] Around Columbia

Friday, March 31, 2017

Karst Trail at Rock Bridge Memorial State Park

This is the first of a series on the trails at Rock Bridge Memorial State Park.  Rock Bridge Memorial State Park is located just south of Columbia.  Beautiful, and well maintained, there is lots to do there, and even more to see. 

My son-in-law and I are hiking the trails one at a time.  We start this series with the Karst Trail which which is named after a a "landscape formed from the dissolution of soluble rocks such as limestone, dolomite, and gypsum. It is characterized by underground drainage systems with sinkholes and caves." 
Entrance to the trail from the parking lot.

There are a lot of sinkholes in Missouri, there are a lot at the park, but I have never seen so many sink holes in one place than what I saw in this park.

Below are pictures of just two, of the many, sink holes we walked by:

Overall impression?   The Karst trail is picturesque, lots of variety, and a pleasant walk. Nothing breathtaking, I will show  you some of that later, but interesting nonetheless. Pleasant.  It took us less than 45 minutes to hike the two mile loop.  We did not see a soul either.  You can actually make a day of it by stringing together some of the smaller trails like this one,  but unfortunately you will have to drive to some of them since they do not all connect. There is one larger 8 mile loop which  I will cover later. 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Another Little Free Library

About one hundred yards from the Daniel Boone Regional Library, here in Columbia, I found another little library.  This one is actually registered with Little Free Library at www.littlefreelibray.org.

As  you can see it even has a registration, or charter, number on the lower right side.
I am a huge believer in books.  Not the ebook, or digital version, which I think provide an inferior experience, but rather the old fashioned kind that you can hold in your hand.

I plan on building one over this winter to launch this coming spring but I am going to specialize in children’s books. There are only  two chartered ones, this one and another one I  do not have a picture of yet.  The one I wrote about two days ago does not have a charter,  and there are bound to be others.  Columbia is a college town, and is generally a book loving community.  KOMU TV ran a story about several I have not seen  yet, some without charters,  in July of this  year.

Here is what the Little Free Library web site has to say about how the project got started:
 n the beginning—2009--Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin, built a model of a one room schoolhouse as a tribute to his mother, a former school teacher who loved reading. He filled it with books and put it on a post in his front yard. His neighbors and friends loved it. He built several more and gave them away. Each one had a sign that said FREE BOOKS. Rick Brooks, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, saw Bol's do-it-yourself project while they were discussing potential social enterprises. Together, the two saw opportunities to achieve a wide variety of goals for the common good.
In September 2015, the organization reported over 32,000 chartered Little Free Library sites in all 50 U.S. states,  and in over 70 other countries world wide.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Fall Sale at Tryathletics - A Columbia Tradition

Columbia is blessed with some great locally owned and operated business such as Tryathletics.  If your local chances are you already know about their annual shoe sale which is always held around this time of year.  The sale started this morning and I stopped by there on my way to work, and purchased two pair of high quality running shoes for half price.  Not the shoes you get at the discount or big box stores, but the ones that you find at the serious sporting good and sport specialty stores.

When I got there the place was packed.  The parking lot was full, and there was even a food truck outside doing a very brisk business.  I should have taken a picture of that! The picture to the left is only a fraction of the huge selection they had to offer.

 I am a huge supporter of shopping locally at locally owned and operated enterprises.  I am proud put in a good word for them.

1605 Chapel Hill Rd. 
Columbia, MO 65203
(573)-447-2453 (phone)
                                                            (573)-447-4477 (fax)

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Little Free Libraries Come to Columbia Missouri

Some  ideas are so fresh, so elegant, and make so much sense that I just fall in love with them.  Then there are some extra special ones that go even further.  They spread a sense of brotherly love, cooperation, and goodwill.

Netflix is an example of the first.  I have long been a fan of Netflix starting way back when they were in the business of just shipping you a DVD through the mail.  I was glad to finally escape the awful store front débâcle that was the retail DVD movie rental business.   An example of the second kind is the little free library movement.

Yesterday I was out walking when I passed a gentleman who I often see out walking with his dog.  We exchanged greetings and I noticed he was carrying books.  I was curious as to what kind of books somebody would be carrying while they walked and asked him.  He told me, and then explained he was going to the "little library" which was less than a hundred yards up the road on Green Meadows Court,  just across the street from the Green Meadows Court and Greenbriar Drive intersection.

According to the little free library map there are six other locations ran by local volunteer participants who have registered.  There may be others that are not listed. The fabulous web site that started it all is located online at http://littlefreelibrary.org/.  The movement has spread throughout the United States and even overseas.  You can listen to a short news report about it, less three minutes,  thanks to Vermont public radio.

My own neighbourhood library is about a quarter of a mile away from my front door.   Today I dropped off two books and picked up one. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Strawberry Hill Farms - Start Thinking About Spring

This is the view from where we parked at the very east edge of the nursery. 

On a cold December day we can comfort ourselves knowing that inevitably
spring will come just as we think we will not be able to take the cold and dark another moment.  In March one of Columbia's premier plant nurseries will be opening back up.  Now is a good time to start planning our gardens.

I took these pictures this summer, but have used Strawberry Hill Farms for over three years. Prices are great, and the plant quality is outstanding.  I get consistently good results with the bedding plants and the flowers I buy there.  These pictures were taken during a trip when I brought my mother into town so she could buy flowers.  By that time I had already been to Strawberry Hill Farms at least twice, and my garden was thriving.

Inside the greenhouse at Strawberry Hill Farms

Another picture from inside the greenhouse.

My moms final selection.
This family owned and operated business, like all family owned and operated businesses in our community, deserves our support.  The quality of their products and their willingness to share their knowledge, makes it easy to do so.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trax, and Other Running Events in Columbia

Columbia is a great fitness town.  I have done several stories about our local trail system, which is simply outstanding, within the city and how it connects with the state wide trail network.  I run on those trails at least one time a week.  There is also an active fitness culture, and a fantastic running community.  The annual Turkey Trax, held on Thanksgiving morning, is just one example of the many running events that are held here.  Probably over one a week on the average. 

This past Thanksgiving I ran in my second Turkey Trax here in Columbia.  Although it was a very cold morning hundreds of runners showed up for this great annual event.  Ultramax Sports sponsors this race and their events are always well organized.  A calendar of events they are sponsoring is available online.  Last year the event was held at Rockbridge High School, but this year the event was moved to downtown.  I ran this event with some family members and we had a great time.  You can find that story at my other blog Running Ugly

This is me, number 1677, two of my daughters, and my favorite son-in-law.  It is fun to be active and healthy as a family.

A crowd shot of the finish line.

The announcer that cheered people on.  You can see how well organized the event was.  Registration proceeded without a hitch right up to the start and EVERYBODY got a t-shirt.

Another shot of the finish. 

Why pictures of the bathrooms?  Because it is important and you know that if you have ever raced.  There were FOURTEEN bathrooms for this event and I did not see a single person having to wait their turn.  I was very impressed.  

Pies, and yes they were all  kosher  (I checked) for people who placed.  I came in sixth in my age division so I went home hungry.

The Columbia Ultramax Sports store located on Broadway downtown. 

The pictures are a bit blurry.  I used an iPhone but I have one of those waterproof cases.  The area around the lens gets obscured with dust and lint. 

The running community is backed up with one of the best running clubs in America for a city our size.  The Columbia Track Club is active and puts on a lot of its own events, while helping with many others.  It also sponsors an annual summer track event for kids. The Calendar of events, including training runs for the Columbia Track Club is available online.   Tryathletics is a local small business that is also very much involved, and giving, to the community. I would be remiss if I did not mention them.

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Crossroads

Occasionally I focus on eateries located at the periphery of Columbia.  This one is noteworthy because it is close to Amish country near Sturgeon, Missouri.  If you want a day trip, a trip to the Amish community, and a meal at the Crossroads would be ideal.  Just keep in mind that the Amish close everything on Sunday.

Take 63 North heading out of Columbia to get there.  The Crossroads is located less than fifteen minutes north of Columbia at the  junction of 63 and state road 22.  My  parents love this place which is an example of good local home cooking Missouri style.  They are especially fond of the homemade pies.  I heard rumors that the place has changed hands recently but I have no idea if the menu has changed much, but I do know the pies are still available.  My father told me that the Crossroads was fixing around 75 of them for Thanksgiving.  Many of those pies were preordered, to be picked up for the Thanksgiving holiday and eaten at home.  These pictures are from this summer.

This is the intersection that has historically been called "the junction."  Across the street, just north and closer to the highway, used to be a truck stop which went through several iterations. 

The address is:  760 Highway 22, Sturgeon, MO 6528.  Let me know if the food is still good.  Running a restaurant is a tough thing to sustain at a quality level for a long period of time.   For various reasons owners, and quality, can come and go.  But, keep in mind that there are some places like this one where the locals do eat, and the food is good.