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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Labor Day weekend

What do you have planned for Labor Day weekend?

September is a travel month for me with three conferences so we decided to stay home this weekend. I plan to shoot lots of pictures and try to capture the beauty of the unusually green August & September. Missouri and Kansas dries up with the heat of summer and you typically see little green but the rains and cool temperatures this year have created a photographer's delight.

I love the new bailed golden hay on a green field. I don't remember seeing that in August. The heat is back so I think the days of green may be limited. A few of the trees are already shedding a few leaves. In a few weeks, the landscape will wear a new wardrobe of yellow, red, orange and brown.

For now I'm enjoying the green.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Missouri Getaways

Missouri State Penitentiary
If you're looking for a last minute Missouri getaway this weekend, lots of options await you.

Missouri State Capitol
How about a trip to the state capitol in Jefferson City? Visit the museum and learn Missouri history. If you're looking for a little more excitement, take a ghost tour at the Missouri State Penitentiary.

Whatever you do, if you're in Jefferson City, don't miss a visit to the Central Dairy. Any treat you order will be scrumptious.

If you'd rather experience the outdoors, visit Bennett Spring State Park near Lebanon, Missouri. Try your luck at trout fishing or take a fly-tying class.

While you're in Lebanon, retrace historic Route 66. The Munger Moss Motel and Mr. C's Route 66 Post will bring history to life. Visit The Route 66 Museum in the Lebanon library.
An alpaca

Have you ever visited an alpaca farm? Check out the Whirlwind Ranch near Lebanon. Take your camera and capture a face you won't forget.

Links to check out:

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Red Engine Press title, Windshift, wins Silver Medal

Nine years ago, I met Joyce Faulkner at a book fair in St. Louis. We soon joined forces and I merged my little company, River Road Press, into Red Engine Press.

Since then, we've published numerous books, worked with talented writers, editors and illustrators. We've worked hard trying to keep abreast of the ever-changing publishing industry.

This year, it's all coming together. We have two new books that will be published: Firehammer by Ric Hunter and Sal by Anna Marie Gire.

We have books in progress by Linda Swink and Louis Intres.

Joyce is a finalist for Author of the Year from MWSA (Military Writers Society of America). Two of my books, Famous Dogs and Grand Slam Grooming Dogs Speak Out, are finalists in the Young Adult category from MWSA.

Today we're cerebrating the announcement that Joyce's historical novel, Windshift, received a Silver Medal from the Global EBook Awards. This is a huge contest and we feel honored.

Windshift is the story of the WASP (Women Air Service Pilots) of WWII told through the eyes of four young women who share in the challenges that face them and the adventure they love.

Joyce and I are both grinning from ear to ear tonight!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

I'm missing the south Texas coast and the cornucopia of photo ops it offers.

However, the sunshine lured me today after a week of rain. Although it's August and the Midwest is usually burned up and dry, the recent rains have greened everything. Wildflowers look fresh.

No deer nor foxes showed their faces but the moths and bees were enjoying the flowers.

Mid-day sun is not the best for taking photographs but the effort relaxed and motivated me. The only critter that showed his face was a squirrel and he stopped to pose for a shot. I had been on a little-used road, hadn't seen a car for 30 minutes but wouldn't you know, as soon as I focused on the little guy, four cars drove by. Bye-bye squirrel.

We didn't get the flooding, just about six or seven inches of rain over the week. Of course that means the grass needs mowing.

In the meantime, Mother Nature is gracing us with beauty and color.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Columbia River Gorge

Latourell Falls
The Columbia River Gorge is sure to awe even the most travel-weary visitor. Its scenic river, lush trees, massive waterfalls and mountains easily put me on sensory overload.

I wasn't sure whether to simply gawk at the grandeur or grab my camera again. I tried to do both. Our friend, Jim Alexander, wanted to show us his part of the world. His pride in it is well-deserved.

"For years, I hiked up here. I'll show you some of my favorite spots," Jim told us.

Wahkeena Falls
Every bit of scenery is luxurious. Maybe it's the rainfall and the amount of oxygen from the trees but the world is spectacular from every view. We left early in the morning because of an afternoon flight home. It turned out to be a blessing - high tourist season and we practically had the road to ourselves the first couple of hours.

The morning fog from the Pacific still blanketed the sky as we drove up the Oregon side of the Columbia to Hood River. Our first stop was Latourell Falls where I oohed and aahed and took lots of photos. It's impossible to catch the majesty of the falls but so much fun to try. 

Multnomah Falls
"Wait. You haven't seen anything yet," Jim said. We enthusiastically jumped back in the car. We next stopped at Wahkeena Falls. Trees hid the falls more here but the rocky landscape added character. The fog was beginning to lift so the photos were fun.

"Wait," Jim told us again. He practically bounced with his love of the region. I already understood why.

Multnomah Falls is fantastic. It's a double set of falls with a scenic bridge looking over the pool created by the upper falls.

"See that ledge up there?" Jim pointed to the upper falls.


Bridge of the Gods
"That's where I used to sit, have a snack and watch the falls," he said. "I hiked in about 5 miles to get to that spot. There's a trail..." he continued.

Our next stop was at Horsetail Falls, then on to the Bridge of the Gods at the Cascade Locks. This is the third oldest bridge on the Columbia River. It has an interesting history. A natural bridge was formed by the Bonneville landslide years ago. The Native Americans called it the Bridge of the Gods.

Then we stopped at the Bonneville Dam spillway and visited the Fish Hatchery.

Chinook Salmon at hatchery
By the time we reached Hood River and the Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum (WAAAM), we only had an hour before we needed to head back.

The museum is a story in itself so check back.