Everyone knows the Gateway Arch is in St. Louis and most people know that
Missouri is the "Show Me" State, but I was surprised to find that Missori
is also known as "The Cave State" in some circles. And with over 5000
caves it seems to be an appropriate title. Lihao was aware of this fact,
and suggested Cheng Huang and I visit Meramec Caverns. We also headed over
to the arch, because it's there.

Meramec Caverns, a short (but intense, with the rain) drive from St. Louis.

Inside, it's a bit darker. It was hard to tell where the building ended
and the cave began.

A bit too dark here, but this was Jesse James' escape route from where he
hid his loot.

Stalactites and Stalagmites.

Same thing, different lighting.

Yet more.

This was quite a wet cave, with streams and pools everywhere.

A lone stalagmite.

I think this was called the spaghetti room.

If someone could rig the ceiling to fall, it would make a nice booby trap.

I don't know what this was exactly, but it must have been interesting at
the time.

Cheng surrounded by some nice formations.

Walking back.
(AVI, MPEG movie)

Oooooohhh, aaaahhhh...

Pretty nice, but not quite as impressive in normal light.

Exclusive video! Watch as a stalagmite grows. 1 cubic inch per million
years isn't so exciting, I suppose.
(AVI, MPEG movie)

This was huge, and dripping wet with the rain falling outside.

Mmmm...grapes.

A strange overhanging formation.

The final part of the tour -- quite an impressive wall.

On to the arch. From the pictures I've seen, I thought it would be a lot
bigger, and less rusty.

That's more like it.

From the top, looking down and to the north.

Down and to the south.

Looking east to the Mississippi and the arch's shadow.

East St. Louis isn't so impressive.

Panning over the original St. Louis.

Inside the arch, at the top.

Back to the bottom, looking up to the top.

If the sky had been blue, this might have been a nice postcard-type picture.

One last picture before heading home.

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