Posts Tagged ‘Missouri River’


A Monumental Walk

May 30, 2016 Linda Burton posting from Jefferson City, Missouri – The bunny is still there. Remember the bunny I mentioned, who held so still as I approached the Lewis & Clark Trailhead Plaza three years ago? Bunny was intent on clover today and paid me no mind. I was determined to get a good picture of Mr Lewis and Mr Clark and had brochure in hand to explain every detail. The monument is called the Corps of Discovery and the sculptor was Sabra Tull Meyer; the entire work consists of five figures – four men and a dog; the figures all together weigh 2000 pounds. There is so much interesting information in the brochure I won’t even attempt to paraphrase; I’ll give it to you straight. Four men and a dog!

30 Walk Lewis ClarkInformation provided by City of Jefferson Lewis & Clark Task Force. The four men constituted the “Captains’ Mess” during the up-river voyage in 1804. Pictured in order going left to right are York, Meriwether Lewis, Seaman, William Clark, George Drouillard. Are you familiar with York, and Drouillard? » read more


Hit The Trail

Linda Burton posting from Arkadelphia, Arkansas – Sacagawea was the original backpacker. She just slapped that little baby Pomp onto her back and struck out across the hills. The only female in the (likely) crude and smelly crew of Men on a Mission for the President, she trekked westward with skill and patience, all the while nursing a baby and nurturing them all. Reckon she ever thought she’d be famous? With a statue of herself and her baby in Statuary Hall in our national capitol? And that she and Pomp would be portrayed on a US Treasury gold dollar? (The only baby featured on a coin, by the way.) I love the story of this woman, who has more schools and creeks and monuments named to her honor than any other woman in the United States. That’s why I am particularly honored myself to have my picture of her statue featured on a US National Park poster. No fooling! Ryan Cooper, a geographer for the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail, asked my permission to use a photo from my August 27, 2012 blog, He Called Her Janey, written while I was in Bismarck, North Dakota. “I want to use it on a poster celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016,” he explained. I was pleased to grant him that permission. And I am pleased to share with you the poster he created. Isn’t it great?

Ryan’s 2016 Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail campaign is available for you to follow on Facebook and other social media. And to learn more about this 3,700-mile trail that passes through 11 states and includes more than 100 sites, go to the NPS website, How close is the site nearest you? » read more


Jeff City

23 jeff city skylineLinda Burton posting from Jefferson City, Missouri – The City of Jefferson. That’s the official name of Jefferson City, although locals affectionately call it Jeff City, or just home. Somebody wanted to name it Missouriopolis, way back in its beginnings, but it wound up being named for Thomas Jefferson; I’m sure schoolchildren learning to spell are glad of that. If you’re wondering why such a small city in such an out-of-the-way place is the designated state capital, the answer is found in the 1820 constitution of the soon-to-be-state of Missouri. Under Article X, Of the Permanent Seat of Government, the General Assembly was directed to name five commissioners to select a site for a capital city, with the stipulation “that no place shall be selected which is not situated on the bank of the Missouri River, and within forty miles of the mouth of the river Osage.” Rivers were the highways of the frontier, you see, “forever free to the citizens of this state and of the 25 flagsUnited States;” waterways carried the freight and passengers pushing west. The spot chosen is actually 18 miles from the mouth of the Osage; and although a few overrides of that dictum have been tried over the years; here it remains. Jeff City is what you have in mind when you think of the ideal small town; American flags fly permanently from every street post; flower pots grace the sidewalks where outdoor tables invite you to sit and eat. On weekends, traffic lights are set to blinking red, making them four-way stops; no hurry; no wasted time. It has a 60’s look, in fact, that’s the idea. I’ve heard that a purring cat in your lap lowers blood pressure by ten points; I say so does a sidewalked town, with trees, and benches, and petunias. » read more


Now You’re Cooking

Linda Burton posting from Pierre, South Dakota – “We should make some Indian tacos while she’s here,” said Janelle to Mel. I’d been standing at the front desk for a while, asking the questions I usually ask when I get to my new town; what do you enjoy doing; where do you like to shop; what’s your favorite thing to eat? Janelle had already told me that at her family get-togethers, it’s Indian tacos. Now she’s introduced me to Mel, the Manager here, and they are coming up with more ideas. “We have a lot of fishermen who stay with us regularly,” Mel said, “And they always do a big fish fry while they’re here, right outside.” She pointed to the open area just beyond the hotel door, out by the wicker chairs. “That sounds awesome,” I said, “when will they be here again?” A quick calculation and Mel determined that their visit just might coincide with mine. I hope it does. A bodacious fish fry out in the yard, some homemade Indian tacos; now you’re cooking, Pierre. » read more


Lay of the Land

Linda Burton posting from Bismarck, North Dakota – I vaguely remember crossing the Missouri River coming into town on Friday; the GPS was on the blink so I was paying more attention to road signs than anything else. I also vaguely remember crossing a Time Zone advisory; it happened just a few miles before I got to town. For a reason I don’t know yet, half of North Dakota is on Mountain Time; the other half on Central. So, to orient myself, I’m on Central Time now, I’m east of the Missouri River; and I’m in the prairie. It is flat here. From the top of the freeway overpass I can see a hundred miles in every direction. Flat. Today I’m studying the map I got from the front desk. The weather report I hear on TV refers to Bismarck-Mandan; studying the map I can see why. Bismarck is in Burleigh County; Mandan is just across the river in Morton County to the west. But for purposes of weather, and entertainment, they seem to function as one and the same. The State Capitol (in Bismarck) is only blocks from I-94, take State Street south, turn right. It’s the first high-rise capitol on the Journey, 19 stories rising up above the plains. The Heritage Center, North Dakota’s state museum, is right beside. I see that the Bismarck Expressway circles south below the main part of town and over into Mandan; another bridge across the Missouri. » read more


Now and Then


Linda Burton posting from Helena, Montana – You can’t throw a rock around here without hitting something named Lewis and Clark. Helena is the county seat of Lewis and Clark County; the Lewis and Clark National Forest is all around. It’s no wonder their names are everywhere, because Meriwether Lewis and William Clark had quite an impact on this part of the country. And this part of the country had an impact on them, as we can read in their journals. We have the Missouri River to thank for their visit; one might say that in travel and exploration, mountains are walls and rivers are the roads through them. The Missouri River road brought Lewis and Clark (and Sacajawea) here; between July 16, 1805 and July 24 to be exact; their Journal entries tell us what they saw, what they did, and how they felt about it all. Lewis writes that they killed a buffalo near the river on July 16, and dined on it for breakfast. On the 17th he notes the sunflowers blooming abundantly in the river bottom. The next day he writes of his eagerness to meet up with the Shoshone as he hopes to get information from them. But it’s the entry of July 19 that stirs excitement for me today, as I head for the “gates of the mountains,” to see what Captain Lewis described in his journal. » read more


Life With Brian

Linda Burton posting from Helena, Montana – “On your left you’ll see two deer in the yard,” said Brian, as our tour train rounded the corner two blocks from the capitol. I thought he was joking, pointing to a yard with fake deer for effect. But one of the deer moved its head. Everyone scrambled left, cameras clicking. It was deer, all right; two deer sitting by the hedge on the lawn of an ordinary yard in this downtown residential area. One a speckled fawn? Too cute! “Some people put flower guards out to protect their tulips from being eaten by the deer,” Brian continued, as we rounded yet another corner to stop before the governor’s home. Brian pointed out the designs in the glass door, and then around another corner we went, waving at the neighbors in their yards. It was a sunny morning, and the Last Chance Tour Train was packed; half of us tourists and half locals who wanted to show off their town in the sweetest way possible – on a tweetsie little train driven by a history teacher in an engineer’s hat, delivering interesting facts with a sometimes humorous twist. » read more