Winter 2015

Missouri weather can be like a fickle lover: one day soft and warm, the next offering only a cold shoulder.

We will get our share of those cold nights, but don’t forget the beauty of a Missouri field clothed in its white gown or the fresh taste of the air after a cleansing snowfall. Winter is a good time to sit by the home fires and plan for future trips. Of course, winter also gives us calm afternoons when it is perfect to take a trip to enjoy the state’s winter attractions.

To help you plan those trips from your computer on a snowy evening, I’ve scouted some websites. Even if you don’t make the drive, a virtual trip can be just as fun.

Certainly the highpoint of the winter season for most of us is Christmas. This page ( describes Christmas in the Arcadia Valley, located only 80 miles south of St. Louis. The Christmas festival runs from Thanksgiving through December 5 and ends with a big lighted Christmas parade. It sounds like fun, and just looking at the page may get you in the holiday mood.

For someone concerned about highway travel in the winter, perhaps a trip by train would be fun. Amtrak offers the Missouri River Runner which travels daily between St. Louis and Kansas City with stations along the route. Learn more about it, check on amenities and buy a ticket at I’ve long wanted to do a train trip and seeing the snowy Missouri countryside from the comfort of a coach seat sounds like a blast. Especially since they offer a 20 percent discount during the winter months.

Missouri Department of Transportation’s highway condition page at is handy to check anytime, but it is especially useful during periods of bad weather. It displays road closings, winter road conditions and construction delays at a glance. It is certainly worth checking before departing on any trip. Excellent winter travel tips are available at

I don’t have a webpage for this one, but I promise that you will enjoy it if you travel IRL to Glasgow for the Olde Tyme Christmas Parade, as it features numerous events downtown, including a lighted nighttime Christmas boat parade (held on the street). I’m pretty sure that Santa will be on hand. During the evening American Legion Post 211 ( will be serving soup and chili downtown at the Columbian Hall. My friend John Schaeffer and I will be doing the cooking. I promise it will be good, and if you don’t agree, we will give you a second bowl This event is always held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Do your kids ever say; “I’m tired of winter, I want to go swimming.” If they do, information about three indoor water parks can be found at Oh, the weather outside may be snowy, but these parks offer a tropical getaway.

Wherever you travel this winter on the internet or IRL be safe and careful. I don’t think we will run into each other at one of the water parks, but you may see me serving soup. If you do, please say hello.

Until our paths do cross, have a great Missouri winter season.

Fall 2015

After a very unusual Missouri summer that started off cool, turned extremely hot and produced far too much rain and flooding we are ready for a restful fall with colorful foliage, apple cider, bonfires, hayrides, football and crisp evenings.

In between back-to-school events, raking leaves and getting our homes ready for winter find the time for some fall travel in our beautiful state of Missouri. I’ve researched some travel sites to get you in the mood. You can use them for short trips behind your keyboard or as a springboard for a longer IRL trip.

A beautiful area of our state for hiking and camping is located in one of our many state parks. Begin your visit to Johnson Shut Ins with a visit to This website includes photos of the shut ins, a map of how to get there and a description of the trails and geography. Shut ins are an area of a stream that runs around rocks. You have to see it to appreciate the beauty. There are trails ranging in length from just over a mile to ten miles. Campgrounds or camper cabins offer camping at your preferred level of comfort. My son visited there recently with my grandsons, and they really enjoyed it. I think you will, too.

When we are not camping, we are a baseball family. I spent a lot of years coaching youth baseball in Caruthersville. I coached my son and then later he coached with me. His mother and I traveled three states to watch him play high school, legion and college baseball. This year, a Caruthersville youth team won the State Championship, something I was unable to do in two trips to the state tournament. As I write this, the Cardinals and the Royals lead Major League Baseball in their leagues and the possibility of an I-70 World Series is still pretty good. You can read about the rivalry and history of Missouri’s two Major League Baseball teams at We like baseball any time, but watching your team in the World Series is a special thrill.

This 2006 article from the St. Louis Post Dispatch ( is hardly current, but it still has some good travel tips for a Missouri Fall Drive and some very nice photos. The page includes links to a number of Missouri wineries. Missouri was a leader in wine production before prohibition, and the industry is rebuilding with many new wineries. One of them, Bushwhacker Bend, is located in beautiful downtown Glasgow. Their webpage, found at, has a very nice scrolling picture show of scenes from the riverside winery. The winery features live entertainment on the deck overlooking the Missouri River. From the deck you can see both the river bridge, located on the same site as the first all steel railroad bridge in the world, and the sharpest bend in the Missouri River.

Going back to school for the fall term causes me to list two college websites. My alma mater, Central Methodist University in Fayette ( is less than 20 miles from my home in Glasgow. I had some happy years there before I graduated many years ago and I still enjoy some of the cultural offerings of the beautiful campus. College of the Ozarks ( does not charge tuition! Students work on campus to pay for tuition and room and board, allowing graduates to leave campus with no debt. They have a beautiful campus located just south of Branson at Point Lookout.

I hope you have a great fall in Missouri. As you travel on the web or IRL, we may cross paths. If we do, be sure to say hello. We’re friendly that way in Missouri. Be safe both on the road and on the Information Superhighway.

Summer 2015

Summertime, and the livin’ is easy. Fish are jumpin’ and the cotton is high”.
It is summertime in Missouri and the living is indeed easy or, at least, easier. School is out, watermelon and lemonade will soon make the hot afternoons more bearable, and we have more time to travel and enjoy our great state.

If your “daddy’s rich and your ma is good lookin’ …”, that is a plus. Even if they are not, snow shovels are put away and the roar of lawnmowers underline the heat of the afternoons. There are festivals, fairs and attractions that offer fun and education for the whole family.

To help you find some of those attractions, I have searched the internet so that you can, perhaps, plan a trip or even just surf the net from the cool comfort of your computer on a hot afternoon.

When my son was growing up, Boy Scout Summer Camp was a regular feature of our summers. I went with him for those weeks and continued as a scout leader even after he was in college. I highly recommend the Boy Scouting program. You can learn more about it at

If you are not in Scouting or if you want even more summer camp experiences for your children, this link may be of interest: It lets you search for summer camps in Missouri for all ages, genders and interests. There are listings for sports, computers, nature and lots more. I even saw a baseball program that is located at Heine Meine Field in Lemay. When my son played there in American Legion Baseball, I think I made the local folks angry by referring to it as “Tiny Hiney Field.” It made it worse when he hit one of the longest homeruns ever hit in that park. Perhaps, they will finally forgive me if I give them this free publicity.

When the Fourth of July comes, we think of fireworks displays. Fireworks are inherently dangerous, and young people should always be supervised when playing with them. Adults need to be very careful, as well. If you are having your own fireworks, you might review safety precautions at Show-Me Missouri’s publisher, Gary Figgins, used to be in charge of the Caruthersville fireworks display, and my son and I helped several years. It was fun, but shooting them from a gravel barge on the Mississippi River made it even more dangerous.

Here in Glasgow, the Lions Club furnishes a public fireworks display. Those community displays are free and safe for the viewers. The Lions Club ( has more than 46,000 clubs all around the world. We work with eyesight problems, diabetes education, hearing and lots more. We can always use the public’s help, and we welcome new members.

This Fourth of July morning, my Sons of the American Revolution chapter ( will be conducting a Patriot Grave Marking near Salisbury. John David Winn’s grave will be marked with a stone. There will be a color guard in Revolutionary War uniforms and a musket salute, as well as speakers and other activities. Mr. Winn has been buried there for almost 200 years. Everyone is invited to the event. You can read more about it and find a map at .

The county fair is a Missouri tradition. This page provides information and schedules for county fairs all over Missouri. It is a long URL, but you’ll find everything you need to know about fairs at .

If we should cross paths on the Internet or IRL, don’t forget to say hello.

Spring 2015

Spring is here, again. As I write this on my birthday in early February (editor Gary Figgins and I share the same birthday) winter has not been nearly as harsh as anticipated. Not here in Missouri, at least.Still, spring always looks good to blooming, green grass and fresh breezes carrying the promise of new life.

Spring is a great time to explore the many delights of our great state. When we can’t take the time for an IRL road trip, we can travel through our computer screens, and we can also spend some spring evenings at the computer to plan IRL travel. To help with that, I have researched a few sites.

I know that I mention Branson a lot in these columns. Well, I like Branson. I’m not a country music fan, but I have never seen a show there that I did not enjoy. My wife likes to shop there, and plenty of entertainment choices satisfy almost every taste and age. Visit the Branson Convention and Visitors Bureau website for a long list of things to do and see at

One place in Branson that I’ve mentioned before is my favorite shoe store, Reish’s Shoes. I have hard-to-fit feet (size 16). Joe Reish has a huge assortment of men’s and women’s shoes—and he carries my size. He has pretty big feet himself. This page at includes a nice video of Joe Reish telling the history of his store which his father opened during the Great Depression. They are proud of selling “shoes that fit”. You will enjoy hearing and seeing his story, and I highly recommend a visit to the store. Tell Mr. Reish I sent you.

For information on travel opportunities in Missouri, visit the state’s official website at . You can learn about state parks, sports, wineries and more, and there is a link to order a Missouri Travel Guide. You can also read an article about how to obtain a tourism license plate for your vehicle.

I am the state chairman of the Missouri Knights of Columbus Scholarship program. Students with a connection to the Missouri Knights of Columbus can read about our scholarships at Because of my work with KC Scholarships, a story at That is a long URL, but it opens to a page with information for scholarships from the Missouri Travel Council. These are for students already in college who plan to work in the hospitality and/or tourism industry.

For many of us in Missouri, “The Lake” means The Lake of The Ozarks. The area’s official website at provides information about all the fun things for the family at the lake. You can read about it all on the page, and you can also request a free printed guide to vacation opportunities at The Lake. Their page is well-designed and includes some good photographs of lake scenery.

There is so much to read and see on the official Missouri website at, making it the definitive website about the state. It contains Missouri news from around the state, a link to Missouri highway conditions, a link to upload photos of Missouri and links to the activities of Missouri government.

At hikers and bikers can find trail information, post photos and information about their trips and earn badges. It’s a fine way to see Missouri.

We are lucky to have so many interesting things to see and to do in such beautiful surroundings. Perhaps we will cross paths on the internet as we cyber-travel our state. Maybe we will happen across each other IRL while trying on big shoes in Branson or on a trail. Until then be safe and enjoy all our state has to offer.