The Starting Line
While all of my recent adventure in the +Chevrolet Camaro SS with +Google Glass was far west of the Mighty Mississippi most of my trips are right here in Missouri. There is much to see and photograph within only a few hours of my house. The drives are nice and many times one of my four kiddos tag along for an outing to capture a little more of Missouri.
Since Missouri was the starting line for our epic trip west I thought I would back up, start over a bit and share some of my home state with you. Over the coming weeks I will focus in on the states we visited, the cool locations we discovered and the roads we found. I hope it encourages you to travel. I hope you do so by car. Everything I will show you doesn't look the same from 30,000 feet. It is all worth the drive and you never know what you'll discover along the way to these great places.
We'll start at the gateway to the the west, St. Louis, MO. With the perfect architectural piece, the Arch, to symbolize it's namesake.
|'Malcolm's View' ~ St. Louis, MO ~ Buy A Print|
|'STL Skies' ~ St. Louis, MO ~ Buy A Print|
|'Smoke Screen' ~ St. Louis, MO ~ Buy A Print|
Before we leave the gateway in our rear view mirror we need to see a few places. St. Louis has so much to offer and I have only scratched the surface in my own outings.
For instance: Did you know St. Louis is home to the largest city park? Forest Park is approximately 500 acres larger than New York's Central Park.
Before we explore Forest Park let's back up to the river. We'll assume you are traveling west from the Mississippi. One of the first off the beaten path locations you need to visit is the Old Chain Of Rocks Bridge. The bridge is a pedestrian bridge today. However, it was part of historic route 66. It is worth a stop to walk through history and see a bridge that has a twenty two and a half degree turn in the middle.
|'Warm Winter Evening' ~ St. Louis, MO ~ Buy A Print|
|'Auto Court' ~ St. Louis, MO ~ Buy A Print|
Once you cross the Mississippi you need to stop at Laclede's Landing. We'll pretend it is a good time to eat when you arrive, okay it's always a good time to eat! Here, at Laclede's Landing, you'll find something good to eat and enjoy a walk along the cobblestone streets after your meal.
|'Laclede's Landing' ~ St. Louis, MO ~ Buy A Print|
Moving a little further west, but still in downtown St. Louis, you'll want to take the time to explore Union Station on Market Street. If you're an avid reader you'll want to explore the newly renovated Public Library.
|'Union Station' ~ St. Louis, MO ~ Buy A Print|
|'Literary Gateway' ~ St. Louis, MO ~ Buy A Print|
Maybe you'll venture onto Grand Boulevard on a rainy day and catch a show in the Fabulous Fox Theatre.
|'Rainy Day Chaos' ~ St. Louis, MO ~ Buy A Print|
Ahh, but now we are close to Forest Park. A visit to St. Louis is not complete without a visit to the home of the St. Louis Zoo! No matter the season.
|'Flyin' Lion' ~ St. Louis Zoo|
|'Snow Day' ~ St. Louis, MO ~ Buy A Print|
|'Forest In The Fall' ~ St. Louis, MO ~ Buy A Print|
It is my experience that Forest Park is a great place to catch a sunset. I sat here with my oldest daughter, Kaitlyn, as we waited for the right light. A memory I'll never forget!
|'Reflections Of St. Louis' ~ St. Louis, MO ~ Buy A Print|
|'Now Boarding' ~ St. Louis, MO ~ Buy A Print|
From here I'm just going to jump around and share highlights. If I continue to share each great place discovered in Missouri we'll be in War and Peace territory for reading. ;-)
Do explore Missouri! I live here, purposely gone out to see what I can see, and have not even seen a fraction of the great landscapes. Did you know you can see bison in Missouri?
I'll start with one of my favorite state parks, Elephant Rocks. On one visit we arrived during overcast skies. I was hoping for some great light. As we exited the car we noticed a break in the clouds. I started running! From the parking lot to the top where granite boulders as big as your house stand. Out of breath and wrestling with my tripod I hurriedly setup my camera. Click, I got it.
|'Pachyderm Sunset' ~ Elephant Rocks State Park, MO ~ Buy A Print|
Go see Elephant Rocks! The boulders in front of that sunset are enormous. Standing next to them is a great experience. One you'll not soon forget.
If you don't stick around Elephant Rocks until dark you'll have time for the 20-30 minute drive to Johns Shut-Ins State Park where the Black River cuts through the gauntlet of rock.
|'Black River' ~ Johnson Shut-Ins State Park, MO ~ Buy A Print|
While we're in the general area I suggest exploring Alley Spring State Park. This is only one of the places where crisp cold water bubbles out of the ground in Missouri in hues of blues and greens that have to be seen to be believed. Add to this the surrounding forest and great blacktop roads that carve through those forest and you have a real adventure. This is an area where you can enjoy your time in the car as much as the stops along the way.
Speaking of enjoying a good drive, Missouri has some of the best blacktops around. I love exploring and finding new drives along the way. I have an affinity for roads!
|'Hitchhiker' ~ Rural Missouri ~ Buy A Print|
|'Highway 21' ~ Rural Missouri ~ Buy A Print|
Below are just a few of the great sites you'll see while traveling along these roads, in no particular order. ;-)
|'Missouri River Rays' ~ Hermann, MO ~ Buy A Print|
|'Along The Missouri' ~ Portland, MO ~ Buy A Print|
|'Field Of Dreams' ~ Rural Missouri ~ Buy A Print|
|'Sea Of Wheat' ~ Rural Missouri ~ Buy A Print|
Along your travels you might find yourself in Jefferson City, MO, the state Capitol. There you can do something I've yet to do and tour the Capitol Building. Maybe you'll just catch a great sunset setting the Capitol aglow. That wouldn't be so bad, trust me.
|'Missouri Capitol' ~ Jefferson City, MO ~ Buy A Print|
Now we find ourselves not far south of Columbia, MO.
|'Electric Catwalk' ~ Columbia, MO ~ Buy A Print|
Now, there is one place you have to visit before leaving the area. In fact, what you need to see is a tree. Yep, a 350+ year old Bur Oak in the middle of nowhere. Believe me it is worth the short detour off I-70. The tree is enormous and stands all alone right alongside the road.
If you find yourself driving through Missouri on I-70 you really should go see this tree. I've even mapped it for you. ;-)
Now we drive a bit north to I-70, sometimes you have to use highways to make good time. ;-)
On I-70 we head west from Columbia, MO. We have one last stop on this blog post. That stop is Kansas City, MO. While the stop on the #GlassCamaro Adventure was short here it doesn't mean there is nothing here to see. About a month before the epic 6,638 mile trip set out I spent a few days in KCMO.
Kansas City has a great downtown! Fun to explore and most of it within view from the Liberty Memorial. Here is a quick video I shot with +Google Glass during my visit.
If you find yourself even near Kansas City I would urge you to explore the city. I'm not much for cities, but Kansas City, to me, is different. Perhaps it is because after leaving KC, heading west, you really begin to experience the wide open vistas that will begin to engulf you. Kansas City is the last oasis before the wide open expanse of the west. It is, however, much more than that.
|'Downtown' ~ Kansas City, MO ~ Buy A Print|
|'Power & Light' ~ Kansas City, MO ~ Buy A Print|
|'Hall Of History' ~ Union Station, KC ~ Buy A Print|
|'Light & Lines' ~ Kansas City, MO ~ Buy A Print|
|'Time To Leave' ~ Union Station, KC ~ Buy A Print|
Time to leave indeed. . .time to move west.
In the coming weeks we'll leave Missouri. Drive as far west as we can and then turn north, drive the coast as far as we can and turn back east. Along the way I will share some awesome landscapes, great roads and map as much of that for you as I can.
|The 2014 +Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible will be our chariot during this adventure! ~ Buy A Print|
Buckle up and enjoy the ride!