Photo Taken in Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween, everyone!

I owe the first two to Granny Mountain, one of my favorite blogs.  They are so funny!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Saint Charles

I promised to write an entry and share my photos of Saint Charles, Missouri, just outside of Saint Louis, after making a quick visit on my trip to pick up Hawthorn, my sweet Ragdoll kitten, who is doing wonderfully.  She is so full of fun and energy.

Saint Charles is old, so old in fact it is the oldest city on the Missouri River, the third oldest city west of the Mississippi and one of the original five counties of Missouri.   It's been settled since 1769 and interestingly, it was Missouri's first state capital and home to the first railroad bridge to span the Missouri River.  It's been hit by tornadoes and floods and survived beautifully.  It's been home to Daniel Boone and it was the starting point for the infamous journey of Lewis and Clark.

Being located on the Missouri River is of particular interest to me because I'm drawn to towns located on the banks of rivers.  They're something special and it's a great place to spend time and to walk or run.  When I lived in Parkville, another Missouri town situated along the Missouri River, but on the opposite side of the state being next to Kansas City, I used to run the riverside trails in pretty English Landing Park.

I was fortunate to see Main Street firsthand after seeing it on the Internet several different times.  The 13-block stretch can't be done justice via pictures.  It's something to see.  It reminds me of Massachusetts Avenue in Lawrence, KS in the sense of the length.  There's not many cities and towns that can boast such impressively long downtown main streets.  I'd say the architecture in Saint Charles is far more impressive though and makes much more of a statement.  It's very reminiscent of Boston.  One thing I've always liked about Saint Louis is its similarity to New England and the East Coast.  I adore these architectural building styles; if it were possible to stand in one spot for all eternity, I'd do it around architecture like this.

Saint Charles is home to one of the nation's largest Christmas festivals.  There's a museum for Lewis and Clark as well as the home Boone shared with his family.  Suffice it to say, there are so many festivals, fairs, events and places to visit, I may just come back and write another post detailing all there is to see and do in Saint Charles.  If you'd like to dive right in, I suggest the Saint Charles pages on as an easy-to-read guide.

I'll be back to take more pictures.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Missouri's Capitol in Jefferson City

I've traveled 48 states and I grew up in two capital cities and seen a good many of the others, but funny enough, I'd never seen Missouri's capital of Jefferson City.  Here's some shots of the capitol building taken with my new JVC Everio GZ-HD500, which I absolutely love.  Now I've got that clear JVC quality which I so missed.  I sold my Sony Handycam on eBay to a buyer in Brazil, so good-bye irksome pictures.

The journey to pick up my precious Ragdoll, Hawthorn, resulted in a return trip via Highway 54.  When I looked at the map, I saw that 54 cut right down to the Ozarks from I-70 quite nicely.  It's a road I've not been on before, so bonus, plus it covered three places I've never been, but have wanted to see:  Jeff City, Osage Beach and Buffalo.  I've seen Lake of the Ozarks before, but always from Highway 13 when I'd come down from Kansas City, which is the very western edge and not the true heart of it.

I really enjoyed the ride down 54 and it's a highway I want to do a lot more exploring on.  There's a lot to see along it.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Welcome Hawthorn!

This is Hawthorn, my new Ragdoll kitten from Saint Louis.  I just went and picked her up on Tuesday.  She is so sweet and cute.  She bounces everywhere and loves to chase balls across the floor.  She sits on my lap and sleeps with me, which is just what I wanted.  She is the top right kitty in the first photo and the one climbing out of the basket in the second photo.  I named her after the Missouri state flower.  If you want your own Ragdoll, visit GloryBeRagdolls.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

View to the Lake

The view to the lake from the house is opening up now that leaves have started falling.  I even took this shot inside.

I finally got fed up with my Sony Handycam, even though I've always had a soft spot for Sony.  Perhaps it's because mine is standard definition.  If I can't get over my Sony fixation, I'll give high definition a try someday after I ensure via YouTube that a high definition takes good videos first.

But for right now, I went after a brand that I know has sharp and clear photos and videos, JVC.  In my search for a JVC, I got a little crazy and once I started shopping, I just couldn't stop, so I ended up with three different camcorders.  Keep in mind one only cost $10 and the other one wasn't too pricy either.

I'll introduce them all individually.  This particular photo was taken with my ematic eCAM.  It's a pocket camcorder that is super simple to use and takes great photos and videos.  I'm very impressed.  Now if you go shopping for one, watch out.  I've seen the prices range all over the place.  I found mine via Amazon for a nice and comfortable $34.95, brand new, free shipping and with everything you need to go with it.

I'm very happy with this camera and its design, so you'll be seeing more from it.  If you'd like to see the ematic eCAM and watch the video that convinced me of its quality, I've included the link.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Old Y-Bridge in Galena

The cool old Y-Bridge in Galena, MO is off Highway 248/265/413, which is just one road.  The bridge closed in 1986 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  It crosses the James River and opened the year my sweet Mom was born in 1927.  It got its name from its shape.  It does look just like a Y.  It allowed drivers leaving Galena heading east to cross the James River and to make either a left and go north or a right and go south onto then Highway 43/44, now 248/265/413.

Here we have each end of the bridge.

I got a few shots from above of the beautiful underlying structure.  When I return, I will indeed be taking the gravel drive down to the river's edge so that I can capture the bridge from below.

Here's the James River to the south.

And to the north.

You'll notice a train trestle to the south and the current highway bridge in operation for 248/265/413 to the north.  Now I know we came to the Y-Bridge on this same highway, so talk about confusing.  Keep in mind that the highway comes to a T just a bit up the road from the Y-Bridge, so it runs both north/south and east/west.  At the T intersection, you can go right and take 176 and head east or you can take a left and continue on 248/265/413 to the west.

And the James River shore.

And the neverending Ozark hills.

And here's the infamous Y.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Autumn Images

Here's a photo I took today while exploring the old Y-Bridge in Galena. In the last few days, seasonal colors have really become apparent on all of the hills.  I've got quite a few photos that I need to go through for the Y-Bridge and when I'm done, I'll post them.  I did put up my first YouTube video of a walk across the bridge from one end to the other and it includes the James River.

I finally got fed up with the lack of quality, so I'm learning how to use the advanced features on my Sony Handycam DCR-SX40, so you should see my photos increase in quality over time.  I did discover the Picture Motion Browser (PMB) software and now I can do an Autocorrect that makes a difference.

For instance, here's a photo before and after Autocorrect.

It really brings out the depth of colors while staying true, and sharpens it up quite a bit.  I would rather be able to do this on the camera itself when the photo is first shot rather than doctoring them up afterwards, which feels wrong somehow.  I'm just hoping there's something I can learn to get the colors, focus and sharpness a lot better from the get go because the dark faded colors and fuzziness in my photos are really bugging the heck out of me.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Foggy Morning Video

The fog is so pretty this morning.  I've always liked fog.  Here's a very short little video.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Rural Novelties

I opened the mailbox today and saw this blue plastic Package Marker.  I read it and turned it over in my hand.  Hmm, this is a first, I thought, certainly a new one on me.  I wonder what this is all about.

I know I've never seen one of these before, have you?  Don't you just love the little guy driving the mailbox and the birds flying around?  Chuckle, chuckle.  I also love, "Please Return to Mail Carrier."

For you former urbanites, what rural novelties can you share that you never encountered until moving to the countryside?