Sunday, February 24, 2013

Pic Post: Carl R Noren Access for the Missouri River

The Carl Noren Access to the Missouri is located just on the north side of the Jefferson City bridge. The area has a short nature trail, boat ramp, and parking for those using the pedestrian bridge. The views are wonderful! 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Finding Beauty Amongst the Dead ~ Missouri Waterways~

Let's face it. Missouri isn't very picturesque during the winter. I look outside and all I see is death. Death of the grass. Death of the trees. Death of all my beautiful flowers.

Death. Death. Death.

See? Death.
 Therefore, I went in search of the one thing that I can always count on to be beautiful to me. The one thing that is mostly unchanging no matter what season it may be.


Plain and simple. Water. Rivers. Ponds. Lakes. Streams. It doesn't matter what form it comes in but living in Central Missouri, we are definitely blessed to be surrounded by some awesome waterways.

I think my high regard of water began when I had first moved to the Lake of the Ozarks. I was in my early 20s and didn't even live on the water but anywhere I drove, I was always alongside the lake. And I absolutely loved it. There's a feeling of calmness and peace I get just from a quick glance of the rivers or lakes in our area.

I'm thankful that I married a man that has this same (maybe a little bizarre) adherence to the water. Robby has owned a boat since I've known him and all of our time together, both here and our short stent in Nashville, we enjoyed much time together on the rivers.

My poor child was out of milk yesterday and even though she's coming up on 1 1/2 years old (I swear I don't know how time has flown by so fast), she still insists on a bottle of milk for nap time. Since I was out, I thought a drive would do us both good. She slept and Mommy went in search of "beauty".

This access to the Moreau River is located on Buffalo Rd just off Highway 54

Boat ramp at Honey Creek access: I would recommend only using a boat with a jet prop.

Moreau River: great for kayaking.

Gravel-Roadin': It's what I do!

Moreau River Access just off Highway 50 right outside of Jeff City.

Aw schucks, Missouri Department of Conservation. You're no fun. No fun at all.

Robby almost lost our truck in this very spot. But, that's a story for another day.

Old railroad bridge above the Moreau just off Algoa Rd

I know this is a terrible picture but there was a truck coming behind me as I was stopped in the middle of the road just to take this shot. I had no time for adjustments.

Mari-Osa Access: just off highway 50 outside of Jeff City accessing the Osage River and Maries River

The Osage River: my favorite. I could sit and stare at this view all day long.
 I am definitely ready to get the boat out now. I can feel the breeze in my sun-soaked hair now!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Biking the Katy: Katy Trail State Park

Becoming a Mommy hasn't been an easy task for me. I envy the women who have a baby and enjoy every second of every day and are just natural born Mommies.

I blame most of it on Olivia's colic. The child screamed. Every day. Every minute of every day. For 3 solid months. It was terrible. I think that started me off on the wrong foot.

Don't misunderstand me here. I love her with all my heart and soul. She's truly the sunshine in my world and has been the biggest blessing to me. But there has been so much that I've had to change in myself. Letting go of my selfish ways to make room for all her needs first. Putting all my desires on hold so that my time can be spent with her.

I've had a difficult time coming to terms with the fact that I can't pick up and go at the drop of a hat. I can't "plan" at the spur of the moment and take off to go shopping or go have a girls night out. Everything has to be thought out and decided.

"Ok, we're going to be gone for 3 hours. Let me check the diaper bag for diapers, diaper wipes, items of entertainment, medicine, an extra change of clothes, and a sippy cup. How is the weather? Do I need to bring her big jacket or light jacket? Will we need her stroller, food, or booster seat?"

It's been hard enough in my life trying to keep track of myself and now there are two of me to keep track of! I always tell Robby, I married him so I could have a keeper. Someone's gotta keep my head attached after all.

I'm so pleasantly surprised that today, albeit getting a late start to the day, but today, we took a bicycle ride on the Katy Trail as a family!

I feel like I've conquered the Mommy-dom. We successfully took an adventure with the baby (I use that term loosely. She is definitely not my little baby anymore) and we all enjoyed ourselves. It was great.

The beautiful weather was just what the Winter Blues Doctor ordered for us. Nothing like getting rid of (or biding more time from) the dreary February blahs than by getting out to soak up those sun rays and getting fresh, Missouri air.

The trail is nothing but raw nature waiting to encloak you as you travel down the gravel. Bluff on one side. River on the other. Peace and quiet (except for that lady behind us yelling "Coming on the left!").

Cedar Creek leading to the Mighty Missouri

Olivia got to ride in her new WeeRide bicycle attachment with Daddy. Unfortunately, my torso was much too short and I wasn't able to support the both of us.

Except for the time I jumped on scrictly for the photo ops

Thank God for Daddies. Especially Daddies who are willing to ride a terribly uncomfortable bicycle bowlegged for miles on end just so his little girl can enjoy!
 There were lots of people with the same idea. I think it's just what all of Missouri needs at this time; a chance to recharge our solar panels to get us through the last of winter.

I couldn't have asked for more. We got exercise. We had Olivia. We had each other. Robby and I actually had a chance to talk. And listen. To each other. About things we've been needing to discuss. But in our crazy, hectic, insane lives we've been leading, we haven't had time to do. We fall asleep on the couch early, we have separate work schedules, and we have a demanding toddler. Once we had found ourselves actually getting to have a great conversation for about an hour, we realized we had really been needing that bonding time.

The Katy Trail runs along the Missouri River through Jefferson City. If you visit the Missouri State Parks website, you can find detailed information including park maps, accessibility sites, and the like. Hopefully, the sun will find it's way back to us again soon!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Amtrak through Missouri

Last year, shortly after I had Olivia, Robby surprised me with a train ride for the weekend to St Louis. I hadn't been on the train since I was a kid and even then, I can't even hardly remember that trip. The train definitely isn't luxury at it's finest but man, did it work out well!

Photo stealing via Google
We boarded at the station in Jeff City and traveled along the Missouri River passing through this town and that town. We enjoyed taking in the sights that a person never gets to see using our normal methods of travel. The river seems even more majestic up close and personal. Each river town is lined with what looks like centuries-old buildings. Each one with more character than the last.
It's a good thing I'm not scared of certain people in the world though. At the train station, before loading, I noticed there were quite a few corrections officers. Then I started noticing all the men with their single, paper bag. You know what that means, right? A little creepy? Yes.

The train stopped near downtown St Louis so it's just a short taxi ride to wherever you want to go. We enjoyed our weekend, took a taxi ride back to the train station and we were back home in Jeff City in just a couple hours (if even).

So, when we were invited on another train trip last October for Oktoberfest in Hermann, of course we jumped on the opportunity.... and train! My favorite time of year of course. The ride from Jeff City to Hermann is a short 45 minutes. There were people packed like sushi on this train; everyone wanting to get their wine buzz on without having the responsibility of designating a driver. This train ride was fun.

Everyone was playful and ready to party, people anticipating the atmosphere that awaits in Hermann on any crisp, October day.

We took advantage of the food and beverage car. Our first trip (to St Louis), I didn't even know that they sold alcohol on this train. But alas, they do!

We enjoyed the day in Hermann. Venturing from Hermannhoff to the brewery and back. Hermann does have a trolley for $15 per day had we wanted to get to any of the other wineries (definitely missed Oak Glenn and Adam Puchta that day) but we saved our money and enjoyed the day anyway.

Oh yes. We enjoyed the day.

This is a trip I look forward to taking again in the future. Maybe next time we'll spend the night in one of the little cabins offered at Hermannhoff!

Check out the Amtrak website. There are stops all along Missouri from Kansas City to St Louis. Take a trip. You'll be glad you did.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Bed and Breakfast: Second Creek in Owensville, MO

I hate winter. I always have. Probably always will. However, the older I get, the more tolerant of Old Man Winter I have become. I don't mind the snow and ice as long as I can just snuggle down in my house and enjoy the view from inside. Even though it's rare that this happens.

But, I do enjoy that cozy feeling. You know the one. Sitting fireside just listening to the crackle and pop of the embers. Sipping on hot chocolate underneath the blanket. Fluffy socks in place. Snuggling with your honey. And really, winter is the only time we can get that cozy feeling. Have you ever had that comfy, cozy feeling while you're sweating your butt off in the middle of summer?? I didn't think so.

(Don't take me wrong-I'm not trying to dis summer. Summer is by far my favorite season. It's like I always say-The Hotter The Better!)

If you're looking for the PERFECT place to grab "the feeling" this winter, you need to book an evening or two at Second Creek Bed and Breakfast in Owensville, MO.

Many moons ago, Robby surprised me for Christmas by taking me here. I had no idea where we were going, he just told me to pack an overnight bag and he drove me to the middle of nowhere. Which is part of the charm here. The 2 story, gorgeous log lodge is set atop a hill on a several hundred acre farm giving you more peace than the last Miss America.

Upon arrival, we walked into the check-in office to check-in. Duh-obviously. The process was short and sweet. The lady of the lodge pulled out a tray of homemade soap and let us choose which soap we wanted for our stay. A small chunk was chopped and wrapped for us to take to our room. For some reason, I just thought this was the coolest thing. Homemade soap! I'm sure most of ya'll probably won't be as intrigued as I was but maybe there's another sappy soap soul out there.

We were escorted up the stairs to our room. Impressed. We were both totally impressed.

Pay no attention to the clothes and mess we made here

Real, log fireplace!

This place was no share-the-bathroom-with-the-folks-down-the-hall place either. In the corner of each room was an enormous jetted tub. Big enough to fit all the guests in the lodge. Well, that may be stretching it a little.....

Looking back now, I wished we had spent more time in that tub. I miss that big tub. Especially while the fire was roaring, which you can see faced the tub. How perfect is that!

The room was sizeable yet cozy. Here we are again. Back to "cozy". There was no tv, which we both thought was awesome. Who needs tv in a bed and breakfast anyway? We played cards and checkers from the cabinet in our room. We lit the fire. Well, we did not light the fire. Robby and Robby alone lit the fire. I should give credit where credit is due, I suppose.

The bathroom is simply separated by a folding partition (as you can see in the last pic). Which doesn't allow for much privacy but worked out just fine.

Getting ready for dinner
The evening meal was NOT included in the price of our stay. Breakfast was but dinner was an additional fee. Since it was our first time here, Robby wasn't sure where we could get dinner when staying just east of nowhere so he arranged for us to have dinner in. The other customers had all arranged the same. There are only 4 rooms here, so it was us and 3 other couples for dinner that night. The meal was served fireside (of course!) in the gorgeous main area of the lodge.

The eating area was just beside the fire on the main level
The lodge was appropriately adorned with Christmas decor throughout. Tis the season!

I'm not sure if the owner has training in the culinaries but she knew something about cookin'. Both dinner and breakfast the next morning were amazing! Alcohol was an added fee with dinner. We did sneak in our own wine supply for the room.

There was a pool table and books on the main level. There were walking trails and a lake for fishing available to all guests. The front porch had chairs for sittin'. Had it not been so darn cold we probably would have enjoyed the views and some front porch sittin'.

View from the front porch. You can't get much more serenity, right?
There were 2 other couples that told us they made a trip out of the lodge every year at Christmastime. It's definitely worth the drive. You can find them online. Just google Second Creek Bed and Breakfast. But you better go get your "feeling" fast. Spring will be here before we know it. (I know, yeah right. I'm just hoping for spring to be right around the corner. It always seems like winter drags out into 8 years or something.)

As a bonus, Robby proposed to me that night. So this is a place we will never forget!