The Unexpected Rain Show

Friday, October 31, 2008 -- near Warsaw, MO.

I heard a low rumbling... off in the distance. What was that?

It was 6:30am and I was just starting to stir from a good nights sleep. Then I heard it again. It's thunder. But it can't be thunder -- there was no prediction for rain. What the heck?

I hopped out of bed, fired up the internet router, turned on my computer, and made coffee while everything booted up. There's definitely lightning off to the west and there's definitely a storm out there, regardless of what the weather service predicted.

A few minutes later, with fresh hot coffee in hand, I was on the Weather Underground website (the site I default to for weather information) and, sure enough, there's one little line of showers, barely visible on the national map, right there in the middle of Missouri. There's not another radar echo from another drop of rain anywhere for a thousand miles around. But we are lucky enough to be in the one little spot of sporty weather.

In this case, I sincerely mean lucky. We were treated to a most amazing show of colors, contrasts, and sounds during the next couple hours. The sun was rising in the east while the storm was approaching from the west. The area where we're camped is covered with oak trees. Most oaks resist giving up their leaves in the fall and these are no exception. And these leaves, still on the trees, are the most amazing combination of bronze, brown, red, orange, and a bit of residual green. The color can't be easily described and it's all over, it surrounds you, it's everywhere. Normally, at sunrise or sunset, the reddish low sunlight, shadows, and colored leaves produce a show that shouldn't be missed. But throw in the dark clouds of a storm, the rolling, rumbling thunder, and the sound of rain and dislodged acorns hitting the top of the bus-house -- well, it was an experience I'll remember for a while. Who needs TV for entertainment when experiences like this are all around us?

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Yesterday, Thursday, we went into Sedalia exploring for a bike trail we'd heard about. Some years ago, the State of Missouri purchased a railroad right-of-way from the remains of the MKT Railroad. MKT stands for Missouri, Kansas, and Texas -- and it became known as the Katy Line -- get it, MKT --> KT --> Katy?

Anyway, the State had the tracks pulled up and a recreation trail put in. Known as the Katy Trail, it extends 225 miles from Clinton, MO to St. Charles, MO. For much of that distance it follows the Missouri River.

The trail runs right through Sedalia. We found it, mounted up, and rode about 18 miles toward the southwest. This is my preferred biking experience as I don't enjoy the tension that accompanies sharing a roadway with cars, trucks, and motorhomes driven by old blind guys. Give me a dedicated bike trail and I can ride for hours, or at least until my leg muscles lock-up.

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Today, Friday, we might go exploring for a small town that's just on the other side of the lake. It's named "Tightwad". It'll be worth the gas to get that picture.

T
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