Thursday, October 29, 2015

October 15


On the 15th, my better half and our daughter joined me in Missouri/Kansas for the weekend portion of the birthday celebrations.  I picked them up at the airport.  Hooray for plenty of peaceful places to park, right on airport property, while we wait for that cell-phone call which lets us know our party is ready to be picked up!

Before we went to my parents', my daughter had a meeting (for her job) just northeast of the airport.  We dropped her for her meeting, and then we proceeded to a park she found for us, a mere five minutes from where she needed to be.

October is a lovely time to visit this part of the country.  In the summer, it's just too hot.  But in October, you're likely to get comfortable temperatures, blue skies, interesting clouds, and some bright foliage.

The pic above was taken from the parking lot of the Smoke and Davey trailhead, which leads to trails around the eastern side of Smithville lake.

A generous woman I met in the parking lot shared her experience -- "Take the very first dirt trail that peels off the paved trail, and it leads right to the lake.  There are flat rocks -- I'm going to bring my husband here, on the weekend, and we'll sit and drink our coffee!"

We followed her advice.  After a lot of backing and forthing and upping and downing, over rough trails with many tree roots and many more loose rocks, we found ourselves here. 

That nice woman in the parking lot mentioned that she had seen lots of vultures.  She said that her photographic challenge for the week was "beauty in ugliness," and that vultures were perfect!

She also said it was hard to get close to them, as they would leave if you got too near.  See the vulture at the right, in the next image?

Looking down at the lake from those big yellow rocks.

Looking straight out, from that same position.

Looking to the right.

We walked on.  The trail more or less followed the shore of the lake.  There were vultures on the other side of the little bay in the first of these lake pics.

A closer crop of the above.

A look at the lake from where we stood looking at vultures.

Closer crop of the above.  You can see the bridge we drove over to get to the park.  The entrance to the parking lot where we left our car is just to the right of the bridge (not visible in this image).

The place we stood on rocks and first looked at the lake is somewhere above the word "rocks" in this next image.  I'm not sure just where we were.

One last vulture.  Or  maybe this has been the same one, three times, who knows..........

Closer crop of the above, lightened up significantly.  They have big feet with long toes.............

The dirt trail we'd been following met a paved trail.  We were amused to have traffic control indications on trails in the park. 

It must be far busier, sometimes, than it was when we were there.  I think we saw about six other people in the most-of-an-hour we were there. I think all of them were women.  Some with dogs, some with other women, some alone.  It felt like a friendly and safe place to be.

And pretty, did I say it was pretty?  Most of the time we could hear traffic from outside the park, but there were times when we could not.  I am always glad when I can hear nature noise, rather than people noise............

We followed the paved trail back toward the parking lot.  There were wide mowed areas on each side of much of the paved trail.  This plant is one I do not recognize.  It was sort of shrubby, but had a ferny light-weight look, from a distance of several yards.

A closer look.

Back at the parking lot.  I have rented a car, the last few times I've been in Kansas.  It's good to be able to get where you need to go, under your own steam.

This is my least favorite of the vehicles I've rented on these trips.  It drove like a boat (squashy handling, rather than the crisp response I'm used to from our Nissan Versa).  It had far less passenger room than our car, even though it was bigger on the outside.  It did have a much bigger cargo space, and it did have a back-up camera.  But aside from those two niceties, I didn't like it. I wouldn't have one of these if you gave it to me.  It makes me sad -- I want to think that American car companies are doing good work.  But if this is the evidence, I'd have to say ... no.  On the other hand, I know that what I want, in most categories of things, seems to be quite different from what most people want, so maybe this is just what Detroit should be building.

Much better to look at the big blue sky than to think about cars, manufacturing decisions, or the weird stuff most people seem to want!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A beautiful day!

We picked up our daughter from a friendly and productive meeting, and headed south toward family.

We stopped for lunch at Heirloom Bakery and Hearth, which my daughter found online.  It was interesting and the food was tasty.  As you can see, tables and wallcoverings were made from reclaimed wood.  There are skylights.  Lots of light, congenial company, tasty food.......  A pleasant lunch.

I parked behind my parents' place in their retirement community.  There are three high-rise apartment buildings, in addition to a lot of smaller buildings with two or more ground-level housing units.  Each of the high-rise buildings has a nice big dining room.  The one in this building is near that oval window on the top floor.

Beautiful sky!

The view from my parents' deck.

One of my mom's roses bloomed while we were there.  I like this backlit image, but I wish I also had taken one that showed the flower better.  And wouldn't it be nice if I could share the scent as well as the look of this excellent bloom?

Here's what the sky looked like when we went to dinner!  Wow!

I've seen clouds lined up in stripes before.  But I don't remember seeing anything like this fan arrangement.

A closer look at some of the "fan blades".....

We enjoyed dinner.  When we came out of the restaurant, we admired the traffic markings on the pavement.

When we got back to the retirement community, we strolled over to one of the high-rises for a bit of pool.  My mom has been playing pool, early and often, for several years now.  She's darn good at it.

It's so good for us to be open to learning new things.  My parents are good role models!

I cropped this so I could blog a pic with no people recognizable.  This is my daughter, setting up a shot.

You can see there is exercise equipment in this big room, as well as two pool tables and a billiards table.  Big high schools are good, because they have more different opportunities, enabling more different kids to find kindred souls.  Big retirement communities are good for the exact same reasons.

If there were anything like Lakeview Village around Ann Arbor, I believe I might well be putting my name on the waiting list!


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