Ha Ha Tonka — It’s No Joke


Missouri Day Trip: Ridgedale to Kansas City

Ha Ha Tonka State Park                                                                  Roadtrippers Map
Lake of the Ozarks
Closest Town: Camdenton, Missouri
About 158 miles from Kansas City and 178 miles from St. Louis
As with all Missouri State Parks, it is dog-friendly

From their brochure:
With its intriguing history and outstanding geologic features, Ha Ha Tonka State Park is one state park that should not be missed.  The park is a geologic wonderland with sinkholes, caves, a huge natural bridge, sheer bluffs, and Missouri’s 12th-largest spring.  The ruins of a turn-of-the-century stone castle overlook those wonders and offer impressive views of the Lake of the Ozarks and Ha Ha Tonka Spring.

 
 

I’ve wanted to visit this Missouri State Park for several years — it’s an Instagram favorite. It’s best known for its castle ruins, and its beautiful location at the top of a hill overlooking the Lake of the Ozarks. It’s easily explored via trails, boardwalks, and staircases.  And many stairs. Lots of stairs. Still … that’s better than blazing your own trail.

Continue reading

Disturbing Sculptures Art Gallery — It’s a Real Place

Disturbing Sculptures Art Gallery (that’s really the name)
1100 Highway 101
Crescent City, California

Well, if you’re gonna name your art gallery “disturbing,” you’d better deliver. And this Northern California roadside attraction earns its name. One minute you’re cruising north on Highway 101, almost to the Oregon state line and promised nirvana, and the next minute you’ve U-turned so fast your dog yelps.

 

According to a Roadside America article, this gallery is the home of 3 artists, two of whom appear to be quite normal (driftwood sculptures and chainsaw sculptures). But the third, who luckily was not on-site the day I visited, has some issues.

Continue reading

Roadtrippin’ the Palouse – A Wanderer’s Guide to the Rolling Hills of Eastern Washington

This was Days 16-20 of a fabulous Fall road trip a couple of years ago. This leg was Seattle to Ellensburg to Pullman, Washington — 289 miles. If you fly, Spokane is the closest airport.

Holiday Inn Express, Pullman, $121/night with a AAA discount + $20/night pet fee. Nice, recently-renovated hotel. Big room; lots of green space to walk the dog, and they don’t mind if you leave the dog in the room (they even give you a tag for the door that says Do Not Disturb/Dog Napping) (love that!). Located close to Washington State University, so be sure to book in advance on football game weekends. This is football country!

I’d wanted to visit The Palouse, famous for its photogenic landscapes, for years and finally made it part of my long roadtrip home (the move from California back to my home state, Missouri).  Most photographers visit in the spring when the rolling hills of eastern Washington are like green velvet, but I think Fall in The Palouse is absolutely gorgeous, in a whole other beautiful way. I was there towards the end of October, long after the wheat harvest, and I used Pullman as my headquarters and spent 4 days wandering aimlessly around The Palouse, which I highly recommend. If your time is more restricted there are lots of local photographers there who offer photo tours, but I really enjoy wandering.

Fair warning: I include a LOT of highway shots from behind the wheel. I do it to remember the journey, and hopefully share the thrill of discovery. You can discover the beautiful red barn when I do, resting peacefully just off the highway in a beautiful field, or perched precariously near the highway curve because it was there long before the highway interrupted.

Continue reading

Ghost Signs (who you gonna call?)

It seemed wonderfully appropriate to arrive in Butte, Montana on Halloween, since I sought out this historic mining town for its architecture and, especially, for its many ghost signs. Ghost signs are painted billboards on the sides of decades-old buildings and, like decades-old people, some have survived better than others. There’s a conscious effort in Butte (and in Port Townsend, Washington and Eureka Springs, Arkansas) to preserve these artistic beauties as time capsules from the past. Nearly 100 of them survive in Butte, in varying conditions. A few of my favorites —

Continue reading