Friday, August 30, 2013

Fun in Warrensburg

I arrived in Warrensburg about 2 PM yesterday and was able to do an early check-in for a hotel room. Thus I was more than ready when I was picked up by Amy, the professor from Central Missouri University (CMU) who had brought students from this university to Poland this summer -- and then we all became teammates.

Amy took me first to the CMU campus. We went first to the library which also holds a small museum. In display cases along the hallway I could a peek at the huge collection of objects from Saudi Arabia held here. The museum director explained a couple associated with the university had lived in Saudi Arabia for many years and so collected many things, but most particularly from the Bedouin culture. This couple gave their collection to CMU, taking things out of the country with the permission of the Saudi government/royal family.

The picture above shows some coffee pots. I learned that a genuine coffee pot from this culture must have a spout that has the shape of a falcon's beak.

The museum is presently displaying a magnificent shell collection also donated to it.

Above is a small sample of what can be seen. This collection has been given to the museum by Mrs. A. P. Rohmiller of Forsyth, Missouri. An accompanying newspaper article says she lived her early years in Florida where she began collecting shells, but then obviously went on to collecting shells from around the world. Each is labeled in very small handwriting explaining the origin of the shell. I saw things from St. Croix, Australia, and even places I couldn't identify, such as P.I.

Next Amy took me to the English Language Center where she teaches and then on to the International Center. I was graciously introduced to many of her colleagues.

We then wandered through the Student Union.

This lovely atrium is in the center. The Union has so many things for students, from a cinema to a bowling alley.

Next we looked at outdoor spaces such as the golf courses.

Amy also took me to small city park honoring Blind Boone. This little city park has a sculpture of this famous musician and many other features for persons who have vision problems. A large sculpture of a harp is designed to play music when the wind blows above 15 mph. Another area has flowers with lovely aromas. When we spoke about this visit later in the evening one of the students said her 80 year old neighbor told her this formerly was the park for African-Americans in the days of segregation. It is wonderful that this space has a new legacy.

A visit to Warrenburg is not complete without also learning about "man's best friend."
Both the present day courthouse and the historic courthouse have a sculpture of a dog. That is because of a court case heard in Warrensburg in 1870. The court heard a dispute when a man's dog, Old Drum, was shot and killed by his neighbor. In a famous argument associated with this case, George Graham Vest said,"Gentlemen of the jury:The best friend a man has in this world may turn against him and become his enemy. His son and daughter that he has reared with love and care may prove ungrateful. Those who are nearest and dearest to us, those whom we trust  with our happiness and our good name, may become traitors to their faith. The money a man has he may lose. It flies away from him perhaps when he needs it the most. A man's reputation may be sacrificed in a moment of ill-considered action. The people who are prone to fall on their knees to do us honor when success  is with us may be the first to throw the stone of malice when failure settles its cloud upon our heads. The one absolutely unselfish friend that a man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, and the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is his dog." And so from this speech came the saying, "Man's best friend is his dog."

Soon it was time to go to the restaurant, Heroes, for our get together. All of the students could come on a Thursday night. So glad everything worked out.

I asked the waitress to take the photo so we could all be in the picture. She did a great job of getting seven in the same photo. We had such a wonderful time recalling our two weeks together. The CMU folks spent some time planning too for the two presentations they will make within the community about their experience.

We had arrived at 5:30 and the wait staff rather politely hinted that we should leave around 8:00! We walked down the street a little bit and then into a bar and upstairs to an outdoors patio. By this time the temperatures had cooled to just "balmy." We enjoyed another hour of conversation and I enjoyed a taste of Kansas City beer. A wonderful afternoon and evening in Warrensburg -- all because I went to Poland!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Visiting in Sedalia

I left Jefferson City around 10 AM on my way to Warrensburg, Missouri to see people who were with me in Poland this year. I couldn't meet anyone until 3:30 so decided to stop in Sedalia, a town right along the way. I had found on the internet that there is a small museum there in an old train depot. So glad I stopped.

The depot is a beautiful building. On the arcade I found three old, decorated pianos.

The one above is dedicated to gospel music.

Stepping inside I found a gift shop and a guide, probably a volunteer, anxious to tell me about the building. She explained that the room we were in had originally been the men's waiting room, a room to the left being the room in which women and small children would have waited for trains.

To my right was a room in which railroad staff could get food 24 hours a day. Then continuing on to the right would be the kitchen in which all food was prepared for the two dining areas in the hotel. The very last room was the public dining room. This room was used by train passengers, since when train service first began there were no dining cars. Secondly, it was the fanciest restaurant in Sedalia so if "you wanted to impress your boss or make a proposal to get married, this is where you came."

I enjoyed seeing the exhibits and the decor.
Above is the spectacular fireplace in the staff lunch room.

Here's how luggage used to look!

And this exhibit explained that we call something like this a trunk because the first ones were literally made out of tree trunks! I had never before wondered why we called something for moving personal goods or clothing a trunk.

Above is a menu from the 1950s.

And I learned that once there was a college in this town called George Smith for African-Americans. It operated for about 30 years, but ceased to operate in 1925 when it burned and funding could not be found to replace the buildings. Scott Joplin is one of the most famous students to attend this school.

In posters around the women's waiting room I learned this depot was built by the Missouri, Kansas and Texas railroad which traded on the stock exchange as KT and thus comes references today to the Katy trail and the Katy State Park. Sedalia was an important railroad town for many years because here the east-west traffic crossed the north-south traffic. At one time there even was a workshop for making train cars including train engines in Sedalia.

The depot closed in 1958 when the last passenger train rolled out of town. For the next 20 years it was used by the Boeing Company as a location related to its ballistic missile business. Then it sat vacant and deteriorating for about 30 years until it was restored by the community. I'm so very glad the community could save this valuable piece of history.

Walking in Jefferson City

I came to Jefferson City, Missouri to do a walk to fill up the J space in my Walking the USA book. When envisioning this walk, daytime temperatures in the 90s were not part of the plan!

So I was out the door of the hotel at 6 AM while it was still dark. I had figured out where the walk route came near to my hotel and started there. After walking about 20 minutes I came to the federal courthouse.

I walked all around this building trying to determine for whom it had been named. This name is Checkpoint 1 for the walk. I couldn't find a sign of any kind. (Later I did a Google search and found this federal courthouse is not named after anyone! Maybe this is a trick checkpoint.) Across the street is the old state prison.

This prison is no longer in operation and now is a museum, but a visit there didn't seem enticing. A guidebook for Jefferson City says when this prison opened in 1836 when the Battle of the Alamo was happening in Texas.

Up on this hill I also got a lovely early morning view of the Capitol.

A bit more walking brought me to the Greenway Trail.
Along this trail I continued to see signs warning of a hill.

I'd not ever been worried about walking 20 mph! And even if these signs were for bike riders, I didn't see any hills that were severe for bike riding.

And then when the trail ended I was faced with this hill! The walk route

with no warning about the severity of the climb!

Around 7 AM I found some outdoor activities.

This is a Junior ROTC group out exercising.

I found a high school band out practicing in a stadium.

Soon I ended up lost -- no street signs to tell me where to turn right. Love having Google maps on my phone. I walked through a hospital campus and then found my street and headed through a pleasant residential area.

I continued walking until I got to a point where the walk route started to return to the end/start point. I had walked all of that route on the day before when I went to this hotel for the walk map. So I elected to walk back to my own hotel. I had been walking for two hours and while the temperature was still less than 80 degrees (26C), the humidity was so high that my paper map was soggy.

The air conditioning at the hotel felt so good. I went to the coffee shop for a coffee and muffin. Then I hit the swimming pool and hot tub, and spent about an hour with my nose in a book.

Around 11:30 I went to the hotel restaurant. This is a delightful find. The view is wonderful.

And the food is wonderful.

Here's my lovely luncheon. And the service is magnificent. A restaurant like this is truly a blessing when the outside weather is unpleasant.

Later in the afternoon I did a bit more walking, moving slowly, slowly towards the Capitol. My goal was to do some of the route but also to enjoy the museum in the Capitol building.

The interior of the Capitol is beautiful.

The museum wanders about the first floor of the Capitol. I enjoyed the exhibits very much. I learned about Missouri people and history.

The flag above is a 32 star flag celebrating the admission of Kansas to the Union, and sign of the beginning of trouble. This is part of an exhibit associated with the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. I had recently seen a similar exhibit at the Minnesota History Center and was struck about how different the two exhibits are. The Minnesota view is definitely on the Union side and in particular celebrating the victory of the 1st Minnesota Regiment at the Battle of Gettysburg. The Missouri exhibit, on the other hand, documents how Missouri people were divided on the issue of slavery and the role the state should take in the Civil War.

I braved the weather, now with temperature in the 90s, and went back outdoors.

I stopped by the Lewis and Clark Monument.

This monument commemorates June 4, 1804 when the Lewis and Clark expedition encamped in this area.

Near this area are the beautiful Carnahan Gardens and the Governor's Mansion.

About at this time I discovered another difference between Minnesota and Missouri. I had walked around several commercial streets and the capitol area without finding any type of a coffee shop or something similar. I had thought I could end the afternoon relaxing that way. I found two pubs, with gatherings of men outside, which made me decide they weren't a place for me to relax!

Came back to the hotel and got soda and water from the stash in my car and relaxed in my room.

Later in evening I went up to the restaurant for a lovely dinner. A good day in Jefferson City even in less than pleasant weather! 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

100 Countries!

I am humbled to share that now readers from 100 countries, not counting also the United States and Puerto Rico have been reading my blog. I truly hope you find my observations about things that come into my life are interesting and helpful to you all.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

From Iowa to Missouri

This morning  I left Pella to drive to Jefferson City, MO. But the day started out with breakfast. At the end I helped a guest with a 2 month old baby to clear her table because her hands were full with the baby. Karma came back!

When started to put my luggage into the car, the car keys flew out of my hand and under the car, too far for me to reach. I went back into the hotel and asked for a broom to get them out from under the car. A gentleman at the office came with the broom and did that for me.

I went first to McDonald's to get coffee and to look at the map a bit. My phone was not working for this. Then I started out on following  U.S. 163 until it hit U.S 63 South and then following that. The area was beautiful, gentle rolling hills and still looking green even though the weather is very, very hot and dry.

When going through Bloomfield, IA I saw the courthouse and just had to stop for a picture.

 I'm not the only person who thinks it beautiful. A Google search found that the courthouse was built in 1847 and there is now a preservation group that is helping it to be a wonderful building for more and more years. Click here to learn more about this.

The courthouse sits in the middle of a square with stores around it on all four sides. Many of these buildings are very interesting, too.

And the blue car on the lower left is mine. Notice -- free parking in this city.

I stopped in Kirksville, MO at another McDonald's and had a smoothie about 90 minutes later. Then I continued to Columbia, MO and followed a sign to another McDonald's where I had a sandwich. I was glad to see that my phone now found T-Mobile again and I could use Google Maps for the rest of the drive.

I arrived in Jefferson City about 2:30 and checked into the hotel. I'm on the 12th floor with a bit of a view of the capitol building. I walked to another hotel in the 90 degree heat -- about 10 minutes each way -- to get the map for the walk in this city -- walking in a J city is the reason I came here. I figured out I could start from the hotel where I'm staying and make the whole loop for the walk, only by walking one extra block.

I relaxed after that and then went to the hotel restaurant on the floor above me. I should have taken the camera-- will do so tomorrow for the view is amazing! And the food was wonderful too. So a visit in Missouri is off to a good start.

Walking in Pella

Before leaving for Poland I made plans to do some traveling to pick up cities beginning with J and K for my Volksmarch Walking the USA book. I thought the late part of summer would be a lovely time for travel. Little did I anticipate that a record heat wave would hit the middle part of the United States during this time. Record yes! Right now the Minnesota State Fair is in operation and that last time it was this warm for the State Fair was 1948.

My choice for J is Jefferson City, Missouri. When planning this trip I decided to stop in Pella, Iowa on the way.

Pella was found in the mid 19th century by 800 immigrants from the Netherlands who sought religious freedom. They arrived here to find that the land corporation with which they had been dealing had not constructed the homes they were promised so they set out building log cabins and sod houses for shelter, and as they say: The rest is history.

Today Pella has a population of slightly more than 10,000 persons. It is home to Central College. The two leading industries are the Pella Corp, which is famous for windows and doors, and Vermeer Manufacturing, which makes industrial and agricultural equipment. During a museum visit I learned two inventions of Vermeer are the hoist that lifts up a wagon or truck box so it can be unloaded and secondly, the type of hay baler that produces the large round bales -- something I see in both the midwest of the United States as well as now in Poland

I arrived on a very hot day and made my first destination the convenience store from which the walk would start. I got the map for the 5 K.  Then I tried to spend another night getting off of Central European Time to Central US Time! I was well awake at 4 AM so ate a quick breakfast at 6 AM and then was off. The temperature was 72 (22 C) in the early morning as the sun was rising. When I started to take a photo of a building with the early morning sun making it so beautiful, my camera said: Change batteries. Oh sugar! I had left all the batteries at the hotel not remembering that the camera had been complaining about this when I left Poland -- that's why I bought batteries at Schiphol Airport. So, I just did the walk, took a couple pictures with my phone and tried to send them to friends, and was done by a few minutes after 8 AM when the temperature was still in the 70s.

Went to McDonalds for what in Poland might be called second breakfast and then came back to the hotel for bit to rest and to read the Pella travel guide and plan the rest of the day.

After lunch I went back to take some photos.

The central area of Pella has many buildings reminiscent of Dutch style and then some that look like late 19th century American style.

The middle of Franklin Street provides one the chance to see the Klonenspiel.

 Behind the tower are bells which play each quarter hour.

Through the arch is a pleasant courtyard.

The walls are lined with scenes made from Dutch tiles.

It can't be a Dutch town without a canal.

And elsewhere I found a tower celebrating the famous tulip festival held here during the first weekend of May. Every time I saw a flower garden I envisioned the space with tulips.

I noticed the Vermeer Mill was open so went exploring. What a wonderful tour. I learned that about 60 years ago people here began to notice that Dutch heritage was disappearing from the town, and so they began a concerted effort to retain and add to that heritage. One activity was to get a windmill -- a iconic building for the Netherlands.

I also learned that Dutch windmills are unique because they were originally designed by sailors who understood how to get power from the wind. The blades of Dutch windmills are different that what will find from other areas, because they have lattice work and incorporate the use of sails.

The windmill was constructed in the Netherlands using primarily peg construction, the type of construction used in the mid-19th century. Then it was taken apart and shipped to Pella. Meanwhile a brick base was constructed for the windmill, a base needed to raise the height the blades above the buildings in the town so that the wind power could be captured. A Dutch construction company sent a group of workers to Pella to reconstruct the mill.

I had no idea how a mill such as this really worked. It all begins daily -- and then many times each day, noticing which direction from which the wind is blowing.

The miller uses the flag to determine the direction from the wind is blowing. He then sets the brake, the pole colored red, white, and blue extending from the outward.

Then he uses a wheel such as one would find on a ship to rotate the cap of the mill so that the blades are in the correct direction to capture the wind.

An ideal wind for accomplishing work -- in the case, grinding wheat into flour, is between 5-15 mph. The miller can open sails to cover the lattice work if the wind is slight and more blade area is needed.

In the photo above the sails are rolled up along the edge of the blade.

The blades turn a large gear which operates the grindstones.

The mill includes housing for the miller for watching the wind all day is a full-time job.

After leaving the mill we stopped to see the Miniature Historical Village. This began as a WPA project during the Depression of the 1930s.

This scene, for examples, dates back to that time, but the one below was completed about 5 years ago, and work on other scenes continues at the present time.

We visitors then could do a self-guided tour for the outdoor buildings that have been collected on this site.

I found a log cabin.

Much to my surprise the guide materials said this cabin had been lived in until 1936.

And a workshop for making wooden shoes.

An interesting historical figure from Pella is Wyatt Earp. If you click on the link and read his biography as prepared by Wikipedia you may wonder why Pella wishes to claim him.

This is the house in which Earp spent his early years before his father moved the family to California.

My next visit during the afternoon was to the Scholte House. Scholte was the pastor and leader of group of immigrants who came from the Netherlands. He brought his second wife as well as three daughters whom he had fathered with his first wife who died before the journey began. He promised his wife a nice house and delivered.

Here is a view from the library which has the original rugs and wall paper, including what appears to be wall paper on the ceiling.

One interesting artifact is the money chest.

This chest carried the gold guilders with which the immigrants bought the land in Iowa.

Scholte was a huge supporter of Lincoln. The house museum has copies of encouraging letters he wrote Lincoln during the time of his presidency.

Another interesting item in the house is this candlelabra.

Scholte brought this to his wife as a gift when returning from Washington, D.C. after Lincoln's inauguration.

I had a nice day in Pella, a very interesting town. One can have fun even on a day with "excessive heat" with a bit of planning and a lot of air-conditioning!