofest Trip (Swap Present Pick-up)
Day 3 & 4 of our Robofest Trip (Texan in Detroit)
Day 4: The Longest Field Trip.... continued....
Day 4 & 5: Longest Field Trip, Continued: The Dixons
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