Bollinger Mill and a Covered Bridge

Today we got to do 2 pretty cool things. Saturdays are our family day out. We ventured over east of us and started our day at a 100 mile long yard sale.

We did a lot of looking, but not much buying. It was fun to look at so many different things for sale.

At the end of the 100 miles, we stopped at Bollinger Mill State Historic Site, near Jackson, Missouri. I love that place. Why?

There’s a 3 story mill and a covered bridge, in one place. They are gorgeous!

Bollinger Mill
covered bridge at Bollinger Mill

I wish I could’ve gathered up the smell somehow of the bridge. It was antique and woodsy. Imagine stepping into a really old rustic barn- that! That’s what the bridge smelled like.

initials carved inside the covered bridge
reflection of the mill under the covered bridge
my view from a knothole in the covered bridge
the river side of Bollinger Mill, the covered bridge sits to the right

What a wonderful day! If you are ever in southeast Missouri, Bollinger Mill is definitely worth a stop.

PS I wrote a post about our 100 mile yard sale adventure on my other blog, if you’re interested, it’s https://jeweledagainbyjessica.com

Thanks for reading,

Jessica

First Mother’s Day Without One

I made it through my first Mother’s Day without my mom. Never ever thought those words would be uttered by me. What a strange, difficult process parent loss is.

On March 16, 2022 mom went to her local hospital. Multiple tests results led us on a rollercoaster of fears and emotions. 10 days later, she passed away. Super suddenly. A rip-your-heart-out kind of devastation.

It has been so hard, and hard isn’t even a big enough word. I’ve experienced loss before, but nothing even touches this.

They say the first year of ’firsts’ is the hardest. ‘Firsts’ being holidays and such. There have been several right in a row for us. My parent’s 55th wedding anniversary, Easter, Mother’s Day, and tomorrow is her birthday.

Maybe you’ve already been in similar shoes- if so, my heart goes out to you. Or maybe you don’t know this type of loss-if so, my heart wants to protect you from it, because it’s flat out heartache.

My husband, Little Bit, and I had been planning a mini vacation before mom got sick. We decided to still go. On Mother’s Day, we went to my favorite place in the entire world, Dauphin Island, Alabama.

I’ve got to tell you, it was immensely healing to stand on the white sand, hear and feel the waves coming in, find sea shells, and take a huge walk down the beach.

We ended our island time at a tree that I love more than just about any other tree. It’s a gigantic live oak in the middle of the island.

Each time we go there, I visit it. There is just something about trees, you know?

They survive big stuff sometimes, like wind, hail, and storms. That tree has seen many tropical storms and maybe even some hurricanes, yet it still stands there, branches outstretched and welcoming.

While there, I cried about my momma and asked for strength. Strength for the other upcoming firsts and strength for the missing because honestly, there’s a lot of missing her.

Mother’s Day was a sappy, teary day for me, gratitude filled because I am a mom, and heavy because I don’t have one.

In Biloxi, I got a new t shirt that says, “Saltwater heals everything.” I’m not sure about the everything part, but it certainly made that day a little easier.

I appreciate you reading this, thank you.

Jessica

Beach at Dauphin Island
favorite tree, favorite island

A Good Sunset

I love a good sunset, don’t you? The kind where the sun just holds its space. It’s not in a hurry to put itself to bed quickly, but instead offers a brilliant fading glow.

Last weekend we ventured to a nearby lake. I seemed to be the only one who was interested in stepping into the 30 degree chill to look about.

So, after layering on sweatshirts and a hat, I made my way to a dock, a beach, and up a long set of stairs. Photographically, it was worth a cold nose and toes.

I saw bird footprints in the sand, reflections in puddles, patterns on the steps, and the sun, that glorious sun! A lot of people I know are moon fans. I do love the moon, but my heart belongs with the sun.

We caught the sunset at the perfect time, but instead of me taking the pictures in my usual spot there, I went to the right. And, kept going right, which gave me a new perspective.

The cool part? I was able to try different things, see the sunset in a new-to-me way. It was fun and I love all the pictures I took.

So, here’s to more good sunsets and trying new things. Hope you are doing well! I appreciate you reading.

Jessica

the birds beat me to the beach
love this pattern on the stairs
reflections in the picnic shelter
sunset view
sunset around a tree

Swim Beach

Yesterday we went to a super cool place called Crowley’s Ridge State Park in Arkansas. It was built by the CCC in the 1930’s.

There is a 31 acre fishing lake and a smaller lake that is so awesome. It’s a swim beach, complete with water slide, steps leading into the lake, and there’s even paddle boat rentals.

We missed the swimming season by about a month and I love summer, but on this early fall day, we had the place to ourselves.

If you’re traveling through Arkansas, north of Jonesboro, Crowley’s Ridge State Park is definitely worth a stop.

Carnival Rides

I love an old fashioned county fair. We went to one today, over in the southeast corner of Missouri. We saw some exhibits, watched a little barrel racing, got a snow cone, and spent a good chunk of the afternoon in the midway.

PS Don’t let that round Ferris wheel looking thingy fool you– it is fast! We were way up on the top and that thing started rockin’ and rollin’! I actually heard myself say out loud, “It’s ok, look at all the physics that when into building this thing, we’re going to be all right!”

Hilarious.

When I stepped out of the seat, the guy working there asked me if I liked the ride. I said “yes, but I didn’t know it was going to be SO scary.”

And, we both laughed. Loudly.

County fairs. The tail end of summer. What a great way to spend the day, riding carnival rides.

The Archway

If you are anywhere around Exit 275 on I-80 in Nebraska, and you want to see something really cool, stop at the Great Platte River Road Archway museum in Kearney.

On our way from Cheyenne Wyoming to northwest Missouri yesterday, we took I-80 through Nebraska and stopped there. Oh my gosh, you guys, it is amazing!!

The museum chronicles travel history in the area starting with covered wagons, stagecoaches, the Pony Express, and highways.

We each got a ‘personal-type’ museum guide via a device that looks like a tv remote with headphones. The exhibits had numbers on them and you can just point them at ones you want to learn about and press play.

That was my first experience with those and it was really neat. You can move at your own pace, turn the volume up or down, there’s no rush to miss a tour group.

The museum itself is extraordinary with its escalator entrance, the lifelike figures, the detailed murals ceiling high, railroad history, and a great display about the highway system. It ends with a step inside a vintage diner with booths and jukeboxes.

The gift shop is really nice and there’s even an ol’ vintage Coca Cola machine, if you fancy a soda in a glass bottle.

I’m so glad we went! Their website is http://www.archway.org if you’re interested in learning more.

On the Road

We are at a gas station in western Nebraska and when I looked up and saw this on the building, I laughed out loud! You just never know what you’ll see, on the road.

Rainbow

Yesterday, we started our day in Silverthorne, Co, went over Loveland Pass, through several mountain towns, and through Rocky Mountain National Park.

The Park itself was packed!! Cars and people everywhere, which is fine, but it limited the number of parking places, so I didn’t get many photographs.

We did get to stop in Estes Park for some fun family activities at Fun City. On our way out of Estes Park, through Big Thompson Canyon towards Loveland, this beautiful rainbow appeared.

Kansas Sightseeing

Our trek to Colorado from home is leading us through 982 miles of the midwest. This Kansas roadside has been sprinkled with fields full of sunflowers. If we had time, I’d pull over and take a thousand pictures.

But… all I have to offer is one field shot from my back seat view.

We just left a stop at the World’s Largest Easel in Goodland, Kansas. I’m a sucker for the World’s Largest things. In May, on a trip through Iowa, we saw the World’s Largest Working Windmill and the World’s Largest Ball of Popcorn.

If you like these kinds of things, the easel is definitely worth a look. Roadside America has some interesting articles on its history.

Just crossed into Colorado!! Wahoo!! Give me some mountains!

Westbound

We are on our way, westbound, from southeast Missouri to Colorado/ Wyoming for a couple of days.

This morning we stopped at the Cosmosphere in Hutchinson Kansas and saw rockets, tons about space history, and even got to see how much we’d weigh on Mars.

Hutchinson is northwest of Wichita and is definitely worth a stop if you’re ever in this part of Kansas. Not only is the museum interactive for kids, it has a great gift shop. Their website is http://www.cosmo.org, if you’d like to check it out.

Now we’re off to Goodland Kansas to see the world’s largest easel!

McCormack Lake

Sunday we went to a lake I’d been to once before. Standing in the parking lot, I remembered why I’d liked it the first time. It was quiet, there was a beaver dam, and it was easy on the eyes. Yeah, I liked it just as much this time around.

However, after we left the parking lot, my husband drove down a gravel road less traveled. Then, he pulled down onto a road to nowhere and I got out.

There I stood at the opposite end of the lake, and quite honestly, it was one of those moments, you know? Those instances where you see something SO beautiful that all you can do is weep.

And, I did.

To me, nature is like air. No wonder people hike thousands of miles or even a few.

A few steps over, this way or that, and your entire perspective can change.