Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Hermann and the Katy Trail near Jefferson City, MO

Our next stop was a Coast to Coast park outside of Jefferson City, MO.  One of the things we enjoy in Missouri is riding the Katy Trail.

We had the opportunity to ride several times.

Standing Rock.  Although this looks like a large rock sticking up from the ground, they say it is actually what is left of what was once a bluff.  This small part is what has evaded the erosion over thousands of years.

We weren't alone on the trail, either.

This guy actually allowed me to photograph him.

Another day we found the German town of Hermann.

The Strehly House, originally built in the 1850s by Carl Strehly.  He added a commercial wing when he started a wine business in 1855.  This location is historic because of a radical newspaper by Edward Muehl.  It was Muehl's freethinking about slavery, which is thought to have helped keep Missouri a Union state during the war.

Now a Bed and Breakfast, many of the downtown buildings were built in the mid 1800s and are still in use today.

The old mill now serves wine and food.

Built in 1868, it is now a museum and promotes evening lantern tours of the town.

The concert hall was built in 1878 and still functions today as a bar and saloon.

The local winery

You can walk down to the basement where they store their kegs of wine.

Just read any history and you will realize this really is Daniel Boone country.  Gasconade County, home of Hermann, was created in 1828, and its first commissioner was Daniel Morgan Boone, son of Daniel Boone.  There were several county courthouses before this one was built in 1898.

We met a couple which were biking across the country.  After there kids were gone from home, they took a sabbatical from work and took off with their dream of biking cross country.  Being a mechanical engineer, he built this special trailer for his bike.  They were interested in our RV lifestyle, so we shared experiences with them.  

We saw them again later at the city campground.  They were trying to get their tent up before the rains came.

Although we did go to Jefferson City, we didn't really do much exploring since we had been there before.  If you want to see my blog on my previous visits, check these out:

But I did wander across this old penitentiary was built in 1834 and operated until 2004.  It is being remodeled for use as a museum and currently they give limited tours.  Unfortunately, there were no tours on the day I was there.  I guess I now have a reason to return.  

Monday, December 29, 2014

Lucas Speedway in Wheatland, MO

A friend, Mike, was at the Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, MO, and we decided to give him a visit.

We were able to park beside Mike, inside the speedway grounds.  It made it very convenient access to the races.

These races were with wheels, instead, they were on the water. 

I think Mike calls these, sprints.  They aren't the big speeders that go 200mph, but they do reach speeds up to 80mph.

We were even close enough to wander into town every morning as we walked the dog.  They have a small settler's village in the city park.

When the boats weren't in the water, they were on display.

And this isn't just a boys sport anymore.

Thank you Mike for a great introduction to water races.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Battlefields, Bentonville and Eureka Springs

First stop after leaving Tahlequah, the Battlefield of Prairie Grove.   My great, great grandfather served with the Kansas Guard and from what I can find, fought in this battle.  After surviving the battle, he died at the Fayetteville hospital from what was probably appendicitis just several months later.
Interesting note, look at the date.  Dec 7th.  I wonder what it is about that date.

Not too far down the road was Bentonville and the Walmart Museum.  I thought it was interesting to find the Walton family hasn't really been directly involved in running the company for 20 years.  None of the Walton children followed their fathers footsteps as CEO, although some did work as VPs and were on the board.  So maybe, instead of blaming the Walton's for all of Walmart's problems, we should blame the stockholders and their greed since this is a publicly held company.

We ended the day at a RV park outside of Eureka Springs.

The site of the historic Southern Hotel.  The original wood structure was built in 1880.  Damaged in the fire of 1890, it was rebuilt and enlarged, even claiming an outdoor elevator.  It burnt to the ground in 1932 in a spectacular blaze.

The town was initially built around this spring, claimed to have healing waters.

Not only are there three flat iron buildings in this town, every street is built at a different level.  

We found a place to sit and listen to some local music.

Sitting on top of the cliffs, overlooking the town, is the Crescent Hotel, built in 1886.  It is again in operation today as a hotel, although it has seen itself as a school and even a hospital over the years.

Still very opulent, it is easy to see how this was a place for the rich and famous to come and experience the waters of this area.

This Seeburg H complete orchestration piano, was built in 1918.  There are only 25 left in existance.  This one even spent time at Walt Disney's Main Street before arriving here in 1997.

Max had just returned from Ireland, so he was happy to find this Irish bar.

The back wall is stone, which is actually built right into the hillside.

Across the street was another place we just had to check out.

Not only was there a bar, but a gift shop, hotel and restuarant.

History says it really was a cat house back in the day.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Tahlequah and Ft. Gibson

After 6 years of blogging, I guess I just needed a break.  It's been 6 months since my last blog.  But lately, I remembered these blogs are really for me, a journal of my travels, so I think I'm ready again to pick up where I last left off.

After my grandson's graduation from high school, I found myself back in Oklahoma City, visiting with my grandkids.
I always love taking the grandkids to the zoo.  It's my excuse for continuing to visit the zoo everytime I can.

My adopted granddaughters.  We met at the Oklahoma Science Museum for a day of exploration and fun.

The girls even got their picture taken with their favorite weatherman.

Back in Tahlequah, OK, I parked my RV out on my son's 40 acres.

I was surrounded by wild blackberries.

I picked this is just 10 minutes.  Many of the berries went to waste because they couldn't be reached.  My son cut down all the bushes this past fall and will start training them and replanting them when they come up next spring.  He thinks it might be a great opportunity for a blackberry farm.

This isn't a garage.  It's Fish's BBQ.  If you don't know where it's at, you won't find it.  No signs, no indications it is anything but a garage, but inside, it has the best BBQ around.  Max and I had dinner with my son and his family the night before we left for the summer.

A day of exploring took us to Ft. Gipson.  This is a reconstruction of the original fort, which was built in 1824 by the Army Infantry.

After numerous floods and rebuilding of the fort, the Army wisened up in 1845 and rebuilt the fort out of stone up on top of the hill.  This was the officers quarters and admin.

This was part of the old kitchen and bakery for the fort.  They still use the bakery in demonstrations several times a year.

I thought this was interesting.  Here, Oklahoma was Indian Territory and the first land run was yet to be, but they had telephones in the Cherokee Nation.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Joshua's Graduation

I traveled to Aurora, CO, for my grandson's high school graduation.  

There were tornado warnings for the first three days after I arrived.  Hey, I left Kansas and Oklahoma to get away from the tornadoes, what were they doing following me here?!

My son, Brian, had two truckloads of mulch delivered just days before the graduation party.  Thank goodness he had all these helpers to move the mulch out of the street.

But it started raining.  No seemed to mind, though, and they just kept on working.

They actually got all that mulch moved the first day and spread the second day.  It sure did look nice.

The kids live just a block from Aurora Lake and the 7.8 mile walking/bike trail which goes all the way around the lake.  I got out every morning for a 3.5 to 4.5 mile walk.  These prairie dogs chattered at me every morning.

This is the Joshua, who graduated with honors from Lutheran High School in Parker, CO. 

The throwing of the caps.

I'm very proud of this young man.  He will be going to Grand Canyon University next year.

Of course there was the graduation party.  It was quite an affair for both Joshua and his best friend, Ryan. 

When I first skydived back in 2008, I called all my grandkids and told them I would take them when they turned 18.  Well, Joshua is the first one to turn 18.  Skydiving was his graduation present from me.


I think he enjoyed it.  

I found this older picture of Joshua and me going sledding several years ago. 

Congratulations to my grandson, Joshua, for graduating from high school!