Jay and Gina's Journal
August 1, 2011 - St. Louis
I realized yesterday that I was 18 - the same age as Nico now - when I moved to St. Louis in Jan 64. Of course I was 1 8 1/2! As I told Virgi last night, I felt so grown up, traveling from San Francisco (Vallejo where I had finished my one and only semester at Vallejo Junior College - TG.)
We’re on our way to the Arch which I watched being built from my 12th floor bedroom window in Plaza Square, #1201, across the street from Union Station in downtown St. Louis. I used to lean out the window to get a better view down Market Street. I saw it from the highway when returning from out ski trip to Colorado back in the 80s. Today I get to ride up to the top. The film explaining the building of the Arch was quite fascinating with the details of how they used the base as its own brace, loading the hoisting machine up each segment as they went.
Jefferson Museum of National Expansion
Lovely museum at the base of the Arch. It includes gorgeous photographs of spots along the Lewis and Clark Trail with quotes from their journals. I got so excited thinking about all the lovely places we’ll see on this trip. There was a sod house which I hadn’t seen a sample of previously. The covered wagon didn’t seem to have much more square footage inside than Roni’s van. How tough the pioneers were - I always marvel at their fortitude when I fly across the country they crossed.
From the top of the Arch, I could see our apartment building and the steeple of the church on St. Louis U’s campus, as well as the old courthouse and Union Station. Riverboats continue to be available. I wonder if the still have dances there? I seem to remember reading about he downtown river area being redeveloped.
Noted the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers as denoted by the difference in color due to the flow rate difference.
Afternoon in St. Charles
Lunch was good at the little winery restaurant that Ed had pointed out on Sunday. Then we were off to the Boat House and Nature Center where they had replicas of the Keel Boat and the Red and White Pirogues. At some point, someone noted that the Keel Boat (referred to in some of the journals as “the Barge”) was about the same length as the Nina.
The pronunciation of Sacajawea came up. All the different tribes would have pronounced her name differently. Our tribe would have used Bird Woman.
While there, we watched the National Geographic movie on Lewis and Clark. Still want to see the Ken Burns version.
Our dinner at the St. Charles Community College was very good and provided the wonderfully informative lecture by Debra Crank Lewis. I love the use of her powerpoint presentation to described the historical quest for trade routes, beginning with the fall of the Roman Empire, continuing to the Lewis and Clark Expedition. One of the maps she used showed all of the European naval voyages of exploration. As she noted, it resembled one of the current airline route maps. One of the ladies at the table said that I sat there nodding my head in agreement with many of her comments. I’ve always done that in classes I enjoyed. A few points of her presentation: Hudson Bay, James River, and St. Lawrence River -- trying to go west and connect across the continent with Asia. English didn’t find gold laying on the ground, and so tried to dig and plant; tried oranges - no, silk worms - stolen from China. Resulted in enough for one dress, grapes - wrong climate, finally TOBACCO!!!!
French - Lasalle couldn’t interest the government still looking for cross continent river: Colombia River; Coureurs des Bois - few written records, Fr. JaquesMarquette/Joliette 1673-94 /published info; St. Charles, MO - island coming at them down the MO River current very fast; Went on to Arkansas River.
Really weird concepts about the interior of the continent - Science Fiction or supper market tabloids; symmetrical continent each side the same - terribly Greek idea
Pyramidal height middle of the area filled with a huge body of water connecting all the rivers; lost tribe of Israel; Welsh.
Jefferson’s connection to The Loyal Company/ modern day venture capitalists (Abamoral, VA) and the need for every expanding territory because of poor use of the land.
1876 John Ledyard - Europe to Russia, Bearing Straight and south. Ended up in jail in Russia and sent to Poland
1792 American Philosophical Society - no $, not organized
1793 accepted volunteers Andre Michaeu/botanist supported by subscription (pass the hat) $120.50 + $25 from Washington and $12.50 from Jefferson.
Discussion continued of how the Mississippi River valley changed hands from Louis XV to Carlos III because Carlos wanted New Orleans and the western side of the river. Enter Napoleon and Carlos IV switched NO for Parma and a groom for his daughter. Haiti revolt cost money and soldiers, so Napoleon needed money. Jefferson had become very worried about the British coming in from the north west and retaking the USA after Alexander MacKenzie of the Hudson Bay Company crossed the Rockies and made it to British Colombia. Since Jefferson had already made an offer for New Orleans, Napoleon offered him the entire package for $15M versus $10M for New Orleans. Jefferson had an idea that the eastern side of the continent could be one country, USA (federalist) and the western side of the country a separate country, Republic of LA (republican).
The remainder of the lecture discussed Lewis relationship with Jefferson and his preparation for the Corps of Exploration. On March 9/10, 1804 the territory was turned over to the USA by the Spanish governor - France had not informed him that the territory had been sold. First the Spanish flag was raised, then the French and finally the USA’s.
We did a total of 79 miles on Monday.