Wednesday, June 09, 2010

"The Zoo"

Yesterday Holly and I embarked on a trip to St. Louis to go to the zoo for a few hours, and pick up YuJong and her mom from the airport. The good news is, YuJong and her mom are now on campus. The other news technically isn't bad, it just didn't go as planned. We happily started off at 10:45am, for a 3 hour drive. This would give us a good 2+ hours at the zoo. You see, this would be exciting, because THIS zoo is FREE. Parking only costs $11. Doesn't this sound like a good way to spend a few hours in St. Louis? We thought so, too. Things went well until shortly after hitting I-44 (a mere hour into the trip), when it started to rain. Not just a little rain, but rain so hard that people were pulling off the road or driving with their hazards on. I figure, hey we can make it to the next exit at least--I don't want to sit on the side of the road. We get to the next exit, and sit in the parking lot of a gas station for about 5 minutes. The rain let up, and following the que of a work truck, decided to head back on the highway. We soon caught back up with the storm (which was obviously not moving over 50mph like we were!) I drove a while in the storm, then decided, this really isn't smart, so I pulled over again. Traffic passes, and there soon seems to be enough of a break in traffic that I'm comfortable driving again. See, I'm not afraid of the rain--it's those other people out there! We decide to stop at Panera in Rolla, since it's just off the highway, and we both like it. We eat there, taking about an hour, since we keep catching up with the rain. A man gives me a mocha drink instead of mango (I'm now standing in lining saying outloud "mocha, mango, mocha, mango: I think I differentiate pretty well, and I know I said 'mango.'" Back on the road, not many miles down the road, our traffic starts stopping. We've already seen 2 vehicles in ditches at this point, and I'm thinking we've another. But no. We crest the hill to discover that we're only rubbernecking. The damage is on the other side of the highway: an 18-wheeler had rolled on it's side, the cab appeared to have jack-knifed, and it was blocking the lanes and shoulders both 100%. There was no way the mile of parked vehicles were going anywhere soon. Traffic was being diverted on that side to the service road, and some traffic was still able to move. Things were less exciting from there on out; we soon came into St. Louis and found the airport. We had realized we weren't going to make it to the zoo, and while disappointed, looked forward to people watching at the St. Louis Airport. That did not disappoint! We saw: a group of about 30 future National Guardsmen (they had all the backpacks, but didn't know how to stand in formation; on the way to bootcamp maybe?), a soldier walking with his very happy 2 year old daughter, a friend's doppleganger (look-alike), a daddy-less family that had just said goodbye, a friendly walking Samoan bobblehead, and YuJong and her mom! We packed up the car and headed home, round trip it took over 9 hours. Sadly, it took us 5 hours to get to St. Louis, and 3 to get home. We had the foresight to start counting the animals we saw early in our trip, with a grand total of 11: Beta fish, dogs, buzzards, dead skunk, dead armadillo, deer, buffalo, cows, horses, rabbits, and a turtle.
Next time, we'll leave earlier for the zoo!!!
(And maybe go on a non-rainy day.)

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