On Cloud Nine

“The sky and the sun are always there. It’s the clouds that come and go.” – Rachel Joyce

Dictionary.com defines “cloud nine” as “a state of perfect happiness (usually in the phrase on cloud nine)”. A day of motorcycling with sunny skies, warm weather, and scenic twisty back roads always makes me happy, regardless of the purpose or the destination.

For the 2022 Regional Touring/Photo Contest, WOW members in Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, and Oklahoma could ride to, and take photographs of, any water tower, tank, or standpipe in the region with a city name on it.

For most years, “touring” is the focus of the Contest for me. How many miles can I ride today? How many water towers, barn quilts, state parks, historic sites, etc., can I find today or this year?

As a motorcyclist, I pay a lot of attention to the weather. I’m always hoping for those sunny, warm days. I know what cloudless days, fluffy clouds, whispy clouds, rain clouds, storm clouds, and snow clouds look like and the impact they can have while on the road. Photographing them, however, has never been my focus.

Taking photographs of tall vertical objects with different architectural styles means looking at clouds or noticing the lack of them. It seems that somewhere along the way, the “Photo” portion of the Contest also came into focus this year.

These are a few of my favorite water towers.

International Female Ride Day© (IFRD) is celebrated annually on the first Saturday of May and celebrates women motorcycle riders in a globally synchronized “JUST RIDE!”© day. That day we visited all three of St. Louis’ historic towers–from left to right: Compton Hill Water Tower, Grand Avenue Water Tower, and the Bissell Street Water Tower.
These twin towers in St. Clair capture the attention of those traveling on Interstate 44 about 50 miles west of St. Louis.
On the first day of the Contest, at dusk.
A clear blue sky and a tower close enough to home to safely ride “Cubby” on backroads at 35 mph.
The different hues of blue and white and the vertical, horizontal, and diagonal lines make this photo a favorite.
I love how the Laddonia tower appears over this old building, truck, and asphalt compactor.
These grain bins in Wellsville gave this “farmer’s daughter” pause.
This tower in Donnellson, Iowa, was the first outside Missouri. I love these old “pot belly” towers–my word to describe the older design.
This photo has some interesting things to look at in the background, despite the city’s name.
During the riding season, the Missouri members of WOW meet monthly for lunch. In June, we gathered for a photo under the Versailles tower.
This “two-for-one” photo of a water tower and tank in Vandalia was a nice surprise, although it only counts as one point for the Contest.

By Cris

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