Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of (other) Eagles

Cold weather may not be a motorcyclist’s friend. It may keep some Heartland members from riding their motorcycles, but it does not keep us from getting together for other activities. One of the activities we considered doing during non-riding weather was eagle watching along the Great River Road in southwestern Illinois. (Cold weather, especially with ice on the river, is the best time to see eagles.) Every Saturday, during the month of January, there is an eagle ‘meet and greet’ at the Alton or Grafton Visitors Centers, where one can see a live bald eagle up close and personal.

Marie researched this activity, shared the info with us, and planned our meet-up. Six of us met at the Alton Visitors Center on Saturday, 14 Jan 2023, transferred to one vehicle (Jenean’s) so that Marie could act as our “unpaid” eagle-watching tour guide, and then we headed to the Grafton Visitors Center. From 10am to 2pm there is a live bald eagle and the bird’s handler. You can learn about the American bald eagle, ask questions, and take pictures.

Featured at the Grafton location was Liberty, a 32-year-old, male bald eagle. His handler shared info about him and eagles, in general.

Liberty and his handler. Photo credit: from the website https://www.riversandroutes.com/things-to-do/outdoors-and-recreation/eagle-watching/

We learned Liberty was originally from St. Augustine, FL, and was injured when he was hit by a car. He was treated for his broken collar bone and then released. Unfortunately, two weeks later he was hit by a car again. This time he suffered neurological damage and was sent to live at the World Bird Sanctuary in Fenton/Valley Park, MO. He has been there since the age of 2. His handler, pictured above, has been with Liberty for 19 years.

As a “southern” bald eagle, Liberty is smaller than those who live more north. He weighs 8 pounds, and has a 6 foot wingspan. We learned that eagles are solitary and mate for life. They eat mostly fish. Female birds of prey are larger and heavier than the males, and have a 7’ to 8’ wingspan.

If you want more info regarding eagles, you may start here:

https://www.riversandroutes.com/things-to-do/outdoors-and-recreation/eagle-watching/?gclid=Cj0KCQiAq5meBhCyARIsAJrtdr6BcRaqTeZiYXIfzDyorBySbMAkCCbqAahN49r1CqS7wI7UV4AFHhwaAhmlEALw_wcB

There were six of us who participated in this activity—Heartland members Marie, Jenean, Glow, and I, and my daughter Adrienne and her son Paul. We sat in on Liberty’s presentation, walked through the Grafton Museum, tried to see the screeching owl that we were told was nearby in a tree (it chose to duck inside as we approached, so we were unsuccessful), took pictures, then headed to Hardin, IL. Marie directed us to an eagle’s nest she had seen earlier this month. Along the way, we saw trumpet swans, hawks, but no other eagles, besides Liberty.

Lunch was at Mel’s Illinois Riverdock Restaurant. They are known for their BIG portions of food and home-made pies. I ordered my favorite pie, Bumbleberry Pie, before my entrée so that I was assured I’d have a slice for dessert. Others did the same thing. If you are ever in the area, I suggest you go by and check it out and be sure to get something to eat. Their website is, https://www.ilriverdock.com/.

The only “other” eagle we saw–this eagle statue in front of Mel’s Illinois Riverdock Restaurant in Hardin, Illinois.

As we were about to leave the restaurant, two gentlemen were arriving. One stopped to talk to us, while the other returned to his vehicle. Once he returned, we found out he had a wooden toy he built that he wanted to present to Paul, my 5-year-old grandson.

I didn’t get a picture when the wooden toy was first received, so got photos once we got home.

I took many photos/videos, but no one thought to take a group photo of us. Although we were not riding, I believe we all had a great time together.

By Alice

To Boldly Go

“There’s No Such Thing As The Unknown, Only Things Temporarily Hidden.” – James T. Kirk

I’ve been a fan of Star Trek® for as long as I can remember.

Its mission to explore has translated well into my motorcycling adventures. I doubt that the places I’ve “discovered” were ever hidden from me, but rather, only temporarily out of my sight waiting to be seen and shared with others.

Day 1 of the six-day mission to attend the 36th Annual Women On Wheels® International Ride-In™ found my crew and I stopping at three Iowa water towers including one in Riverside, Iowa. Riverside, Iowa, boasts that it is the Future (03/22/2228) Birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk. Fans can find a mini-scaled starship, museum, banners, murals, statues, historical markers, and other Trek-related items.

We arrived in Winona, Minnesota, on the evening of Day 1. My itinerary for Day 2 was to pre-ride the three routes I was to lead during the Ride-In and have dinner with my family. Winona, and the surrounding area, hold a special place in my heart. I’m an alum of Winona State University. I worked on the family dairy farm 30-ish miles from there from the time I was old enough to be useful until the day I journeyed north for my first teaching gig in 1985. Riding the roads around my hometown of Alma, Wisconsin, brought back so many fond memories.

Buena Vista Park: Alma, Wisconsin. Site of my 1986 wedding and a view that never gets old! (Photo credit: Sandy.)
I was happy that my crew and I had a small bit of time to spend with my parents, brother, and sister-in-law. Although my parents no longer own the diary farm I grew up on, I will always proudly consider myself a “farmer’s daughter”.

Day 3. The official start of the Ride-In found me missing all of the important meetings as I led a group of guy Support Members and a few gals on some of my favorite backroads. I have a fondness for “Alphabet Soup” rides. This day found us on some excellent one- and two-letter county roads that took us through beautiful rural scenery via sweepers, tight turns, and several altitude changes. This 144-mile ride included stops at Buena Vista Park, Maiden Rock, Wisconsin–legendary site of Princess Wenonah’s death–, and lunch at Slippery’s Tavern & Ristorante, in Wabasha, Minnesota. (Princess Wenonah is the namesake of the event’s host city; Slippery’s claim to fame is its part in the Grumpy Old Men and Grumpier Old Men movies.)

Day 4 was a time to welcome our newest WOW members into the family or those for whom this was their first Ride-In. I was honored to lead these new guys and gals (and a few others) on other “Alphabet Soup” roads and introduce them to a high school classmate. Kathy made sure we were treated very well when we enjoyed a patio lunch at Beth’s Twin Bluffs Cafe, in Nelson, Wisconsin. After lunch, we weaved and wandered our way to the magnificent Soldiers Walk Memorial Park in Arcadia, Wisconsin, for a personal group tour.

Before, after, and in-between these rides there was plenty to do. At Tuesday evening’s Opening Ceremony, we enjoyed locally made root beer and ice cream floats and were introduced to the Little Warriors Drum Line, a group of amazing, spirited musicians aged 7 to 16.

Image copied from https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100068680974681.

On Wednesday evening, nearly everyone in attendance enjoyed the picnic celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Women On Wheels®!

After the picnic, a few of us explored the city and visited the Princess Wenonah statue and took in a breathtaking sunset view at Garvin Heights City Park. (Credit Alice for the photo of Winona.)

Thursday afternoon found us on the Pearl of the Lake paddleboat enjoying a 90-minute cruise on the widest lake on the Mississippi River. Lake Pepin is 2 miles wide and 22 miles long and offers breathtaking views of the area from a different perspective.

Thursday evening’s banquet and recognition ceremony offered an opportunity for us to see how some of our hypnotized members surfed, body built, rode a motorcycle, performed in a rock band, and other female-oriented activities.

Donelson Cycles, Inc., was recognized for their 10 years as a Women On Wheels® Participating Dealer! Congratulations and thank you to everyone at Donelson Cycles’ Saint Ann, Missouri, location!

I was honored to be recognized as a Past President (2009-2011, 2013-14) of this WOWderful organization and am deeply grateful to everyone who has shared my 25-year mission to boldy go in search of things–so many only temporarily hidden from me until enjoyed with my wind sisters and brothers.

By Cris

“Ear’s” the Story . . .

Our calendar showed there was a ride scheduled for Sunday, 12 June, but we did not have a ride leader nor a route planned. Based on a poll I posted, there were only two of us who would be able to make this ride.

So Jenean and I planned to meet at a Phillips 66 in Foristell at 12:30 pm. I got there early and heard thunder and saw lightning around 12:23. I called Jenean and she was just leaving church. We decided to still meet at the gas stop and decide then. I was able to get under the covering at the gas station; she was caught in the rain and got drenched. Radar showed it was a quick-moving storm moving east. Jenean had a ride planned heading west. We waited for the rain to stop and headed out.

Our route had stops along the Katy Trail. The first was to Peers Store in Marthasville. It is a Conservation Outpost on the Katy Trail and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. There was a 3-person string band (Missouri Possum Tamers) playing on the porch. It was cool inside the store, a welcome break from the heat. There was ice cream we could’ve purchased, but we didn’t as it was so hot it probably would’ve melted once we stepped outside.

From there we headed to Treloar, another stop along the Katy Trail. See magnificentmissouri.org/treloar-mercantile/ for more information. At this stop, I found a huge carving of a large ear of corn in the side lot next to the Mercantile Building. See the link above, but specifically the article, Missouri Corn Carving, for its history. “When we bought the 100+ year-old Treloar Mercantile Building, it came with a large, dead elm tree. To pay tribute to the historic success of the town of Treloar, and one main reason it prospered for many years, we decided to turn the stump into an ear of Missouri field corn. Here’s its story . . .”

While visiting this stop Jenean suggested today’s route and a stop for lunch as a possible future route for a group ride later. 

After Treloar, we stopped in Truesdale so that we could both get photos of its water tower (this year’s Region Touring Contest), and then we each headed home.

By Alice

Another successful Missouri State Rally is in the books. It was held in Boonville, MO, at the Isle of Capri Casino and Hotel and ran from 3-5 Jun 2022. Heartland was the host of this year’s rally. As Heartland’s director, I am proud of the many members and support members who helped make it a success. 

Cris started off our “rally project” by presenting her proposal for considering Boonville as the rally site. The proposal included hotels in the area, considerations for other activities to do and possible sites to see on your own during your free time, and possible sites for a group photo. Jenean and Marie made the calls to six hotels getting info for comparison purposes, which they then presented to the chapter. We voted during a monthly meeting on which hotel was the best choice. The Isle of Capri Casino and Hotel was chosen. On Mother’s Day Jenean and Ron rode to Boonville to pre-ride routes for the rally. There were several members who returned to Boonville to pre-ride the Saturday group ride as they would be group ride leaders. 

Cris, Jenean, and Marie also helped out by making necessary copies for the rally.

We have Jenean to thank for one of the items in our goody bags. Her talent is folding dollar bills into hearts. She then created a card that had the Heartland logo and the phrase, “We put the ♥ in Heartland” and glued those dollar hearts on the card. Every goody bag had one included in it.

Speaking of goody bags, Donelson Cycles, a Missouri WOW Participating Dealer, donated the bags and keychains. At registration attendees signed a release/waiver, received a goody bag, which included a name tag, one raffle ticket, a WOW pen, WOW nail file, a MO official highway map, a brochure of scenic rides in MO, a keychain, and two small bottles of water. Each person received a printout of the rally agenda and a map of the proposed Saturday ride, and each person could choose one bag of assorted chips, one Nutrigrain bar (strawberry, apple cinnamon, or blueberry), and 3 pieces of assorted chocolate bars. (Thanks to Marie for shopping for these “goodies.”)  

We had 42 attendees—46 who registered early, 2 of whom had to cancel (goody bags to be delivered later), 5 no-shows (goody bags to be delivered to 4 later), and 3 registered at the event. We had registrants from CO, GA, IL, KS, MN, MO, and WI

Most people arrived sometime during Friday, 3 Jun. Registration was scheduled from 5-8pm. Dinner was on-your-own. Malcolm Wood of Missouri Law Tigers offered lots of pizzas (he bought enough to feed 80!) from Breadeaux Pizza in Boonville. All he asked was for just about 5 minutes of our attention as he explained how Law Tigers can work for you should you be injured in a motorcycle accident and can help you get the compensation you deserve. He also had freebies for anyone who was there. 

Our Saturday ride (4 Jun) went very well. We asked all riders to be ready by 9:30. We had a bike blessing given by Beth and 2022 Bike Blessing stickers were distributed. Afterwards Cris conducted a pre-ride safety meeting. At 9:45 we were led out of Boonville by a police escort. Several Boonville police officers/cruisers blocked streets so that we riders could proceed through lights and turns without traffic. There were 29 total motorcycles divided into four groups, led by four Heartland ride leaders.  

A scenic ride consisted of straight-aways, sweeping curves, and tight turns. Everyone rode her/his own ride and, fortunately, there were no incidents. We had a rest stop in California, MO, and then continued on with more twisties, heading back to Boonville to gas up. We then rode to our BBQ lunch where we were treated to pulled pork, 2 sides, and a beverage, all outside in a shaded area reserved just for us at Meriwether Café & Bike Shop in Rocheport. The food was delicious and reasonably priced.

Afterwards we had a long walk (many jokingly griped about the distance, but that was the only negative I heard the whole event) to a Katy Trail Tunnel in Rocheport for our group photo. Marie had her tripod and camera set up. After a short delay, so that she could join the group, the camera automatically took several photos. 

Then, for those interested, we rode 30+ miles to The Pinnacles, a beautiful rock formation in Sturgeon, MO. We spent some time there seeing the rock formations and enjoying a short break off of our bikes. Fortunately, no one had issues with the gravel parking lot. Then back to the Isle of Capri with a little time to get ready for dinner and awards scheduled for 6pm. 

Dinner and drinks were available from the casino’s The Brew Brothers restaurant, and they did not disappoint. We were set up in the covered patio area (we did not use the uncovered area as it had started to drizzle/rain). 

Heartland members (Sandy, Glow, Alice) collected and/or donated items for the raffle and as door prizes. We had 24 winners of door prizes. The door prizes were randomly stickered with a number, which corresponded to attendee’s registration number (found on their name tag). Door prizes included 8 small stuffed frogs, 9 small bath/pool rubber frogs, 2 ceramic frogs, a bar of soap with frog motif, a splat frog, a motorcycle themed coaster for a car’s cup holder, a frog wind chime, and a frog candle. 

After most people had finished eating I thanked everyone for coming and hoped everyone had a good time. I commented that there were many Heartland members who made the rally a success. “Teamwork makes the dream work.” I then had winners to announce. I had some Heartland mileage awards and certificates, but learned that Heartland was the only MO chapter who submitted both beginning and ending mileage readings to the former State Ambassador so only Heartland members were in the running for the State Mileage Contest. For that reason, I did not use my time to recognize Heartland mileage winners since Cris as our new Region Ambassador would be acknowledging the MO mileage winners and other contest winners later. I then announced the 50/50 and raffle winners. 

We sold $193 worth of 50/50 tickets. $96.50 was won by Irene.  

We had six items for raffle and several generated a lot of interest. Each attendee was given one free raffle ticket to use and extra raffle tickets were sold. Marie collected and had responsibility for holding monies collected. At this time I do not know how much was collected. There was, however, one attendee who was very interested in the large stuffed frog and purchased at least $30 (or more) worth of raffle tickets.  

The raffle winners were: 

Blanket – won by Stephanie

Cutting board (we only regret the rides we didn’t take) – won by Debi

Book “On the Perimeter: The Autobiography of Hazel Kolb Motorcyclin’ Gran’ma” – won by Marie

Frog night light – won by Alice

Cutting board (we ride not to escape life…) – won by Debi

Large stuffed frog – Gail (who would’ve guessed she would win? Lol) 

Then Cris had a few awards she handed out. She recognized the service of our previous State Ambassador, several women who have been WOW members for more than 30 years, chapters who had recent chapter anniversaries, the 2021 Support Member of the Year, 2021 mileage winners (members and support members), 2021 Touring Contest winners, each MO chapter and their participation points, and the MO chapter with the most participation points earned the traveling State Trophy. This year Heartland earned the traveling trophy with a total of 29 points! Yay!

Cris ended by wishing everyone a safe ride home. 

By Alice

Shifting Gears

“We’re going to party like a rock star!” – Joe Wofford

As the calendar changes to 2022, we reflect on 2021 and begin to imagine what kind of party might be sufficient to celebrate our 25th anniversary as a Chapter of Women On Wheels®.

We have six months to prepare to host the 22nd Missouri Women On Wheels® (MO WOW) State Rally, seven months to make plans to attend the 36th Women On Wheels® International Ride-In™ and celebrate the 40th anniversary of Women On Wheels®, and twelve months to participate in weeknight/weekend rides, state lunches/events, monthly meetings, and other spontaneous gatherings.

Below are a few more highlights from 2021. We’ve already written about the annual MO WOW Touring/Photo Contest and International Female Ride Day.

In early May, we had the great privilege to host WOW president, Carol, and enjoyed a day of riding, eating, sightseeing, and laughter.
Later in May, Carol joined the members of MO WOW at the State Ride to Lunch in Warsaw, MO.
In June, we attended the 21st Annual MO WOW State Rally held in Monett. Hosted by Missouri’s Lady Cruisers of the Ozarks Chapter, we enjoyed the scenic roads in southwest Missouri.
Several members attended the 35th WOW International Ride-In in Lake George, NY. After several days of riding in the rain, these four opted to walk to dinner one evening. Cris suggested going down to the hotel’s front desk to inquire about trash bags that could be turned into makeshift ponchos. Hearing this, Jackie proudly pulled three ponchos out of her bag. Perhaps Jackie was a Girl Scout and trained to always “be prepared”?
In October, we took a fall foliage ride through Calhoun County via the Illinois River Road and Kampsville River Ferry. Although the fall foliage was sparse, there was still plenty of beautiful nature to enjoy.

Later in October, we participated in a “Trunk or Treat” event hosted by Jenean’s church. The treats, motorcycles, and Mr. Bones were spook-tacular. The chicken brought out her inner comedi-hen. Her taste in humor is im-peckable; pure poultry in motion.
We are grateful for the leadership of our Chapter Director, Alice, and are especially proud of our “Cover Girl,” as she appears on the January/February/March 2022 “Women On Wheels®” magazine.
Our Chapter lost an “honorary member” in December. Many of us first met Joe at the Lake George Ride-In, his most recent motorcycle trip. At his service, it was said that Joe loved to party. (Photo courtesy Jenean.)

Per Wikipedia, “A party is a gathering of people who have been invited by a host for the purposes of socializing, conversation, recreation, or as part of a festival or other commemoration or celebration of a special occasion.”

We invite interested riders in the St. Louis metro area and beyond to join us in our 25th year. We have 12 months to party! Let’s get started.

By Cris

Itty Bitty City

The 2021 Missouri State Women On Wheels® Annual Touring Contest has ended. The theme to visit Missouri places with the same name as cities in another state took us to cities big and small. These are the tiniest towns as determined by their 2020 population per missouri-demographics.com or a Google search if the city was not listed there.

Foley (Lincoln County), population 89. Foley is located on Highway 79, approximately 20 miles north of Interstate 70 near St. Peters. Scenic 79 is also known as the Little Dixie Highway of the Great River Road. Travel north for another 70 miles and spend a few hours exploring Hannibal, the hometown of Mark Twain.
McKittrick ( Montgomery County), population 77. McKittrick was platted in 1895 when the railroad was extended west. The tracks are gone and trains no longer bring visitors to town, but bicycles do via the McKittrick Trailhead on the Katy Trail. Visitors to historic Hermann can find McKittrick just 3 miles north on Highway 19.
Country Life Acres, Village of (St. Louis County), population 72. Kudos to Alice for finding this one–somewhere around the crossroads of Clayton and Des Peres Roads. Perhaps Country Life Acres, Maryland, is a bit easier to find.
Ionia (Benton/Pettis Counties), population 71. For a while, the post office established in 1867 served the citizens of Ionia City. The city’s name was shortened to Ionia in 1895 and the post office serves patrons in this city that lies in two counties.
Vandiver, Village of (Audrain County), population 63. There isn’t much information to be found about this tiny village, but we were glad to find this sign as we passed through on Highway 54 between Mexico and Martinsburg.
Paynesville (Pike County) population 60. Established in 1821, Paynesville was named after William Payne, a St. Louis-based tradesman. The Meloan, Cummins & Co., General Store, seen in the background, stands at the intersection of Highways H and W north of Elsberry and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1993.
Truxton (Lincoln County), population 59. In its heyday, Truxton had a livery, carpenter shop, wagon maker, milliner and dressmaker, grist and sawmills, two churches, a high school, newspaper publisher, hotel, more than a dozen stores/shops1, and an estimated population of 250. The city is named in honor of Commodore Thomas Truxton, a Revolutionary War naval officer.
Whiteside (Lincoln County), population 52. William Whiteside was the original owner of the site located on Highway Z off Highway 61 about 14 miles north of Troy. This post office has been in operation since 1883. When Dayton Moxley served as its first Postmaster, first-class stamps cost four cents.
Chesapeake (Lawrence County), population 48. Established in 1850, the city was named to commemorate the capture of the USS Chesapeake at the Battle of Boston Harbor on June 1, 1813, during the War of 1812. Two hundred-twenty six men were killed or wounded in the 15-minute battle against the Royal Navy’s HMS Shannon.
St. Cloud (Crawford County), population 43. St. Cloud has a total land area of 1.24 square miles. Without this sign posted between Bourbon and Sullivan off Interstate 44, one might enter and exit St. Cloud without the realization of ever having visited.
Pendleton (Warren County), population 34. Pendleton, five miles west of Warrenton, was built for the Wabash railroad in 1858. Today Pendleton has a general store, about a dozen residences, and the Methodist Episcopal Church, erected in 1872 at a cost of $1,000, or roughly $22,670 in today’s money.
Danville (Montgomery County), population 28. At 24, there are almost as many American cities named Danville as there are residents in this town located at the intersection of Interstate 70 and Highway 161 roughly midway between Warrenton and Kingdom City. Founded in 1834, Danville, Missouri, was named after Danville, Virginia.
Champ (St. Louis County), population 13. We’ve written about Champ in a prior blog post. Established in 1959, Champ currently contains six households, a church, and a landfill that opened in 1974.
Mount Sterling (Gasconade County), population 8. One can feel confident knowing there are 14 cities named Mount Sterling in America. Questionable is its population. Depending on source material, the population varies from 8 to 55. This blogger believes the discrepancy is based on the actual number of people who reside in Mount Sterling and those in the 65062 ZIP code serviced by the tiny Post Office inside the Schaeperkoetter Store at 2718 Highway A off Highway 50 between Linn and Drake. In either case, Mount Sterling qualifies as an itty bitty city.

By Cris

1https://www.google.com/books/edition/History_of_Lincoln_County_Missouri_from/HtEyAQAAMAAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=lincoln+county+missouri+towns+truxton&pg=PA451&printsec=frontcover

A Motorcyclist’s Life: The Wild, Weird, and Wonderful

In the book “Secret St. Louis: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure“, author David Baugher takes readers on a tour of 97 unique and little-known places.

The annual Missouri Women On Wheels® Touring/Photo Contest serves the same purpose. When one visits a place to earn another point for the Contest, one may not know the history of that place. Although we didn’t know it, the Heartland Chapter had already visited a a few of Baugher’s places in 2021 before this blogger heard about the book.

Place 1: The Big Cone
Where: 6930 Weber Road; Affton, MO (on the grounds of Mesnier Primary School)
See blog post “All [Rocky] Roads Lead to Ice Cream
Place 3: Bigfoot®
Where: 2286 Rose Lane; Pacific, MO
Bigfoot #1, a modified Ford F-250 “Monster” truck, was built by Bob Chandler in St. Louis, in the mid-1970s. Bigfoot #5, built in 1986 is 15′ 6″ tall, weighs 38,000 pounds, and is the Guinness record holder for the tallest and widest pickup truck in the world.
Place 9: The Old Chain of Rocks Bridge
Where: Chouteau Island to St. Louis (easiest access from Chouteau Island on the Illinois side)
The Old Chain of Rocks Bridge was chosen as the cinematic double for the 69th Street Bridge in John Carpenter’s 1981 movie, “Escape from New York”. https://youtu.be/0sZoWuWYBPE
Place 26: Champ, MO
Where: Along Creve Couer Mill Road near the Interstates 70 and 270 interchange
You’ll need good Google Earth or Google Map skills or a friend familiar with the area to help you find Champ–population 13. Incorporated and mayored by Bill Bangert in 1959, today’s Champ is primarily a landfill. Bangert’s visionary plans for Champ were mocked for decades, but his ideas of domed stadiums and shopping malls are now part of the national landscape.
https://www.stltoday.com/news/local/metro/bill-bangert-dies-worlds-strongest-mayor-created-champ/article_79624cf4-353e-5e5f-b4c9-595fffeee048.html
Place 38: Piasa Bird
Where: Illinois Route 100 about a mile north of Alton, IL
The Piasa Bird’s mythology began with Native Americans. Explorer Jacques Marquette is said to be the first European to discover the original artwork of the Illini more than 300 years ago. Attempts to restore the original artwork began in the 1920s and remains a never-ending maintenance project. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piasa

Place 54. St. Louis County is known for its dozens of municipalities. In less than .75 mile on Interstate 170 between Page Avenue and Natural Bridge Road, three different city limit signs are visible at one time. Motorists cross from Overland to Charlack to Sycamore Hills and back to Charlack before motoring on to St. John and Bel-Ridge.

Place 59: Statue for Robert Pershing Wadlow, the World’s Tallest Human
Where: 2800 College Avenue; Alton, IL
See blog post “Where’s Wadlow?
Place 85: Eureka, MO
Where: Interstate 44 west of the Meramec River
City lore says that the name was inspired by an 1850’s railroad worker who was tired of moving and laying track on the bluffs on the outskirts of town and was so thrilled to finally see a stretch of straight, flat land that he yelled “Eureka!” Eureka translates from ancient Greek to English as “I have found it!”

Every ride is an opportunity to discover something new and unlike anything else. Eureka!

By Cris

Sacred Land

“It’s so important that we acknowledge that these buildings are built on the homes of their ancestors.”1

Mary McKay, Neidorff Family and Centene Corporation Dean of the Brown School, 2021 Brown School and Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts Commencement Ceremony

This tribal map of the United States was found on the website www. native-land.ca/. According to the site, “Native Land is an app as well as a website designed to show people what indigenous groups once lived in places they currently live in. All you need to do is enter the zip code or type the name of the town you’re interested in and the interactive map will zoom in on your inquiry, color-code it, and reveal data on the area’s Indigenous history, original language, and tribal ties.”

As I ride in search of Missouri cities with the same name as other cities for the 2021 Missouri Women On Wheels®MO WOW Annual Touring/Photo Contest, two thoughts come to mind:

  1. Missouri’s backroads, filled with small towns, old barns, pastured cows, and acres of hay and corn fields were once the lands of indigenous people.
  2. In her remarks to the 2021 graduates from the Brown School (social work/public health/social policy) and the Sam Fox School (art, design, and architecture), dean Mary McKay of the Brown School, said: “I’d like to take a moment and recognize that Washington University occupies the land of native people. It’s so important that we acknowledge that these buildings are built on the homes of their ancestors.”1
Missouri tribal map at www. native-land.ca
Defiance, Missouri: Kickapoo, Kaskaskia, Osage, Quapaw, and Missouria.
Vandalia, Missouri: Kickapoo, Kaskaskia, Osage, Peoria, Sauk & Fox, and Missouria
Canton, Missouri: Kickapoo, Peoria, Sauk & Fox, Osage, Potawatomi, and Missouria.

“The Missouria or Missouri indigenous peoples gave Missouri its name. The tribe belongs to the Chiwere division of the Siouan language family, together with the Iowa and Otoe. The tribe originated in the Great Lakes region and began migrating south in the 1500s. The tribe lived near the mouth of the Missouri at its confluence with the Mississippi River. In their own Siouan language, the Missouri call themselves Niúachi, also spelled Niutachi, meaning ‘People of the River Mouth’. At some point, the Missouria migrated west of the Missouri River into Osage territory. Today they are federally recognized as the Otoe-Missouria Tribe of Indians, based in Red Rock, Oklahoma.”2

“There are currently no federally recognized tribes in Missouri. Before the Indian Removal Act of 1830, there were nine tribes in Missouri, however other tribes inhabited and have connections to our state.

As we ride, let us follow the words of dean McKay:

“Let’s all celebrate and honor this ancestral native land and the sacred land of all indigenous people . . .”1

Especially we, the people of the river mouth, that live near the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers.

1https://commencement.wustl.edu/commencement-may-2021/2021-livestream-recordings/

2https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missouria

3https://libguides.jeffco.edu/missouritribes

By Cris

It’s a Wonderful, WOWderful Life

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the debut of “It’s a Wonderful Life”. For those who haven’t seen it at least once during its annual rebroadcast around Christmas, the movie tells the tale of George Bailey, played by Jimmy Stewart.

George had aspirations to change the world in big ways, but his father’s death and a growing family kept him in Bedford Falls. George gave up his dreams to travel the world to run his father’s loan business. When thousands of dollars accidentally disappear, a suicidal George plans to jump from a bridge until an angel named Clarence shows George what life for those living in Bedford Falls would have been like had George never been born.

When Alice, Jackie, Marie, and I stopped in Seneca Falls, New York, on our way home from the 35th Women On Wheels® International Ride-In™ in July, Alice and I visited the Seneca Falls It’s a Wonderful Life Museum at 32 Fall Street.

The opening scene of “It’s a Wonderful Life” welcomes viewers to Bedford Falls. The film’s director, Frank Capra, visited Seneca Falls in 1945 looking for inspiration. The fictional town of Bedford Falls is said to closely resemble Seneca Falls.
Luckily there was no snow in Bedford Falls when we visited in July, but Christmas decor can be found inside the museum all year round.

At the end of the movie, George looks inside a book given to him by Clarence. The book is only one of dozens of movie props in the Museum.

Yes, Clarence, no man [or woman] is a failure who has friends.

Sometimes I wonder what my life would be like if Women On Wheels® had never been born.

I cannot imagine as it’s truly been a WOWderful life.

____________

The 75th Anniversary Celebration of “It’s a Wonderful Life”
Seneca Falls, NY
December 8-12, 2021
https://www.wonderfullifemuseum.com/2021-festival/

By Cris

Paving the Way

“Perhaps we women should remember the suffragists whenever we wear trousers, ride a bicycle, sign a petition, or participate in a demonstration because these and many other things are now ours to choose as a result of their journey.” – Stephanie Hall1

This sign at the corner of Mynderse and Fall Streets in Seneca Falls, New York, marks the spot of the first woman’s rights convention held in the United States organized by Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton on July 19-20, 1848.

Alice, Jackie, Marie, and I stopped here on our way home from the 35th International Women On Wheels® Ride-In™ held in Lake George, New York, July 13-15, 2021.

The Seneca Falls Convention laid the groundwork for changing the future for women, including a woman’s right to vote, but it also had an impact on female fashion.

“Fashions of the time were restrictive and contributed to women being seen as incapable. Voluminous skirts were both pointed to as evidence that women were incompetent and in fact limited what they were able to do.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton was interested in dress reform and learned of a new fashion worn by activist Elizabeth Smith Miller: a skirt or dress over loose trousers. She tried the outfit and introduced it to another activist and editor of the progressive magazine, The Lily, Amelia Bloomer in 1851. Bloomer promoted this new form of dress, particularly a version with very full trousers drawn in at the ankle. What was then called the “Bloomer outfit” was extremely controversial and was ridiculed by those who opposed social change.”2

Period illustration of a Bloomer Outfit, with a (relatively) short skirt over pantaloons. The engraving may depict Elizabeth Smith Miller. https://freethought-trail.org/historical-events/event:suffragists-adopt-then-abandon-the-bloomer-costume/

“Stanton, Bloomer, and [Susan B.] Anthony all agreed that they should disassociate the suffrage movement from the Bloomer Outfit controversy so Amelia Bloomer’s bloomers did not catch on in the 1850’s, either as a suffrage garment or as fashion. But the problem of garments that got in the way of working, sports, and even ordinary activities of life continued to be a problem.

This changed with the introduction of the safety bicycle, a bicycle with two wheels of the same size that was easy for women to ride. Women could ride it with skirts, though its introduction did help raise hemlines. But garments for riding the bicycle: split skirts and full trousers gathered in below the knee started appearing in the 1880s and became the rage by the 1890s. The trousers were often called bloomers, although they had little resemblance to Amelia Bloomer’s costume of the 1850s.

There were, of course, grave concerns about women mounting bicycles and freely going off on their own, showing the shape of their legs as they did so. Women cycled on undaunted. When it came to greater freedom of dress and movement, the coming of the safety bicycle helped to bring an era of change that was unstoppable.”3

Or did it?

Bessie Stringfield was the first African-American woman to ride solo across the United States, making eight long-distance rides covering the lower 48 states at a time when women were not supposed to wear pants or ride a motorcycle. During World War II, Bessie worked as a civilian motorcycle dispatch rider. Despite completing intensive training and being the only female in her army unit, Bessie encountered prejudice on the road.

Dot Robinson also set an example in a time when motorcycling wasn’t considered proper for a woman. Dot worked as a motorcycle courier during WWII and assisted in the creation of the Motor Maids. Dot earned many motorcycle endurance race trophies, but she had to fight to compete. Attempts were made to prevent her from participating in the sport she loved, but she persevered and was allowed to compete, making it possible for other women to race.

In 1916, sisters Augusta and Adeline Van Buren rode coast to coast and were the first women to ride motorized vehicles to the summit of Pikes Peak. They wanted to convince the military that women were able to serve as dispatch riders. Although they did not achieve that goal, they proved that women were capable of far more than society was willing to accept.

“At the time, in many towns, especially in rural America, women wearing pants was a serious violation of the social order. Gussie and Addie were just out of Chicago, barreling west through the ring of small townships that radiated from the city through central Illinois, when they were pulled over by police for their scandalous dress and cited for wearing men’s clothing. This pattern was repeated several times as the sisters roared into towns unaccustomed to women on motorcycles, especially women unaccompanied by men, and definitely not accustomed to women on motorcycles, without men, wearing pants. Still, they persisted.”4

We, that ride, should always remember to honor those that paved the way for us to wear whatever we desire no matter where our journeys take us.

1, 2,3Hall, Stephanie. “Symbolism in the Women’s Suffrage Movement”. August 24, 2020. https://blogs.loc.gov/folklife/2020/08/symbolism-in-the-womens-suffrage-movement/

4https://www.adventure-journal.com/2019/07/the-van-buren-sisters-were-tough-as-nails-suffragist-moto-pioneers/

By Cris