Sunday, August 28, 2011

Welcome to Missouriana - 3

As promised, today I want to take you to an unknown little town with one product that's known world-wide. But first, I would be remiss if I didn't add my concern for all those in the path of Irene. She's been a bad girl, raising cain from all those little island paradises all the way to Canada. Saying it could have been worse seems pretty trite, especially if you're one of those whose lives has been impacted by the storm. You have my full sympathy if you've suffered damage.
I debated whether to forego this post for a week, but felt it best to keep on carrying on. I carry on well, too, as my wife will attest if need be. We just returned from our weekend excursion to a nearby state park with our dogs. They look forward to the trip to Knob Noster State Park, where they often get to see deer, rabbits, squirrels, and lots of birds. People, too, mostly with their dogs. Its a great place to experience Missouri outdoors, with lots of walking trails as well as camping sites galore. For a tiny little park, it offers more than its share of outdoor living at its best.
Located a few blocks from Knob Noster, a tiny little town that has only one thing going for it other than the park, Whiteman AFB is the home of the B-2 bomber, the stealth bomber that has gained a world-wide reputation in recent years. You've probably never heard of Knob Noster before today, and I doubt you knew of this neat little park. But I daresay, if you've kept up with any of our war news, you have heard of this one-of-a-kind aircraft. There are other goings on at Whiteman, but if I told you about them, I'd have to hunt you down and kill you. LOL Suffice it to say that what goes on here affects our war efforts on a daily basis.
Hunting is not permitted at KNSP, either. You can fish in the lakes, walk the trails, camp and cook, walk your dogs. But leave your guns at home.
I'm posting some photos of the area for your enjoyment. The last one is not related to the park or the air base, but its that time of year, folks. This is when I cease being a benevolent purveyor of all things good and true, and turn to my 'real' identity. Have a look at my 'Nebras-kat'. Yep, I'm one of those pesky Husker fans who inhabit Husker World. We may not win every game, but we always exhibit the qualities of a winner. Don't ask how my little white kitty got those red eyes, though. I could tell you, but I'd have to hunt you down and kill you. LOL (again)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Missouriana Sunday:Week Two

Welcome back to all of you who were with me last week when we visited Blackwater, Missouri, and a hearty welcome to you who are visiting this site for the first time. This week, we're going to drive a few miles closer to the Missouri River, to a small village that boasted a thousand inhabitants in the middle of the nineteenth century. Now, a modest home of less than a hundred, it is still one of the more famous tourists stops in mid-Missouri. We're going to visit Arrow Rock, originally named Philadelphia but renamed almost immediately for its most famous treasure; a river bluff comprised almost entirely of flint rock that has been used for the making of tools and weapons for a millennium.
Sitting above the Missouri River at a spot where the Arrow Rock Ferry used to carry Santa Fe Trail passengers across the big muddy, today's town is all about bed and breakfast lodging, antique and collectible bartering, and tourist traffic. The entire village has been on the National Registry of Historic Sites since the early nineteen sixties.
Shortly after that, it was used as the setting for the filming of Mark Twain's popular book, Tom Sawyer. The home that sported the white picket fence the protagonist schemed to get whitewashed still stands in the middle of the town, though that fence is now state of the art plastic. I guess nobody is gullible enough to volunteer to whitewash it these days.
Drive further down the main street and, on the left a block away, you'll see the most famous attraction in Arrow Rock; the Lyceum Theater. The Lyceum is the only professional playhouse between St. Louis and Kansas City, giving a five month season of productions by prominent actors and crews every year. The house seats just over four hundred patrons and is booked solid play after play, year after year. Quite an accomplishment for a village of only forty five full time residents, with another thirty three who live there part of the year.
I hope you enjoy the photos we've taken of some of the houses in town. And if you're ever in mid-Missouri, you might want to drive down Highway 41 and spend a little time in Arrow Rock. One word of caution; When you drive down the main street, be careful if you turn off onto a side street. There are rock-lined ditches that make the transition a bumpy one. Maybe that's where some of that flint ended up. LOL
Next week, we're going to take my dogs for a walk in a tiny but scenic State Park. Meanwhile, happy reading, everybody.
Pat Dale

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A New Direction

I'm all smiles. The heat has finally broken here, and the weather the last few days is more than welcome. Sorry, for those of you who are still suffering from the summer blahs. While taking our dogs for their customary weekend treks to some of our state parks, it hit me how very fortunate I am to live in the midst of scenic beauty that has withstood the test of time.
While contemplating my good fortune, I recalled an idea I had several years ago. There are many little spots here that draw tourists year after year, but also some that are not on the beaten trail. A few, known mostly by those who live nearby, deserve a bit of attention.
So, in the days and weeks ahead, I'm dedicating this blog to a combination of photos and narrative that will introduce you to my world. I ask you to bear with me, as this is my first attempt to mix photos and text on this blog; an adventure in progress. LOL
My first trek is to a town by a seldom used railroad, a meandering river, and the ghosts of glory days past; Blackwater, Missouri. There are buildings left there that echo those ghosts, but also a few hardy souls remain to handle the constant influx of wanderers, who mostly arrive (and leave) in the summer. The old Iron Horse Hotel still accomodates folks, operating as a bed and breakfast these days. It's called Iron Horse because it sits beside the train station at the edge of town. Once an establishment where my wife and I dined on fine cuisine, it is another reminder of days past.
Speaking of my wife, Patricia's dad once was Blackwater's town marshall. The fact that he was six feet six, and weighed a hefty three hundred pounds of pure muscle probably factored in the town's decision to let him ride herd on the rowdy crowd that filled the town night after night. I'm told things quieted down a lot after Red Stoecker laid the law down; and I have it on good authority that he laid a few of those rowdies right on their skinny bottoms, too. (good thing he and I got along well, huh?)
Oh, yeah. That meandering river is the Blackwater, and it still gives the locals fits when it floods. Good thing Blackwater (the town) is on the high side of Blackwater (the river). So, if you're ever coming down I-70 in western Missouri, look for the Blackwater turnoff. It's a few miles west of Pilot Grove, and an easy three miles north. For those of you who fancy antiques, that is the major industry of quaint, colorful, but almost left behind Blackwater, Missouri.
That's it for this time around. Next week, a visit to a town that has been the setting for a movie, and not just any movie, but a film recreation of Missouri's most famous author. Stay tuned. PD