A lot to catch up on since arriving at Jean’s and Mark’s. After the concert, we had a very good rest and woke up relaxed and refreshed. Dana borrowed running shoes from Jean and hit the Katy Trail to prevent, as she calls it, “Dana Head.” I had some breakfast, chatted with Jean and generally just relaxed for the first time in two weeks. It was a challenging but fun trip with Dana, and it started hitting both of us that that part of the party is over. It’s going to take some adjustment.

We headed to downtown STL and made a beeline for Gateway Arch. Though they’ve probably been there tens of times, Jean and Mark led the way to the museum at the base, watched a movie of the construction, and took a tram ride to the top. The museum featured a lot of exhibits about St. Louis’ part in the westward expansion and the movie documented the construction of the arch. It was quite an endeavor and workers were scrambling over the structure with very little safety equipment. Though the planners had anticipated losing 13 workers, none died during the construction.

Yesterday, Dana left on the train for Altoona with her bike checked in baggage. As I’m writing this almost 24 hours later, she still has an hour or two to go before she gets in. After we dropped Dana off, Jean took me to see the “New” Cathedral, an amazing work of art with most of the interior covered in mosaic tiles. There’s a museum in the church basement that tells you it took 80+ years and 41.5 million tile pieces to complete the mosaics. Pretty impressive.

I spent the afternoon running errands, some with Jean and some on my own, reconfiguring my gear and trying to decide what I needed to take along the next phase of the trip. I gained a Chromebook but lost a credit card, so first thing today was getting that reissued and sent to Aaron in Denver. I have backup, so no crisis yet, thank goodness. I packed a small box of various things to send home and lighten the load a bit. After another of Jean’s delicious and filling meals, a nice red wine, and a visit from longtime neighbors Shelly & Jerry (and more wine), I did some packing and prep for the train ride and went to bed.

Can’t say enough about how welcomed we felt with Jean and Mark and how comfortable and easy our visit was. Fam! A little slice of paradise that will be missed.

Today, I’m on the Amtrak Missouri Runner, heading to Kansas City. I was able to bring Papa Hobo right into the coach car with me. The conductor lifted the bike up to me and then hoisted the packs up. It was great. The seats are comfy and roomy and the bike fees are so reasonable that I may never fly again. Not that it’s perfect. The train Dana took yesterday was 4 hours late today due to freight traffic priority, so you definitely need to have the time. And gee, I do! Still, it’s a shame what we let happen to the train system in this country, but I for one am glad it’s still here.

Tonight I have a Warm Showers host in Kansas City and tomorrow I’ll head out for Atchison KS where I’ll be camping. Hope to flesh out the rest of that four day trek to Lincoln NE on the train. Lots of pics today from the last three days, but they’ll have to wait for a better connection than I’m getting on the train.