] Around Columbia: 2014

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.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Greenbriar Extension Completed

My last post was about the construction of the Greenbriar extension which I found out about by accident when work had just started in 2012.  For that last post you have a visual tour that runs roughly from north to south.  This tour runs from south to north, in the opposite direction, on the completed extension.
The Katy Trail itself runs a little over 264 miles across Missouri from Clinton in the west to Machens Missouri in the East.  Columbia's own MKT trail connects to the Katy trail, and the MU Recreation Trail connects to that. The Greenbriar extension connects the south west section of Columbia to the MU Recreation trail.  More specifically, it connects to the  Hinkson Creek Trail section of the MU Recreation Trail.  Sounds confusing?  It is.  The trail system is complex until you get to know it.

The extension starts on the south side at the corner of Greenbriar Drive and Green Meadows Circle. Not Green Meadows Street, the longer street everyone is familiar with that runs east and west past the Beth Shalom synagogue, but is a little semi-circular street behind the better known thoroughfare.  You take Greenbriar Drive heading north, to get to the Greenbriar extension. The pictures for the following tour were taken on a bicycle ride about an hour ago.  I am on this section of the trail you are looking at (walking, running or bicycling) at least three times a week.  Even during the winter when it is ice and snow covered.  The Greenbriar extension is centrally located so  you can access both sides of Columbia, and the down town/Mizzou campus area, with relative ease.

This is where the extension starts on Green Meadows Court about one mile from my house.

 It is pretty much down hill all the way until you get to the extension that opens up between two house just before Greenbriar ends at a cul de sac.You make a right onto the extension.

Now it gets a little steep, but the trail is beutifully done.   Watch out for the blind corners - you really can't see anyone coming up on you from any direction on this first switchback!

This is the view looking down from where I took the first photograph.

Here is pretty much the same view from a different angle.

I have just ridden past the bridge, seen in the last two pictures.

Here is another switchback that was just hidden from view in the last picture. Still riding down the hill. The visibility on this switchback is not a problem.

Onto the level area.  This particular part of the trail is always lush and green.

There is some whimsical bicycle art along this stretch.  I will show you one, and leave it up to you to spot t he rest of them. Make sure to look up, to the left, and to the right.

The whole extension is a bit more than a quarter mile.  Here it ends at the Mizzou trail which connects to the Katy Trail further down the road. The MIzzou tennis courts are just out of sight in this view, partially obscured by the trees in the right hand corner of the picture,  but about another two hundred yards north.

This sign is visible from the last picture but now I am at the end of the extension ready to ride back up. So, I am heading back from where I came from in the other direction. I wanted to show you the sign because it has the directions, and distances.

As I said in my last post, the trail system in Columbia keeps getting better and better.

It seems that Google Maps now provides most of the trail details.  You can follow Greenbriar on the map until you get to the extension, and then follow the extension to the rest of the trails.

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