St. Louis, MO/ Collinsville, IL - My Family Travels

On July 19, 2009, I took a week long trip to St. Louis Missouri with a group of ten teens from my church. The main purpose of this mission trip was to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity and enjoy other recreational activities in St. Louis as well as Collinsville, Illinois.

            We started off with an almost seven hour drive to Collinsville where our tour guide/ youth minister, David, is from. Collinsville is about twenty minutes away from St. Louis so we stayed at two homes nearby. Our group was to be at the construction site, which was only 10 miles outside of downtown St. Louis, at 6:30 A.M. there were about fourteen houses being constructed on one block. Our entire group was sweating and burning in the hot sun for seven hours nailing away siding on 3 houses.

After a hot and humid day, we cooled off at an establishment by the name Ted Drews, which is located off of Route 66. They’re known for giving you ice cream upside down in a cup. I don’t know why but it was delicious! There were people from all over the states that stop there for ice cream.

            The next day, we visited Cahokia Mounds in Illinois. After learning some background on the mounds, we set off to climb a ridiculous amount of stairs. There were at least 100 steps, if not more. From the top of the mound we could see the Arch and the St. Louis skyline.

            Another site we visited later was the World’s Biggest Catsup Bottle in Collinsville. This was one of the most exciting parts of the trip, although the catsup bottle was more like a water tower. People at a nearby gas station could see we were sill tourists taking pictures with a catsup bottle. An older man even asked, “Do they not have catsup in Chicago?”

            By the fourth day, we had helped out two days on the construction site and got to lend a hand at ReStore, a second hand store that sells necessary households things at lower prices. It’s located across the street from St. Louis University.

            The last two days of our trip were spent visiting the Merimac Caverns and canoeing. The caverns are where a famous robber, and criminal, Jesse James, hid while he was on the run. Why they made a tourist site of a place that once housed a criminal, I don’t know, but the rock formations were awesome to look at.

            The final event of our trip was canoeing down the Merimac River which was a 6 mile distance. We had a huge raft and two canoes. The raft was hard to maneuver because none of us on it knew how to steer it so we ended up in circles many times. There was an instance where there was a tree in the river and I was on the canoe with another teen, Jorge. We got past the tree and were waiting for everyone when we heard a splash. Someone had fallen off the raft and dragged someone else down with them. Before I knew it, the other canoe had tipped and there were sandals floating in the water. We paddled upstream to find ourselves all laughing as 4 people were soaking wet.

            Not only did I get to hammer away siding on a house that a less fortunate family will receive, but I was able to see different places that normally I wouldn’t have had the chance to do unless I  would’ve gone on this mission trip to St. Louis, MO.


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