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Rolling along Highway 50 and the Arkansas, gazing westward toward the Collegiate Peaks. With soaring granite walls and the steady rush of the river, this drive is one of our favorite excursions, putting Colorado’s full glory on display: sun, stone, water, sky!

In the awe of people doing what they truly love category: despite what I imagine to be rather frigid temperatures, we spied many a fisher in chest waders out on the water.

Wet Mountains

The sky put on quite the light show as we headed south!

The Mellow Moon was our cozy landing spot, an easy walk to delicious eats at Raisin’ Rye (cinnamon roll, jalapeno & sausage kolache, almond croissant!!), Three Barrel Brewing (Firecracker Pizza, honey kolsch!!), and Chavolos Mexican (carnitas, chile relleno!!). Oh, and a giant-wonderful jar of honey and a bar of bee pollen soap at Haefelis!

It was an equally easy amble from the Mellow Moon to the Rio Grande and all the small town charm. Some large beast, a deer or elk, we guessed, left ample evidence of a hearty roll in the snow. Juniper could not help but to follow suit!

Horizontal snow…

Our trip on Friday was a leisurely three hours, including a stop in Canon City for Indian food at Nirvana and another for marijuana treats in Salida. We are very infrequent flyers and found ourselves agog at the choices! Greg got some Bliss Drops to, as the kindly salesperson put it, have the the equivalent of “three glasses of wine without needing to pee!” I chose Wyld Peach gummies for my annoying migraines. As luck (???) would have it, I did get a migraine while in Del Norte. I could not have been happier. I suffered no headache pain. Woot!

Sunday started as a rather gorgeous, snow coated morning. We made no tracks to rush while still getting on the road at nine. After breakfast in Alamosa (nothing remarkable, sadly), the skies turned, and we inched along in whiteout conditions up and over La Veta Pass (La Veta Loca, as the hubster put it), adding two hours to our normal trip length. Luckily it was beautiful, and there was only one jerk on the road, so it was all good in the end. Life as it should be.

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We made a quick-ish lunch stop in Wichita, noshing at the very good Meddys, getting Juniper’s wiggles out, and buying more than we ought at the Nifty Nut House. Eeek, so much fun candy and nuts, of course. Yum!

Ness County Court House
The Ness County Bank Building – completed in 1890
N E O N ! !
Now that’s a tire!!

Hiya! We are on the home stretch now. Ness City was our final night away from home, and it was a sweet treat. A tiny plains town, with a couple of architectural gems, and that light! We were treated to a beautiful sunset and sunrise.

While I was taking the photo just above, I heard a cracking sound in the field next to me. When I finally got a bead on the source, I saw the most beautiful buck with an enormous set of antlers hopping over corn that was well over four feet tall! We shared an eye-to-eye moment before he bounded off in the opposite direction. Oh, nature…

The Sunflower State lives up to its moniker! Goodness, what a feeling to behold such cheer as far as the eye could see.

I think, above all, on this trip, I experienced at true sense of the MAGICAL: in visiting such beautiful places; in seeing, touching, and smelling where my ancestors lived; in experiencing nature in such glory. How very lucky I am!


Juniper wonders about the wildlife at our cabin near French Village
This and the one above were taken in the wee hours of morning, during a most fantastic lightning storm!
We’ve never seen so many off road vehicles zooming about!

After the rush of cars and people in the big cities, with Juniper wildly panting, and our lips, hands, and legs slick with moisture, we were happy for a bit of country respite.

Everywhere: leaf, needle, and blade, all along the spectrum of GREEN.

Our resting place was tucked down a hill and distant enough from the road to obscure nearly every human sound. Only occasionally did we hear a plane, quite a few times a gun (it was the Ozarks, after all), the rustle of gray squirrel from on high in the trees, and silent, but ever present, the flitting of more swallowtails and dragonflies than we’ve ever witnessed.

On our one full day at the cabin, the heat was mercifully diminished by a night of storms and whipping wind, all to the wink of fireflies and flash of lightning. And so we loitered: on the deck, mostly daydreaming, hammock napping, often reading, and sometimes walking loops about the property. Juniper kept her nose high, catching every scent, with us admiring a meringue fluff of clouds while a surprisingly cool breeze brushed our cheeks. In a word: MAGICAL!


St. Charles is on the way to St. Louis, sitting along the banks of the Big Muddy itself. Fantastic structures line the historic old town and have been lovingly transformed into charming shops and restaurants of every description. The wooden building was Missouri’s original State Capitol.

We made the Benton Park neighborhood our home this leg of the trip, with gorgeous, mansard topped brick buildings galore, however absent from this photo. The subtle glow of lights emanates from tasty Peacemaker. Top notch cocktails and seafood, stellar hush puppies, too!

This is the old Falstaff Brewery, just around the corner from our digs. It is HUGE and for sale! If you have millions and millions, do please consider making something wonderful with it.

St. Agnes Church – for you, Aunt Mary

How about this to mark your address? The coolest in St. Louis!

steel origami

The Missouri Botanical Garden is probably the largest I’ve visited, and, as one would expect, pretty darn magical! A heaven-scented oasis.

If you’re a peanut lover, as I am, please give a hearty nod of appreciation to George Washington Carver, who, besides Jimmy Carter – maybe, did more for the precious legume than anybody. He was also a thoughtful human being and ahead of his time. He is the genius behind the advent of crop rotation!

the stumpery
Chihuly, of course
More Chihuly

We enjoyed a fabulous lunch at Salt + Smoke BBQ after our botanical wander. Good golly was it great!

Mansard roof & classic bicycle. It’s like someone knew I wanted a photo.

The Gateway Arch is every bit as gorgeous and majestic as I hoped it would be. At 640 feet, it’s a long way up, too! Additionally, the city mandates no structure can rise above it. Very apropos.

Old Courthouse
The 19th Century Eads Bridge – the first Steel Truss in the world, and the Martin Luther King just beyond.

At Cahokia Mounds – a long abandoned Native American City, estimated to have 40-50,000 inhabitants (between 1100 – 1350), and structural marvel, where millions of tons of earth was dug to create more than 50 earthen mounds. The view of St. Louis is from Monk’s Mound, the largest in the complex and the largest mound north of Mexico.

I love thinking on what this place looked like and how the people lived. What rich history can be found just about anywhere!

A slice of summer at Russell’s. Sweet perfection.

The world is your gym, peeps!


Good early morning outside Limon, Colorado! I love how each squiggle has a near identical shape; light is such a wonder. The first day of our trip had the longest drive, so we arose at 4:00 in hopes of arriving in Kansas City by the early afternoon.

Sunrise over the clouds!

Breakfast in Hays, Kansas, carefully observed by the neighborhood Mississippi Kite. A first sighting for us!

West Plaza, our Kansas City neighborhood, had a robot mural and Donutology, who had goodness of every stripe and a treat for our favorite four-legger! Walk up and enjoy. There was also Nature’s Own, a fab grocery, where I spied someone who looked an awful lot like one of our favorite produce guys at New Seasons in Portland. And whaddya know, it WAS him. We shared a laugh and an it’s a small world moment before learning he left Portland the same year we did. Good to see you, David!

Kansas City, as you well know, is shared by two states, and West Plaza lies just over the very fluid border. Here I am, taking full advantage on State Line Road, feet firmly planted in Kansas AND Missouri! Just up the road lies the launching point for both the Oregon and Santa Fe Trails. How cool is that?!

Kansas City has a wealth of fabulous murals!

Country Club Plaza is a dazzle of Spanish Inspired architecture, with many a great shop, including Made in KC, where we bought t-shirts, hats, Reunion Rye Whiskey, BBQ sauce, even honey. Such fun!

Roxy Paine, Ferment
framed by
Henry Moore, Large Torso Arch
Ursula von Rydingsvard, Three Bowls

My faithful companions and I enjoyed a crotch-pot cooking hot stroll about the Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park. Westerners accustomed to the high desert, we expected some mid-west discomfort in Missouri, but there was a heat wave, and 97 degrees with 65% humidity was, even for locals, a LOT. This gives you a hint at my anxiety about traveling in a tornado prone place. August is traditionally the quietest month for them. Thank the maker for air conditioning, yessir.

Claes Oldenburg, Shuttlecock
Robert Morris, Labyrinth

The Art Course, high class putt-putt in and amongst the sculptures! We did not partake (no pups allowed), but it sure looked fun.

Judith Shea, Storage

World War I Memorial – it is a stunner.

Tall, very tall.

Downtown Kansas City is quite good looking.

Our get up and go before the dog dies of heat stroke walk along Brush Creek was quite pretty. Actually, the whole city is lovely. We didn’t expect it to be so much so, to be honest – tree and flower filled and oh so hilly. Dang America, you really are ALL THAT.

Greg gets up close and personal at the National Museum of Toys and Miniatures. I just about lost my marbles when I learned such an institution exists. I mean seriously, the two together!! Oh, and speaking of marbles, they have their own exhibit there. Of course they do.

Just one of the fabulous rooms and my personal favorite because architecture, peeps, architecture. The artistry is simply amazing. Every manner of miniature was on display, including animals, Native American Arts, paintings, dolls, fully electrified chandeliers, and chests of drawers as big as my thumb. Truly awe inspiring!

The toys of my childhood! Eeek….
The giant spinning toy display. Love is not too strong a word. Not at all.

And now, for more adult pursuits. Our time in fabulous Kansas City over, we headed east, with a stop in Hermann, Missouri. There are scads of wineries, but we chose Hermannhof to visit before enjoying a very German lunch at the Wurst House. Fun people, yummy wine, delicious food.

Goodbye Hermann! Off to St. Louis….


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