The Lower Meramec River, which runs from Sullivan, MO to the Mississippi River, is not one of the most popular sections to paddle. If you enjoy lake paddling or exploring large rivers, you might want to take another look at the Lower Meramec. I paddled two sections recently and enjoyed it tremendously.
On August 27, 2016 I joined some other volunteers to participate in Operation Clean Stream, sponsored by the Open Space Council. On this day there were several locations we could pick from. I brought my own kayak this time so I chose a route that was not serviced by an outfitter.
I checked in at Castlewood State Park in Wildwood and met a great group of people at the put-in point on the beach. This fun and hard-working group of volunteers and I headed downstream toward our eventual takeout point at Green Tree Park in Kirkwood.
At one point I had to paddle upstream for awhile to go back to that sandbar because I thought I had lost an item there. It turned out I hadn’t lost it but I did learn one thing – it’s pretty easy to paddle upstream (perhaps up to Route 66 State Park?) so it’s possible to go for a solo paddling outing from here without worrying about a shuttle. Just paddle upstream for awhile then downstream again to get back to your vehicle.
Taking photos like those above could be hazardous to your safety if you are not careful! The current is pretty swift here so I probably should have concentrated on steering the kayak. It was pretty awesome to see all the logs stuck in and on the bridge from the Flood of 2015 which was of historic proportions – can you believe the water got that high? This bridge is not far from Simpson Lake, where I participated in flood cleanup in February.
I’m pictured at the left with Eric and Kim. On the right are Simon and Tim at the takeout point at Greentree Park, displaying part of our haul. It’s only about a six mile float from Castlewood State Park to Greentree, but it took us a good part of the day because we stopped a lot for trash. Trying to retrieve trash from a boat in a current will really test your paddling skills – you have to be able to maneuver in and out of tight spots, enter and exit frequently without tipping, be able to approach and dock alongside obstacles safely and have a good idea how far over you can lean to grab something. You’ll exercise different parts of your body than you’re used to – a great workout!
On August 14, 2016 I joined a number of other paddle sports enthusiasts at Ozark Outdoors Riverfront Resort in Leasburg, MO for a day of cleaning trash from the local streams as part of Operation Clean Stream. We had our choice of different route lengths. I selected the 9 mile route which placed me with a few recreational floaters on the Bluffs section of the Meramec River. Other volunteers who opted for shorter routes were taken to put-in points on the Courtois and Huzzah rivers. Ozark Outdoors provided breakfast, trash bags, vessels, paddling gear and transportation. At the end of the day we dropped off our trash and equipment on the beach at the resort. Since I was the only volunteer to choose the long route, I was one of the last if not THE last to finish.
It rained for nearly the entire day, which I didn’t find to be a bad experience at all. My nylon rain poncho eventually soaked through but it was warm enough for me not to get cold and my torso was warmed by my life jacket. The rain was quite soothing and beautiful and it’s nice to see the river in different conditions. Rainy weather proved to be no impediment to picking up trash, in a way it made it a little more pleasant because at least the trash was fairly clean! Every time I stopped to clean up a sandbar I had to bail out the canoe with a Gatorade bottle that I found but that was no big deal. I didn’t bring my phone because it doesn’t hold a charge very well these days so my only photo of the day is of the trash pile (at the end of this article) when I was able to recharge the phone enough to get a picture. The Ozark Outdoors Facebook Page has some photos of the event.
The Bluffs section is very scenic and I recommend it for a great float. I have floated that stretch before but did not use the same outfitter so my put in and take out points were not the same. Ozark Outdoors used land they own for both so I’m not exactly sure where the put-in point is on the map at the beginning of this article. It was at the former site of a resort called The Bluffs which no longer exists.
Ozark Outdoors is practically right across the river from Onondaga Cave State Park. If you’re camping at the park, the resort has a well-stocked store if you need to make a run for more provisions. The resort is large and has a lot of services – cabins, camping, pay showers, ample restrooms, canoe and kayak rental and more. The staff seemed to be organized, friendly and committed to promoting responsible enjoyment of our streams.
Moving sale: 50% off my entire inventory of handmade gifts and craft supplies!
Studio:art is closing and the more I sell the less I have to move!
Come to Studio:art at 7403 Manchester Road, Maplewood, MO before August 25 (the date I have to be out) and enjoy huge 50% off savings! You can pick out something for yourself or get an early start on your holiday shopping if you know someone who likes handmade things or makes art and crafts! Here is a sample of what I have on sale.
Jewelry findings, scrapbooking supplies, rubber stamping supplies and tools, paper crafting supplies!
Items handmade by Carolyn on sale: Bracelets from $5-8. Artwork from $4.50-32. Necklaces from $6-27. Earrings from $4-5.50. Ankle bracelets $4.25-7.50. Decorated wood boxes – $4.50-22. Ceramics – $6.50-27. Wood garden signs – $32. Greeting cards – $2-5. Decorated fabric bags – $3-32. Ornaments – $6-12.50. Matted 8 x 10 photos – $9.
Jewelry tools, stencils, brayers, more!
I’ll be adding more photos of sale items to my Instagram as I get them priced, but all my items are 50% off even if they aren’t marked yet – the studio manager knows to charge 1/2 price. I hope you can come and get some great deals!
I hope you can join me for my next class at my new Studio! Learn rubber stamping and other paper craft techniques as we make St. Patrick’s Day cards. Participants will be provided with enough paper and cardstock to make at least two cards, two different card sketches and written instructions to take home.
I will have paper, cardstock, templates, rubber stamps, punches, decorative scissors, ink, stamp pads, paper cutters, stamp mounting blocks, tape, glue sticks, tracing paper, embellishments and other tools and supplies available for you to use during the class. If you have any of the following tools or supplies, it would be helpful to bring them – there will be less wait to use tools if participants bring some – but it’s not a requirement. If you bring tools please mark them to indicate ownership.
Optional tool and supply list:
Clean scrap paper
Craft knife and blades (X-Acto or something similar)
Rubber stamps (St. Patrick’s Day or Celtic themes if you have any – spirals are good too)
Stamping ink pads and re-inkers in the following colors: Dark brown, shades of green
Acrylic stamp mounting blocks
Awl or needle tool
Small hole punch
If you have any questions about the class please feel free to contact me.
If you choose to pay ahead of time to get the discount for pre-paying, I will send you a PayPal invoice via email. Alternately if you prefer to pay by Square I can take your information over the phone. Credit card processing at the studio will be with Square. Beginner stampers are welcome. Children under 18 must be enrolled with a parent as I think parents are best able to judge their child’s ability level and what tools they should be allowed to use.
Supplies for the class are included in the class price. I will have some paper crafting supplies available for purchase the day of the class in case you see anything you want to add to your stash but you will not need to purchase anything additional to make the class project.
Crafternoon is a regular gathering of crafters who bring projects to work on while doing a bit of socializing with each other. Studio:art is hosting Crafternoon on February 2. I’ve been to a couple of these before and had a lot of fun. I hope you can join us!
Date: February 2, 2016 Time: 12-3 pm Location: 7403 Manchester Road, Maplewood MO, 63143 Fee: None, but bring your own refreshements
I’ve joined a new artists co-op in Maplewood Missouri and I am excited to invite you to our grand opening! It takes place Saturday, December 19 from 10am – 6pm. The address is 740 Manchester Road, Maplewood, MO 63143.
Local art and crafts (including some of mine) will be for sale, plus refreshments and a chance to win a $50 store gift card! It’s not necessary to RSVP, but if you’re a Facebook user you can RSVP at the event page or invite any of your friends that might be interested.
If you can’t make it on Saturday, the store retail hours are:
I hope you can join us for one or both of these events!
September 19, 2015 – Two Parties in One Place: Zwanze Day Spillover – Green Power Challenge Winner in Sutton Loop Park, Maplewood, Missouri. More information at the event link. I’ll be demonstrating Rubber Stamp Carving and Hand Stencil Cutting at the Studio: art tent from 12:00-5:00 pm.
October 29-31, 2015 – Miles of Possibility: The Edwardsville Route 66 Conference in Edwardsville, IL. See the event web site for details. I will be vending some of my hand-crafted items and giving a presentation on the topic of “Scrapbooking with Memorabilia”.
Here is a press release about an endangered historic bridge on Route 66 in Missouri:
“Hazelgreen, MO: Route 66 enthusiasts from all over the world will gather at 3:00 p.m. at the west end of the Gasconade River Bridge near Hazelgreen, MO on Saturday, March 14 to voice their support for a Missouri Route 66 and Ozarks icon, that being the bridge across the Gasconade River in Laclede County, Missouri. This ever-growing group of organizations and concerned individuals has worked tirelessly to save this bridge, including, at this point, seeking to have the bridge placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Over 200 people are expected to attend the rally. Having recently received notification that the bridge is indeed eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places, the Lebanon-Laclede County Route 66 Society (LL66), a 501(c)3 nonprofit, has come forward as this group’s supporting organization moving forward.
Following the 3:00 p.m. rally, attendees will meet with other activists, historic preservationists, members of the Route 66 Association of Missouri, Laclede County Government Officials and officials from the state to discuss the Gasconade River Bridge and what can be done to save this historic structure. This meeting will be held at 5:00 p.m. at the Lebanon-Laclede County Library, located at 915 S. Jefferson St. Everyone with questions, specific interests, or desired involvement in the bridge is welcome to attend. The intent of the meeting is to discuss plans of action, forming of a committee, and discussion of any developments or findings since the last rally in December 2014.
Despite the fact that it was relatively short-lived as a highway, US Highway 66 (Route 66) is, without a doubt, the most famous road in America. It is important in the history of US transportation as the first national highway linking Chicago and Los Angeles, but its significance in American history is much more far-reaching. Route 66 is symbolic of the major changes in American life during the first half of the 20th Century. These changes included the proliferation of automobiles, the development of roadside culture, and the westward migration of Americans during the depression and post-war years. However, more than anything else, Route 66, the Main Street of America, the Mother Road, has become an icon of progress, hope, opportunity and adventure in America.
One of the reasons Route 66 is such a strong visual and physical experience is because of the way it was designed and engineered. Unlike new interstate highways, which are more efficient and meant to handle thousands of cars at high speeds, Route 66 has a more human scale, and as a result, people feel more physically connected to it. It is narrower, tends to have grassy shoulders (which means less pavement) and motorists can drive it more slowly without slowing the flow of traffic. As a result, the landscape unfolds instead of whisks past.
Scenic Byway Routes like Missouri Route 66 have value not only for aesthetics and preservation, but also as a way to promote desirable forms of tourism and increase income in regions. Foreign and domestic tourists alike are interested in visiting the various points of interest, and the natural wonders of the physical and cultural environment offered along the Missouri Route 66 Corridor. Economic development opportunities in the Laclede County Route 66 Corridor are greatly based on corridor travel experience, as well as land uses and infill opportunities in the various communities.
Intact bridges may be contributing features of large historic landscapes, or may be considered as individual resources. Intact bridges and individual sections of roadway may be representative of early engineering, workmanship and changes in road-building techniques during the period of significance, and of common patterns of use. These resources are important as tangible links with specific events and emerging technologies, such as completion of the first stretch of 4-lane highway Route 66 in Missouri, as well as for their overall role in the development of the highway system. The presence of intact historic roadways and bridges can also serve to strengthen connections between other types of resources, such as landscapes and groups of buildings.
The Gasconade River Bridge is significant because of its actual experience of the road, the kinesthetic experience that is dependent upon a sense of place created by intact landscapes as a contributing property along Route 66.
The Gasconade River Bridge has the ability to evoke a sense of place and experience. This historic structure, dating to 1924, is fully intact and reflects its period of significance, making it a perfect candidate for the National Register of Historic Places. The goal of this group of concerned citizens, passionate Route 66 enthusiasts/preservationists is to ensure the restoration and preservation of this historic Route 66 Bridge.
“This bridge personifies Route 66 through the Ozark region,” states Roamin’ Rich Dinkela. “Even if you’ve never heard of Route 66 you know when you see this bridge that you’re seeing a living part of history. Much like the Chain of Rocks Bridge in St. Louis, this structure reels in people from all over the world. I know it sounds crazy, but people young and old have a hunger for history. What will they learn about if this bridge and others like it are replaced with homogenized, sterilized, lifeless concrete structures? Nothing! They’ll see it in a book and wish they could have experienced it. As they thirst for more knowledge about our historical byways, they will gravitate toward the regions that make preservation a priority. We can do this; we can save this bridge.”
Tens of thousands of tourists, mostly traveling abroad from other continents, descend upon the Mother Road ANNUALLY to live and experience the past. To these tourists, it’s the dream of a lifetime. Replacing the bridge with a modern structure would alter the canvas of Route 66 through the Ozarks, consequently interrupting that dream. According to a Rutgers University study released in 2012, more than 5 million people live and work along Route 66, more than 85% of Route 66 tourists visit historic places and spend over $38 million a year in Route 66 communities! Route 66 tourism boasts annual gains of $262 million in overall output. Our historic landmarks and pieces of infrastructure such as the Gasconade River Bridge should be kept available for tourists to experience.
Samples of testimony from around the world:
Anja and Wolfgang Werz (Germany): “Several thousand tourists from Germany traveled each year the Route 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica. An important reason for them is to ride on the trail of American history, including historic bridges such as the Gasconade River near Hazelgreen, MO. If all the historic attractions of Route 66 are gradually removed, it is for the tourists no longer interesting to come to the U.S. and travel The Route 66.”
Monique and Willem Bor (Netherlands): “Many tourists from the Netherlands like to drive the Route 66 and see all the old buildings, bridges and stretches off Route 66. Please be careful with the remaining attractions because else tourist will no longer be interested in Route 66. Lately many old motels are disappearing, they were demolished or they burned down. Preservation is very important so… preserve the historic Gasconade Bridge!! Be proud of what’s still there!”
Publicity is the most instrument force we can ask for. We want to make sure our community is seen and heard. Missouri’s historic infrastructure is important, and right now it’s in the most critical condition. Our leaders need to recognize the need for maintenance and preservation of our aging highway system. While we still have these historical structures around, it’s imperative we preserve them for the sake of our growing communities. It’s not just a bridge, it’s not just a road, it’s a landmark. People tell stories about it, pay thousands of dollars, fly thousands of miles to see it, and they marvel over it. What will we leave behind for our children? Help us fix our historic structures. Help us get the attention of Jefferson City and Washington DC. We look forward to seeing you at the rally!
For the last several months I’ve been working part time at Schnarr’s Hardware in Ladue, MO. Part of the work I do there is helping with marketing. In order to attract potential customers to our web site and social media outlets, I wrote up a Recycling Guide and created the graphic above to make links to it easier to share in social media. I also made a short url and QR code for those on the go or who only see the graphic and can’t click it.
This project is an example of content marketing. Content marketing is a way to build a relationship with potential customers by providing information that is relevant to them. I tried to make the content of the Recycling Guide relevant by including information on how to recycle items we sell in the store or items that are closely related.
Content marketing can be effective when other forms of advertising are getting overlooked. If you think about what your customers need to make their lives easier it can help you think of ideas for content marketing.