Sunday, May 10, 2015

MISSOURI

Jefferson City Capitol Building
Jefferson City Capitol Building
About a month was spent traveling through Missouri as we did not want to get to the Chicago area until mid-May. Our weather has not been great but considering what much of the country has been going through, we cannot complain.
Missouri State Penitentiary

We stopped in Branson, self proclaimed Music Capital of the World. With over 100 live shows and countless tourist attractions, Branson attracts over 7 million visitors a year. We were told  the roads are one giant parking lot in summer. 

Missouri State Penitentiary
Joplin has recovered from the EF5 multi-vortex tornado that demolished much of the town in 2011 and killed 158 people. There are still many empty blocks in the wake of the nearly mile wide tornado. With 2.8 billion dollars in damages, it was the costliest tornado in U.S. history.
The historic town of Hermann

Stone Hill Winery Hermann
We also spent some time in a town on The Lake of The Ozarks. The lake is a man made reservoir with over 1,150 miles of winding shoreline. The main 
channel is 92 miles long. The state of Missouri was acquired as part of the Louisiana Purchase and became the 24th state in 1821. The Capitol Building in Jefferson City was completed in 1917 and stands in the center of town beside the Missouri River.  The infamous Missouri State Penitentiary opened in Jefferson City 1836 and closed in 2004.  It was known as the bloodiest 47 acres in America. Over the years, it housed bank robber Pretty Boy Floyd, assassin James Earl Ray and former heavyweight champion Sonny Liston.

Winery overlooking Missouri River
We continued working our way north to Columbia, home of the University of Missouri. We had lunch at a winery overlooking the Missouri River and finally managed to walk the Katy Trail. At 240 miles, it is one of the longest rails to trails projects in the United States. We visited the charming town of Hermann, settled by Germans and famous for wineries, sausage and 150 historic buildings. We spent our final days in Missouri in a suburb of St. Louis.