Sunday, May 30, 2010


The WINs spent a week in Columbia, MO, following the Missouri River and the Lewis and Clark Trail. We were supposed to stay in a campground right along the river, but it was flooded, so we all piled into the local Elks Lodge. What an accommodating group they were!

Last weekend, we went to the Best of Missouri Life Festival in nearby Boonville, a celebration of wines, food, art, music and cultural heritage of the state.

Daniel Boone, on the left, was there, along with his friend, whose name I forgot.

The best part of the festival was the "Food and Wine Pairings." I went to the one with free pork sliders made by local chef.

And to go along with the sliders, a perfect local wine, also free!

In the middle of town is the old Cooper County jail and hanging barn. Built in 1848, it was actually used until 1978, when a federal court declared it "cruel and unusual punishment."

It's not hard to see why - yuch! It's most famous inmate was Frank James, brother of Jesse. Sympathetic citizens raised his bail in a matter of hours, and his case was dismissed for lack of evidence.

And no festival in Missouri is complete without at least one Clydesdale in attendance. These horses are so big, I guess you need a ladder to mount one.

They are 16-18 hands high at the "withers," where the neck meets the back. That's about 5 1/2 - 6 feet.

Columbia is sometimes called "College Town USA," because it is the home of the University of Missouri. Founded in 1839, it was the first public university west of the Mississippi River.

These 6 columns are all that remain from the main building, Academic Hall, which burned in 1892.

Makes a great sunbathing spot, I guess.

Nearby is Thomas Jefferson's original tombstone from 1833, that was at his grave at Monticello. It suffered so much damage from people chipping off pieces for souveniers, that it was taken off display after only a couple of years, and replaced by a sturdier marker.

The original was donated to the University of Missouri in 1885. Notice that Jefferson's epitaph, which he wrote himself, says nothing about his being President of the United States.

Jefferson was an incredible person in our history, and definitely my favorite president.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Up River to Jefferson City

Jefferson City was chosen early as the capital of Missouri, with the first capitol building being completed in 1826.

The present capitol building was completed in 1917. It is the third one built, the first two having been destroyed by fire. It sits atop a hill and is visible for miles around.

The inside is just magnificent.

Apparently after the latest capitol was built, there was $1 million left over, so artists were hired to paint pictures of early Missouri life.

The bottom floor contains a museum of Missouri history.

And there are statues throughout the building of famous people from the state. This is Betty Grable.

Next to the capitol is the Governor's Mansion. It was built in 1871 at a cost of $75,000.

This very selective Mourning Dove certainly has the best home for her family, right on the governor's front porch.

We lined up for a tour. Uh-oh! It was Fourth-graders tour day.

The tours were conducted by docents in old-time dresses. This screen was used by women as a shield from the heat of the fireplace so that their waxy makeup wouldn't melt.

The tour was of the first floor. The governor and his family live on the upper two floors.

The walls of the first floor are covered with painted portraits of all the Missouri First Ladies.

The most striking interior feature is the free-standing Grand Stairway carved out of walnut.

And don't forget to look up - the ceilings are elaborately painted and trimmed with real 23-carat goldleaf.

After our tour, we went to Clark's Hill, where Lewis and Clark stayed June 1-2, 1804. Clark climbed the 100-foot hill and found Indian burial mounds.

Then we all went back to town and had a very nutritious lunch.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sixteen Million Cans of Beer

That's how many cans of beer the Anheuser-Busch plant in St Louis can make in one day! They give a great free tour, with free samples, so off we went.

The Clydesdales were there to welcome us.

The Brewhouse, with its beautiful clock tower, was built in 1891.

On the tour we saw lovely stained class windows, chandeliers, and old restored wagons.

Each line can produce 1,950 cans of beer a MINUTE! They were doing bottles the day we were there, and they were just flying by.

The brew kettles are where hops are added in the process. To see all the steps, go here and click on each tab under "Brewing Process."

These are the beechwood chips used to provide the beechwood aging unique to Anheuser-Busch.

The chips and yeast are added to the beer in these fermentation tanks to completely ferment the beer. The process takes up to 6 days.

I'm sorry I didn't get any pictures of the free samples, but I did get a picture of Kasey Kahne's racing uniform. I was really hoping HE would be there!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

I Really Love Zoos!

And the St Louis Zoo is a great one. Besides that, it's free!

I was wondering how it could be free, since they obviously must pay these animals to pose. These two little penguins were so cooperative!

The flamingos were so colorful, I thought they must have fed them food coloring.

And look at this peacock, parading around just so everyone would take his picture.

Wow! About this time I was wishing I had brought a bigger camera. All I had was my little Canon SD940IS, but I was pleasantly surprised with the pictures I got.

Mama sea otter with her baby were very cute.

And in case you forgot how babies are made, the Drawf Mongooses were there to demonstrate.

The Great Hornbill is the ultimate parent. The female seals herself inside a hollow trunk with her chick for 4 months, depending on her man to feed her and her baby.

The Amur Leopard is critically endangered.

And this is the strangest thing I saw - a Giant Anteater about 3 feet high, who laps up 35,000 ants and termites a day! I wonder how the zoo gets them.

The aquarium seemed a little crowded.

My favorite thing was the Butterfly Pavilion. Wow! I could stay here all day taking pictures.

This is an Owl Butterfly. The giant "eye" helps protect it from predators.

They had helpful cheat sheets so you could identify the different kinds of butterflies. This guy was trying to figure out what he was.

They even had a Butterfly Nursery.

One very different thing that this zoo had was an opportunity to pet and feed the stingrays. You put a piece of fish in your palm and the stingrays slurped it up. One tried to slurp up my finger.