Where Did You Find or Leave Bear?: Derwood, MD

The last few days have been very busy for Lucy and her new traveling companions. Friday morning Lucy was awakened before sunrise and after a quick breakfast of peanut butter on toast she was tucked gently into the backseat of her companion’s car to begin her new adventure….a cross-country trip to Yellowstone National Park. Most of Friday was spent making the long drive from Maryland to Highland, Illinois, a small town just outside of St. Louis, Missouri, the first big stop on the trip. Lucy spent most of the drive napping on a pile of comfy towels in the back seat and watching the dramatic landscape change as the small car made it’s way through the windy, hilly, fog filled roads of the Appalachian Mountains and into the flat land of the Ohio Valley and into the corn field lined interstate of Indiana and Illinois.

“How many states have we passed through today?” Lucy asked as they pulled into their hotel for the evening.

“Six,” her companions replied. “Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois.”

Later that night Lucy was awakened by the sound of a very odd siren. It was like nothing she had heard before.

“What is it?” she called out tentatively from her bed.

“It’s a tornado siren,” one of her companions replied. “A severe thunderstorm has moved into our area and there is a very real possibility of a tornado developing, so the siren is to let everyone know to be aware.”

As scared as she was Lucy made her way through the dark hotel room over to the window and looked out at the storm. “Are we going to be ok here?”

“I think so, though we have never experienced a tornado or even heard a warning siren before either. How about you crawl into bed with us and we’ll wait it out together.”

The next morning Lucy and her companions continued on their way to St. Louis. No tornados actually had formed and the three were very happy to see blue skies overhead. As their car made it’s way into the suburbs of St. Louis, Lucy got her first glimpse of St. Louis’s most famous landmark, the Arch, a huge metal arch along the banks of the United States’ longest and most famous river, the mighty Mississippi. It was beautiful with the sunlight reflecting off of it.

But her companions had an even better surprise for Lucy. Their first stop was the City Museum, a multi-story building composed of what at first looked like all sorts of crazy metal art sculptures, but as Lucy drew nearer she realized the entire building, inside and out was one giant playscape! There were tunnels to crawl through, slides to ride, and more crazy metal ladders and netting to climb all over – it was a bear’s paradise. And because Lucy’s traveling companions were “adults” she was even able to access the roof level with additional climbing structures, slides, and even a ferris wheel that Lucy road again and again. The view of the city and the streets below were amazing and a little scary all at the same time but Lucy and her friends had a blast.

After the museum, the trio made a quick trek down to the the Arch for pictures. Lucy learned that during America’s pioneer days St. Louis was considered the Gateway to the West since its location along the Mississippi had made it an important port for people traveling up from the Gulf of Mexico and from those traveling from the east, planning to begin new lives on the wild frontier.

Later that night Lucy and her companions attended a St. Louis Cardinals baseball game. Since it was Lucy’s first baseball game, her friends made sure to teach her all about the game: how to keep score, the differences between balls and strikes, the proper ways to taunt the pitcher, and all the words to “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”. Lucy enjoyed her first ballpark hot dog and got to see Albert Pujols, arguably the best baseball player, hit a single and steal second base. Later Lucy decided to thank her new friends by buying them a souvenier cup and soda. The lady behind the snack counter was surprised to see such a small bear ordering the drink all by herself, but Lucy did a great job handling the new American dollars she had, and the lady said it had been a pleasure to meet her. Lucy really had a great time at the baseball game and after the game was over she even got to sneak down to the field and have some fun climbing the left field foul pole.

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