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Mod Pizza

June 20, 2019

Saint Louis – Day 5

Day 5 – Good morning Saint Louis. Let’s find somewhere to eat breakfast and then go see the St. Louis Arch.

I plugged in Saint Louis Arch and it wasn’t found. So, I had to do an Internet search and found at the GPS probably has it listed by it’s official name – Gateway Arch.

That did it. Off we go.

“Brent, check that out. It looks like an old movie theatre,” Charly says while pointing out the window.

“It sure does. Let’s stop and check it out,” I said.

We pulled in to the parking lot to discover inside it’s been converted in to offices. One of the things the Internet has destroyed is good, ol’ fashioned, movie houses. Just as the Interstate highway system turned many Route 66 towns in to shells of what they used to be, the Internet has had impact on theatres and retail shopping.

As we walked by the MOD Pizza shop in the corner of the building, the manager was opening and asked if we’d like to have a pizza.

Hey, I’m all for pizza for breakfast.

Saint Louis Train Station

Getting to the arch is going to take a little time. We didn’t get far before I saw an old train station. (It’s actually in Kirkwood, Mo.)

My grandpa was a Union Pacific Railroad man. He taught me respect for the tracks and trains. He’d say, “I don’t ever want to pick up your head off the tracks.” I was never afraid, I just knew trains and train tracks are nothing to be trifled with. You don’t pose people on the tracks and you get it in to your head that you cannot always hear a train. (It has to do with the doppler effect.)

“Brent, take a picture of me on the tracks,” Charly requests.

“Nope. Those are live tracks,” I said while looking around for some signage.

“Here, read this Charly,” I said pointing to a sign that warns trespassers, “aside from trespassing, it is also extremely dangerous. Didn’t you hear about those three kids who were killed last summer as one of them was taking pictures of the other two standing on the tracks?”

“Didn’t they see it coming and HEAR it coming?” she said in disbelief.

“Nope. It was a blind corner. The train was doing about 70 miles per hour, and at that speed, you won’t hear the train until it is too late,” I explained.

“Really?” she said while looking at me as if to say, ‘Nah, that can’t be.’

“See the yellow line. Stay on this side of the line please,” I pleaded with Charly.

“Okay,” she said with the disbelief that goes along with the feeling of invincibility that accompanies youth.

“Here, stand here and look down the track like you’re looking for the train,” I instructed, “Too bad we don’t have a suitcase.”

Charly Waiting for a Train
Charly Waiting for a Train

The Gateway Arch

I’ve always wanted to see the Arch in St. Louis. I knew little about the arch before the trip. All I knew about it was from my college math days learning that it is built in the shape that a chain makes ( a catenary curve) when suspended at two ends — only inverted. As a result of this shape, the arch is very structurally sturdy.

Here’s what I learned:
The Arch was built as a monument to the westward expansion.
It is a National Park.
Inside are trams that take tourist to the top where they can look out windows at the scenes below. (Because of its hight, I always thought there were offices inside.)
It took over 30 years from conception to completion!!!
It is 630 feet wide and 630 feet tall.

Charly At the base of the Gateway Arch in Saint Louis
At the base of the Gateway Arch

“Charly, come stand here and act like a fashion model,” I called for her. “There… move a little to your left,” I said motioning for her to move in that direction.

“Perfect,” I said as clicked the shutter.

Framed by the Gateway Arch
Framed by the Gateway Arch

I looked at our tickets, and then my watch, “Hey, let’s go inside. We need to catch our tram ride to the top.”

Trotting towards the entrance with Charly following behind, we entered the building via a downward sloping ramp that took us to the basement.

We had to wait for our group to be called, so we looked around. Finally they called our number and marshalled is in to a line. It was like a popular line at Disneyland. Just when you think you’re almost there, it takes another turn and doubles back on itself.

They boarded us on a tram with a half dozen people and off we went to the top.

“Charly,” I started to ask as she looked at me knowing I was going to ask her to pose.

She walked over to one of the windows, “How’s this?”, she asked.

Looking out of the Arch on the River Side Saint Louis
Looking out of the Arch on the River Side

Chain of Rocks Bridge Saint Louis

Our next stop was this bridge all the books said is a “must see”. I had never heard of the Chain of Rocks Bridge, so we were off to see what all the fuss is about.

The GPS took us to the Missouri side of the bridge and I did not see ANYWHERE that I would want to park the car. Charly was thumbing through all my Route 66 books.

“Brent,” she said firmly, “this book says, ‘Do not leave your car unattended on the Missouri side. It is not safe.'”

“Not to worry, I don’t plan to park here,” I said, then added, “I can’t even see a place to park legally. Check the map, will you?”

Charly pulled out a AAA map and began to fiddle with the folds. I could tell this Millennial Child has never dealt with a road map before. So, I turned on the flashers and pulled to the shoulder of the road.

“Let me see that,” I said while tugging it from her hands. “Okay, I see where we need to go.”

Soon we found ourselves on the Kansas side of bridge. A large gravel parking lot looked clean and safe. It also had many other cars parked there, but no people in sight.

“Let’s go check it out,” I said hopping out of the car.

Chain of Rock Bridge Old Historic Route 66
Chain of Rock Bridge Old Historic Route 66 Saint Louis

Sadness on the Bridge

Julie and Robin Kerry - Saint Louis Chain of Rocks Bridge
Julie and Robin Kerry

We soon came across this plaque. The death dates made me wonder, “Was this a suicide pact? How did these two girls die? What happened?”

Well, you can read the sad story here.

Someone also put together this slideshow…

October 30, 2017

Day 5 – Good Morning Saint Louis

Good morning Saint Louis!  You have us for two days.  We are excited to be here.  Our hotel is actually in Kirkwood - a suburb of Saint Louis.  It's called the Route 66 Holiday Inn. Like many big cities, it is quite commercialized.  We did pass a few retro looking places which we will explore today.  It was dark when we arrived so we didn't get to see much.

Good morning Saint Louis!  You have us for two days.  We are excited to be here.  Our hotel is actually in Kirkwood - a suburb of Saint Louis.  It's called the Route 66 Holiday Inn. Like many big cities, it is quite commercialized.  We did pass a few retro looking places which we will explore today.  It was dark when we arrived so we didn't get to see much.

Good Morning Saint Louis

Good morning Saint Louis!  You have us for two days.  We are excited to be here.  Our hotel is actually in Kirkwood – a suburb of Saint Louis.  It’s called the Route 66 Holiday Inn.

Like many big cities, it is quite commercialized.  We did pass a few retro looking places which we will explore today.  It was dark when we arrived so we didn’t get to see much.

Heading Downtown Saint Louis

While heading downtown Saint Louis I spotted these cool marquis.  We stopped to take pictures.  I was especially intrigued about MOD Pizza.  This places looks like it belongs on Historic Route 66.

copyright 2017 db walton
MOD Pizza

Next door was this RE/MAX office with an old theatre look.  Again, it has that retro Historic Route 66 look.

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Marquis

While taking pictures, a young lady came and unlocked the door at MOD Pizza.  We talked to her and asked her about MOD Pizza.  (I was thinking it was a Route 66 landmark.  It turns out it is not.  It is a chain store, which I will explain more.)

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MOD Pizza Opening

We told her what we were doing and she invited us to come have lunch… on her.  (This was our first comped meal of the trip!)  We are on our way to the Gateway Arch, but we hadn’t had breakfast yet.  So, why not combine the two and have a pizza brunch.

MOD’s Model

MOD’s business model is much like Subway Sandwiches.  You pick your size, and all of the toppings you want on your pizza.  They do not charge extra for toppings.

MOD also cooks the pizzas quickly.  They only take about 5 minutes.  It is that fast.

I hope they expand more.  I like the idea of a fast pizza that doesn’t nickle and dime you as you choose toppings.

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The MOD Crew with Paul and Me

Chicken and Waffles

I really want chicken and waffles.  However, after being fed with MOD Pizza, I couldn’t go for another meal.  Besides, we want to get to the Arch.  So, when I saw this sign I was like… Now we see it.

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Check and Waffles

This historic grill, Spencer’s, packs the crowds.  The place was full and people kept coming while we took pictures outside.

One couple stopped and talked with us.  They were excited about our Route 66 tour.  In fact, everyone we meet is excited.  Nobody says to us, “Oh, another couple of tourists…”

copyright 2017 db walton
Spencer’s Grill

Train Station

A few blocks further is this cool old train station.  It is an active Amtrak Station.

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Across the Tracks

You can’t see it in the photos, but on the side of the rails it says, “No Trespassing”.  This is just a note for the idiots who think it is cool to take pictures on train tracks.

Inside the station it is very clean.  In addition, it has old historic photos.

copyright 2017 db walton
Inside the Station

Outside on the loading platform is a good view of Historic Route 66.

copyright 2017 db walton
Loading Platform at the Kirkwood, Missouri, Amtrak Station

Nearby an old mill store reminds us how long Route 66 served this community.

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Old Feed Mill on Route 66

Sponsor Thanks

Thank you to ACDSee.  I’ve been doing all of the post processing in ACDSee Ultimate Pro.  If you don’t like the idea of paying Adobe $10/month indefinitely, look at ACDSee.  It does MORE than Lightroom and cataloging is a breeze.

My favorite part about ACDSee is copying files.  I know that sounds funny, but when you have a name collision, nobody handles it better than ACDSee.

Next up… The Gateway Arch… Check back often.

September 9, 2017

Gateway Arch

We are going to see the Gateway Arch (aka St. Louis Arch).  We'll take Historic Route 66 (next to our hotel) and head in to downtown St. Louis. On our way I saw some cool neon signs typical for the 1920s and 1930s.  We stopped to take pictures.

We are going to see the Gateway Arch (aka St. Louis Arch).  We'll take Historic Route 66 (next to our hotel) and head in to downtown St. Louis. On our way I saw some cool neon signs typical for the 1920s and 1930s.  We stopped to take pictures.

Gateway Arch

We are going to see the Gateway Arch (aka St. Louis Arch).  We’ll take Historic Route 66 (next to our hotel) and head in to downtown St. Louis.

On our way I saw some cool neon signs typical for the 1920s and 1930s.  We stopped to take pictures.

A young lady was open a restaurant called   MOD Pizza.  She explained they are an 8-minute (or less) pizza shop.  One price – nothing extra for the topping.  I thought it sounds like a good place for lunch.  She offered to comp our meal, and so we said, why not?  Let’s have a late breakfast/early lunch.

copyright 2017 db walton all rights reserved
MOD Pizza on Route 66

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Making Our Pizza

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All the Toppings

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The MOD Crew with Paul and Me

It was a good move.  We had a delightful meal, and after our meal, we photographed the crew.

Everywhere we stop people are friendly and interested in what we’re doing.  Some express their jealousy that we have the time to do this trip.  (It’s more about the expense when you’re in business for yourself.)

The Gateway Arch

I’ve got three words to describe the Gateway Arch:  Awesome, Awesome and Awesome.  What an engineering marvel.  It is HUGE.  You don’t realize how big it is until you are under it.  It is twice as big as any building in San Francisco.

copyright 2017 db walton all rights reserved
Under the Arch

Ted Drewe’s

Our model who flaked wanted us to meet her at Ted Drewe’s.  That aside, everyone we met asked, “Are you going to Ted Drewe’s?”

We did.  Great frozen custard with lots of toppings available.  I had caramel topping… of course.  Paul had strawberry.

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Workers at Ted Drewe’s

Chain of Rocks Bridges

Our last stop for the night was another, “Are you going to the Chain of Rocks Bridge?”  I guess we have to go there.

We got to the St. Louis side and discovered we couldn’t park there legally.  In fact, the whole parking lot was blocked off.   Our GPS told us to get on the freeway, go back to Illinois, and enter from that side.

We did as the GPS directed (thanks to Republic Wireless and our map app, we found the Illinois side of the bridge.)

It is closed to vehicles, so we walked on to the bridge.  It is a VERY LONG BRIDGE.  I walked across it and back.  Paul made it about 75% across when me met me coming back.

On the way back we met a mom and her children.  They posed for a picture and we had a delightful talk with them.  She said her children didn’t know what the big deal was about this old bridge.  I explained this bridge took people across the Mississippi as they were on their way to California.

“California?” she exclaimed, as if California was on another planet.

copyright 2017 db walton - all rights reserved
Family Crossing the Chain of Rocks Bridge

It was busy, but fun day.