Saturday, March 31, 2012

Late Night Posting

Okay, here I am. 10:30 at night and just now making my daily post. Hey, I can't help it. I've been one busy gal today. Besides being Mommy all day, I made my purchase of garden plantings for the year. My front two flower beds will be full of colorful beauties and the hubby planted the vegetable garden with cucumbers, squash, watermelon (my fav!), okra, green beans, and maters (of course). We do this every year. Till the garden, make straight lines and beautiful hills and plant tons of stuff and usually it bombs. We still do it every year. One of these times we have to get it right. Right?

Tonight we spent time with Hubby's family doing the grill thing. What summer day doesn't deserve a charcoal-grilled dinner? In case you don't know the correct answer, it's NONE!

I hope you got to enjoy this day and are thankful for all God has blessed you with. Be sure to see me tomorrow when I am going to release my Sunday Funday plans! Sleep tight, The Gravel-Roadin' Guru, Pan

Friday, March 30, 2012

Festival Friday

Oh Friday, sweet Friday. Bring on the weekend! After a long work week (I put in 4 shifts instead of my usual 3. And no, 3 shifts isn't lazy-I work 12 hour shifts!), I am so ready to get this weekend started. I think I can honestly declare myself a summerholic. And I'm proud of it! I've decided I need a job that allows me to have off during the summer. If you hear of anything, let me know!

Last week for Festival Friday, we featured the Hermann Wurstfest. Did anybody get down there and eat sausage and watch the weiner derby? We want to hear your stories if you did. For today's Festival Friday, we've got several to-do's around Missouri. If equine-stuff is your forte, Missouri has got the weekend just for you! In Boone County (Columbia), the Maple Leaf Quarter Horse Show will be at the fairgrounds all weekend. If you're going to be down around Springfield, you can hit up the Horsefest at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds located at 3001 N Grant Ave. The Horsefest features demonstrations, horses on display, and they boast "hundreds" of equine exhibits. This event is daily all weekend from 8:30-5. Last but definitely not least, if you want some major horse action, head to the Sprint Center in Kansas City where the PBR (that stands for Professional Bull Riding if you've been living under a rock for several years) will be for the 11th annual Kansas City Invitational.

Now, for something that sounds kid-friendly and fun to me, Springfield is also hosting the Cherry Blossom Kite Festival in honor of the opening of the Japanese Garden (for the season) at the Botanical Center located at 2400 S Scenic. This event is Saturday only, starting at 11am and ending a short 4 hours later at 3pm. Questions can be phoned to 417-891-1515. If you don't know what a cherry blossom is, I've stolen a picture from the net for you. They are gorgeous trees, I believe to be indiginous to Japan. The trees were brought to the US from Japan in 1912 (a gift of 3,000 to be exact), and planted in Washington DC by First Lady Taft and a Japanese ambassador's wife. From there, it just blossomed. Get it! Ha!

For all you history enthusiasts, you need to get to Branson. On Sunday, the Centennial History Museum opens downtown and then all weekend, "Branson Salutes Vietnam Veterans". For all the info for the veterans, see or call 417-230-2278.

Get outside Missouri! I know I will. Until tomorrow, Pan

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Trail Thoughts

Afternoon Missouri! Hope everybody's  day has been swell so far. Mine is just getting started (worked last night and again tonight). Well, yesterday we talked about Ha Ha Tonka State Park down by Camdenton (Lake of the Ozarks area). After I posted, I spent a little more time researching the area. I had no idea how many trails this park has! There are 14 different trails ranging from 0.2 miles to 6.5 miles so really there's something for everybody. I'm excited! Hope you all can come join me there soon! Pan

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wishlist Wednesday

Happy Wishlist Wednesday, Missouri! We are having another absolutely beautiful day! I am loving it! I just had my first Guru whoops. I had my whole entry completely typed and low and behold, gone! I have no idea what happened. So, here we go again. For our 2nd edition of Wishlist Wednesday, I am wishing to go to Ha Ha Tonka State Park down at the Lake of the Ozarks. I have been itching to hit some awesome trails and soak up all this sunshine and this would be just the perfect place to do it! If you've never been here before, you don't know what you're missing! Miles of hiking trails, caves to explore, fishing down on the lake, and let's not forget the empowering castle ruins, which were mostly destroyed by a fire years ago. You can spend a whole day here and probably not see all the park has to offer. So, strap on your hiking shoes and get on down to Ha Ha Tonka State Park. Until tomorrow, this is The Gravel-Roadin' Guru, Pan

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Travel Tip Tuesday

Happy Tuesday folks! Glad to have you with me here again. Today is the first edition of Travel Tip Tuesday. Now, again, this is all still in the works so I definitely need your input. Loveit, like it, or like it not at all? Our tip for this week is: Buy an atlas or map and leave it in your car. We are living in a world where everything is just a button away. I have an iPhone, I know about this. I can be just about anywhere and push my "Maps" button on my phone pinpointing my location within seconds. However, even with our awesome technological advances, this is Missouri and we do still have hills and hollers. You hopefully know that cell phone service isn't guaranteed. During our adventures together, we'll definitely be taking some back roads and I assure you that map will come in handy. Not only is it handy for the obvious reasons, but also for targeting future destinations. There have been several times before where Robby and I have come across some waterway that we knew we wanted to kayak but couldn't right then and there. I would put an "X" marks the spot and then we knew how to get back to that one super cool place (usually out in the middle of nowhere). I hope ya'll are enjoying this beautiful day! See you back here again tomorrow with our Wishlist Wednesday. Until then, The Gravel-Roadin' Guru, Pan

Monday, March 26, 2012

Happy Monday, Missouri!

Good morning all! Happy to have you back here with me today. While most of you are at work and hard at it already, I have my barefeet kicked up while on my sun porch drinking my morning Cup-O-Jo. Why is it called that anyway? How did they get "Jo" from "coffee"? Enlighten me please if you happen to be the one fantastically great trivia person who knows the answer to this query. So, if you've been following me, you'll know that I spent my Saturday morning (and what a gorgeous one it was!) roaming the walks of our glorious State Capital, here in Jefferson City. I'm sure most of you have seen the Capital building or may have even taken a tour (most of us were probably dragged here as children for a fieldtrip in school). Have you ever really toured the grounds and gotten to relish in it's beauty?

If any of you have children, you would have been able to participate in the Easter egg hunt that was taking place in the Governor's Gardens at the Governor's Mansion, just down the street from the Capital.

For those of you who don't know, this building sits atop a hill on the banks of the Missouri. During the summer months, the fountains are full of water. Go ahead, toss in your coin and make a wish! The landscaping is amazing. The tulips and other spring beauties are at their most beautiful right now (great for shooting some photos).

Aside from all this, there are the railroad tracks, the Old Lohman Building, and the Rozier Gallery to view.

The Old Lohman Building sits on the right

I think a lot of folks had the same idea as me. There were a lot of roamers on Saturday. It was great to see people getting out and about!

There's something about a train that gives you that "old world charm" feeling

So, what are you waiting for? Get out of that chair and  engulf yourself in all Downtown Jefferson City has to offer! I will see you back here again tomorrow. Pan, The Gravel-Roadin' Guru

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Oh Glorious Sunday

Happy Fantastic Sunday Folks! The flowers are definitely in bloom right now. This is just a tiny sampling of what's to come this week, when I talk about my couple hour venture to the State Capital in Jefferson City. I got to spend yesterday morning with a friend and her kiddos (and of course, my beautiful baby girl!) at the gorgeous capital building right here in our own backyard! I hope everybody has gotten a chance to "blow the stink off 'em" (as my momma would say, because her momma said it) this weekend, as we're on our last day to enjoy it before it's back to the ole grind. Unfortunately for me, I am back to the ole grind in about an hour (for my day job duty-or night job as it happens to be). I hope you're enjoying this weather at least one tiny bit of how much I am. Robby and I always remark on how we're pretty sure that the both of us are solar powered. The amount of energy that comes flowing through my bones when the weather turns nice is unreal! I'm so glad we had a short lived winter and it looks as if the spring weather is here to stay. Tell me, what'd you do this weekend? Remember, there's more to come of my weekend adventure. Until then, this is The Gravel-Roadin' Guru, Pan

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Quick hello

Greetings guys, gals, and Guru pals! Hope you are enjoying this beautiful Saturday (even though the clouds have now settled in). I am fortunate to have spent my morning with my BFF and her kids walking the gardens at the state capital. This week, I will show you all the great pics of the weekend. As of now, me and my sweet baby girl are heading out to watch her daddy perform live (which he does about once a month) at Summit Lake Winery on the bluff top just across the Missouri in Holts Summit. Hope you get to spend the evening with someone you love (after the winery I get to visit with my big sis, home from Colorado so I get to spend mine with lots of people I love!). See you back here again tomorrow. Until then, I'm The Gravel-Roadin' Guru signing out. Pan

Friday, March 23, 2012

Festival Friday.....Maybe.

Happy Friday folks! Whew, we made it. Another weekend finally here. I hope you've got something exciting planned for the weekend to share with me on Monday. As for me, my plans are to spend time with my sis, who is coming home from Colorado. For our future Friday topics, I'm giving "Festival Friday" a whirl. Tell me what you think. I hope to provide you with a look at fun festivals happening throughout Missouri. For this weekend, you can visit one of my favorite little towns, Hermann, for their 33rd Annual Wurstfest. What is wurst you ask? Well, let me enlighten you. It's German sausage. For the folks out there who don't know much about Hermann, it's known for the strong German roots that it's managed to hold close to since their settlement in 1837. This picturesque town is nestled alongside the Missouri River at the intersection of Highways 19 and 100. Wurstfest, as you've probably guessed by now, is all about the sausage. But if there's one thing you should know about Hermann, they can take something as simple as sausage and make one heck of a to-do about it! This festival is located at areas all around town with most of the activities being at Stone Hill Winery Pavilion and Hermannhof Festhalle, located across the street from Hermannhof Winery and next to the Amtrak station. If you're a foot loose and fancy free traveler in fresh from the train, they have a trolley available. For information on the trolley, call 636-575-6920. The Saturday highlights include the Wurst Competition & Display at Hermann Festhalle most of the day, German music from 12-4 at Stone Hill Winery and the Festhalle. At 1:00 the Wurstjaeger Dancers will be jigging for ya at Stone Hill Winery and again at 2:00 at the Festhalle. They also have sausage-making demos, old-time equipment displays, and a Braunschweiger Ball (please don't tell me you eat Braunschweiger. Yuck-o!). Sunday morning catch the Whole Hog Sausage Breakfast from 7:30-12 at the Firehouse #1 and don't miss the Weiner Dog Derby (this is exactly what you think it is. How cute?!) at 1:00 at the City Park. Again on Sunday, you have the return of German Music and the Wurstjaeger Dancers at both venues. Make sure and visit Tin Mill Brewery, located downtown, for their yummy in-house microbrewed beer along with the famous wine at Stone Hill and Hermannhof. Since I already have my weekend set on spending good quality family time, I hope you can get to Hermann and report back next week. I have no doubt it will be a great time. Hopefully the rain will let up for the fest. For more information, please visit or stop by the Welcome Center located on Market St. Happy Weekend! The Gravel-Roadin' Guru, Pan

Thursday, March 22, 2012

My thankful Thursday

Good afternoon Missouri! I am feeling very thankful this day in particular. If you've read my welcome letter, you know that I had been involved with an internal struggle as of recent. There are hobbies I would like to pursue, things I would like to do, and I've had a feeling that I needed something extra in my life, although I had no idea what that was. I just had my baby girl back in October and wow, being a parent really does take a lot of time (my Mom was right, go figure). So after spending several hours wide awake one night (I blame that on the day job, well night job since I work nights but you get the point), I came up with this wonderful idea of creating a blog. I am SO excited about this pursuit. I have been pouring through pages on the internet to try and figure out what exactly I need to bring to the table to make my blog something successful. Truth is, I've actually had this in mind for several years now and just didn't realize it. About four years ago, shortly after I met Robby, we took up kayaking. The most exciting streams we kayaked were ones we just happened upon. I scoured the internet trying to find a spot where Missourians had a collection of waterways that they recommended. What did I come up with? A big, fat nothing. At that time I thought, "Wow, I should make a website so Missourians who kayak can recommend places to do so." However, I'm not website-creating savvy so the idea just eventually fell by the wayside. I've only recently discovered blogging and what exactly it entails. I spent a bit of time Googling, of course, and now, what you see is what you get. I have managed to create something just for myself, where I can blossom my love of travel, photography, kayaking, and exploration (in the form of gravel-roadin'). I am thankful to have this opportunity and that this form of media has allowed me to do so relatively pain-free with little devotion of time. Now, my hubby is concerned, "Will you have this much to write daily?" Well, no I don't guess. Not everyday will be filled with all my wit and humor regarding a particular subject. Some days I will probably have nothing to talk about, but I guess I will just talk about nothing. Anyhow, I am glad you're here to ride this adventure roller coaster with me. Please provide me with your comments, questions, thoughts, ideas, etc. I'm excited to hear what you have to say. I hope to build this site into something awesome and a great way for Missourians to learn about weekend getaways right in our backyard. If you haven't enjoyed our Missouri weather today, get outside! It's gorgeous! Until tomorrow, Pan, The Gravel-Roadin' Guru

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wishlist Wednesday

Welcome back folks! Here I am. Day 2 of my residency in BlogVille. I made it through my first day and now I'm back for more. I can see how a new blogger (me) would get discouraged in the early days. All this time and thought put into your writing and trying to create something awesome. Yet no comments on your post. Which is what happened to me yesterday. I wrote a long introduction and welcome letter for my first posting and nobody commented (except my husband who only verbally commented, "It's a little wordy"). That's ok. I expected that. In the words of Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams, "They will come". If you haven't seen Field of Dreams, shame on you. It's a great movie! I did, however, envoke a debating session with my best friend and her boyfriend. "It's gravel-roadin'". "No, it's road-trippin'". Makes me laugh. That is, in fact, the same debate Robby and I always have which was complete inspiration for the title of my blog. My friend and her boyfriend are like us in the sense that she is from the side of the Missouri River where I am from, and her boyfriend is from "the other side" like Robby. I'm glad I could get people talking anyway. So, you've seen the title for today, Wishlist Wednesday. My vision for Wednesdays is to reveal a special place or area of Missouri that I wish to travel to soon. I also hope that my future followers (aka YOU) will take part in the convo. Comment on today's post (and all our future Wishlist Wednesdays) and tell me where in Missouri you want to explore. Or, you can tell me a place you would like to see me visit so that I can provide you with all my glorious insight. So, here we go. The place for today's Wishlist Wednesday is (drumroll please........) Ste. Genevieve. This quaint-looking town is located what looks like about an hour south of St. Louis along the Mississippi River. Now, for those of you who don't know me (which I'm thinking is pretty much all of you at this point) should know that Robby and I are river rats. What's a river rat you ask? The "definition" of a river rat, is a little something like this. A person who lives by the river or is so drawn to the river that they spend all their time possible on or around the river. Sounds like it came straight from Webster, right? But really. That's my husband and I to a T. During the summers, you will find us on the Osage River floating about on our Bass Tracker boat most weekends. We love the river and the total feeling of relaxation it sends through our bones. That may be part of the allure of Ste. Genevieve for me is that it is a small river town. Either way, as I was browsing the net to get info and learn a bit about this town, it looks like it has plenty to engage travelers (gravel-roaders) with. Twenty-five or so unique boutiques to shop in, a B&B, a whole slew of restaurants, about 8 historic sites to visit, and a winery (Hello! My favorite part). If any of you followers have been to Ste Genevieve, tell me about it. I want to hear it all. I'm not going to put a timeframe on when I plan to go, but I hope that within the next several months we'll be able to take a weekend and do some gravel-roadin' down that way. Well there I've done it anyway, put a timeframe on it. Let me try that again. I'm not going to put a timeframe on when I plan to go, but I hope it can be soon. That's better. Ok folks. That's it for today. Until tomorrow, The Gravel-Roadin' Guru, Pan

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Welcome Letter

Happy Tuesday folks! Welcome to the Gravel-Roadin' Guru blog. Today marks my arrival into the world of blogging. Bare with me as I am learning and updating and adding and fixing. You get the picture. Let me begin with an formal howdy and hello (aka introduction) of myself. My name is Amanda but you can call me Pan. I know, Pan? Let me explain. I am the queen of nicknames for my family. Amanda became Panda Bear, which became Panda, then Pan. I am going to turn 30 this year (I'm ok with it. Really!). My parents are wonderful people who raised me right; instilling strong morals, a level head, and some common sense in me. I am also the youngest of five children (yep, there's really five of us). I am married to a wonderful man and just 5 months ago we were blessed with our first child, Olivia Grace. Who has no grace about her, go figure. I have a Business Management degree from the University of Missouri but after a short stint trying (that's right, trying) to sell real estate, I went back to school and spent two sleep-deprived years earning my nursing degree. I've spent the last four years employed in Emergency medicine. I do love my job but lately (after childbirth really), I've been doing some soul searching. I feel the need for something else in my life, something bigger. Here enters The Gravel-Roadin' Guru blog (thanks to two hours in the middle of the night I spent wide awake dreaming up this idea). This is my personal outlet to combine my love of travel (duh), kayaking, photography, adventure, and knowledge. I grew up in Central Missouri and after being here and there, I have remained within a half hour of my hometown. My high school was small enough that I knew everyone in all four grades (and knew all their business too). We came from a place and time where we created our own entertainment. "Gravel-roadin'" being one of the popular weekend to-do's. The backroads provided fun, trouble, and a chance to meet up with friends (because five full days a week wasn't enough time to see them I suppose). My husband comes from here too, with just the Mighty Missouri as the divider. On the west side (namely, his side) cruising the backroads is known as road-trippin'. However, this is my blog and it's gravel-roading. That's right, Robby. GRAVEL-ROADIN'. You hear me? Several years back, Robby and I jumped in the car on a dreary, rainy, winter day and just started driving. We had so much fun it quickly became our weekend ritual. My rose-colored glasses flew off in the wind at the realization that small towns really have much to offer. Up to this point, small towns, in my mind, had been dull and lifeless. But (I know you're not supposed to start a sentence with but, but I didn't promise proper English here did I?) we happened upon so many fascinating byways that it became our passion. These, I wish to share. I hope to inspire a love of travel, exploration, and learning (gasp!) of a culture and a way of life. Thank you for joining me in this journey. Please post lots of comments and get involved. Tell all your friends about me too! So here we go... Let's get traveling! Yours truly, The Gravel-Roadin' Guru, Pan