Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Day Trip - Montrose Chicken Feast

Every Labor Day, the Catholic Church in Montrose, Missouri, has a cḥicken dinner, served family style in the basement of the school building.   We've been attending for years, ever since it was held out at St. Ludgers in Germantown (a place with much Civil War history).  For $10, we got fried chicken, mashed potatoes & gravy, stuffing, green beans, cole slaw, a slice of pie, and iced tea.  This is a popular event, and attendees can spend quite some time in the church sanctuary awaiting their number to be called.  A couple of years ago, we figured something out - arrive early, buy the tickets, than take a gallivant through the countryside.  This is the story of this year's gallivant, with emphasis on the plight of certain small towns.   If you want to follow along, get out your map.

We left  about 8:30, got a  cinnamon roll and a Pepsi in Warrensburg, and headed out via BB, SW 200 Rd, MO-58, O, MO-2 and N for our first stop, Blairstown.   This town is much deteriorated from the days when the Wall Store was the largest gun and reloading supplies dealer in this part of Missouri.  Even the buildings that once housed the store are gone.  We took pictures:

 An abandoned church in Blairstown, no sign of its original denomination.

 The feed store, being taken over by vines.

 The Scott Memorial Park building, fading from memory

 The park building, another view.  At least the grass was mowed.

From Blairstown, we headed out on N west to B, B south to Urich, then K south to H, H east to Montrose, where we bought our dinner tickets.  Then it was MO-52 south to A, then H south , crossed the Osage at Taberville, and west on Y.  We turned north on AA to Schell City.  The houses here seem well-kept, but the business district is essentially vacant.  Again, we took pictures:

Part of the old business row in Schell City

A large building, abandoned and waiting for the vines to engulf it 

 Close-up of the large building.  At first I thought it may have been a school, but now I think it was a hotel with businesses on the bottom floor.
Another collapsing building.  Most of the wall graffiti is gone, but for this scratched-in battle flag.

Vines made an interesting pattern on the building wall

Left Schell City heading for Appleton City via M north to B, east to W, and north to MO-52.  Appleton City seems to be surviving moderately well as an Ag center.  After a comfort break, it was on to Montrose for that excellent chicken dinner.

Well-stuffed, we headed east on MO-52 to Deepwater.  En route we passed this icon of  the people's distaste for their rulers:

If you can't see it, the upper level says "politicians"and the bottom, "voters"

Deepwater is another small town that has seen better days.  The old school is abandoned and partially falling in.  The Labor Day picnic was just about over, with the dunk tank the only visible activity.  We took some pictures of the school:

Broken windows in the school gym

The gym had become a community auditorium - don't try to visit it now

North on MO-13 to Clinton, where we avoided the long waits at the the stoplights (it always backs up as folks head home to KC after a weekend at the lakes).  While we'd seen several Confederate Battle Flags earlier, this Rebel took things a bit farther, guarding it with small statues on his door step.

Look carefully, there's a statue visible near the end of the porch.

Home via Leeton (MO-13, CC, MO-2) , where the cafe seems to be closed/for sale again - but the town does have a bar.   Home via county roads about 3 PM. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Fennboree 2016

We'd planned our annual trip Southwest around our April 30th anniversary, but when we heard when Fennboree was scheduled, we move the whole schedule by about a month so we could attend.  For those who are wondering what kind of festival a Fennboree is, it's a gathering of folks who are hunting for the treasure chest a retired fighter pilot and art dealer named Forrest Fenn placed somewhere in the Rocky Mountains north of Santa Fe.  The clues are contained in a cryptic poem published in 2010 in a book called "The Thrill of the Chase"; it's a lot harder than the first look would indicate, since tens of thousands of people have been looking for it for 6 years now.  Want to know more?  Google "Forrest Fenn treasure."

We've been involved in this rather Herculean quest since 2013, when friend Theresa called to tell us that a $ million hunt was covered on a station we don't watch; she was home to watch TV only because Leeton had a snow day.  It looked easy; we took a ride on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railway, then headed for the Abiquiu area where we thought it might be from reading assorted blogs.  After a couple of nerve-wracking jaunts on slick wet-clay roads, we realized it wouldn't be that easy.

In 2014 the first Fennboree was held at a semi-primitive camp at the Gallina Canyon Ranch, hosted by "Desertphile" (blog name).  You can read of our experience there at our 2014 Trip story.  After that experience, we'd had enough of tent camping, so we skipped the 2015 event (which turned out a mite muddy, we understand).

The 2016 event was held the weekend after Memorial Day, in Hyde Memorial State Park, at 8500 or so feet in the Sangre de Cristo Range north of Santa Fe.  After our museum visits in Santa Fe & lunch at The Shed, we checked out the location for the Friday evening campfire get-together.  Then it was back to Santa Fe & the Silver Saddle Motel to check in, offload what wasn't needed, pick up some beer & ice, and head back up the mountain to party.  What transpired then - look at the pictures.

Left the party about 9, dodged a big muley on the way down, and hit the hay.  Up early in the morning, breakfast at Weck's, a visit to Museum Hill, and back for the cookout and fun and games.  A few observations:  parking was tight, glad we got there fairly early.  There was plenty of food, and those who stayed late took some home.  Game prizes ranged from a $100 map down to a Fennboree coffee cup.  Forrest Fenn himself was present for both Friday's & Saturday's event.  Sacha & Cynthia did a bang-up job organizing it.  A film project about the Chase included filming of events and interviews with principal figures in it.

One of the special things about the event was seeing other searchers we'd met at previous events; a lunch in 2013, Fennboree in 2014 and a party last year.  We also were able to put faces to many we'd met on the Chasechat blog and sometimes saw on Dal Neitzel's blog.  In any case, here's an album of pictures - 186 strong (I'm going to go back & identify some of the people, help is appreciated).  They'll expand if you click on them. Enjoy.

Bill's Friday Pictures:

Desertphile joins Jeff's selfie

Sandra & Julie getting 'interviewed'

Sandra's Friday Pictures

Now for Bill's Saturday's pictures: