If you're driving on the Clark Bridge you'll see steel cables pass overhead in a geometric blur akin to a Star Trek time warp. If you're heading east into Alton, Illinois, the bridge drops you off in a futuristic, near-apocalyptic downtown repeatedly battered by the mighty Mississippi. If you're driving west to the desolate riverfront stretch of St. Charles County you'll find yourself in a wormhole to cheaper gas. The bridge is equally powerful from afar. We suggest digging the view from the parking lot between Marquette Catholic High School and the First Unitarian Church on Alton's Third Street, where the slight elevation offers a panorama in which the bridge's modern sheen gorgeously contrasts with the charming downtown decadence.