From Nebraska to Kansas to Missouri, I’ve seen a lot of big sky, fallow fields, and thunderstorms. And now I know you can have a Tornado Warning, A Severe Thunderstorm Warning, and a Flood Warning all at the same time. I’m not sure I needed to know that but now I do. Let’s recap my mad dash across Tornado country:
Wed: Made it to the geographic center of the USA and have the photo to prove it. It is really in the middle of nowhere, 4 miles north of two-lane highway near the small burg of Lebanon, KS.
Spent the night at Lovewell State Park, KS, where I waited out the storm for this shot.
Thu-Sat: Lewis and Clark State Park, MO, which had a cool marsh and an oxbow lake.
Sun: Arrow Rock State Park, MO, with a beautiful hiking trail down to the Missouri River.
Mon-Tue: Babler Memorial State Park, MO (it was either raining or I was gone, so I actually didn’t take pictures or really spend much time here).
Wed: Ramsey Lake State Park, IL, where I have a beautiful lake view out my front window. It’s times like these I really appreciate the ability to spin my little trailer around using the Caravan Mover so I get a great view!
Yep, 8 nights across 3 states and 5 places. The crazy travel ends tomorrow when I hunker down for Memorial Day weekend at a friend’s place not far across the IL/IN state line. I learned last year that Memorial Day is not the place to be at a big park.
As part of my 2017 tour theme, Reconnecting with Friends, I met up with my buddy Larry on Saturday and we toured Leavenworth, Kansas searching for magnets and postcards. We’ve seen each other mostly when both in the DC area for work, so it was fun to meet in the middle of nowhere (which is pretty much what western Missouri felt like to me). And then in Saint Louis, I had a wonderful dinner and conversation with old running friends, Tracey and Adrienne.
Also while in the Saint Louis area, I fit in a few hours between rainshowers at the Missouri Botanical Garden, a truly beautiful place with a wonderful glass exhibit. You’ll see more in Friday’s post, so here’s a teaser for that:
On my evening walk here at Ramsey Lake, I went down a path to the earthen and brick dam at the south end. Walked out to the middle to get a good view of the lake and realized after a few minutes that there were probably a dozen vultures circling over me. What?!? I watched them soar on the wind, slide into one of the trees for a rest, and then come back out. Still kind of circling me. So I retreated to my trailer, content to watch them from a much safer distance. These things kill calves and cows around here, according to the local news.
In happier bird news this week, I saw a cardinal in Saint Louis (how appropriate if you’re a baseball fan), and several yellow warblers, and a few red-headed woodpeckers. Heard mockingbirds and carolina wrens, but they were harder to spot. I also saw, fleetingly, a greenish-blue small bird that looked like iridescent green, but so far no luck identifying it.
You know, Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.
(Yeah, I’ve been waiting *weeks* to use that quotation…)