Road Trips
May 20 through June 19, 2004

I’m finishing out the spring journal with some photos from several short outings we made during the last four weeks. The first picture below was taken from our front yard on May 20. I’ve found out how to predict where the moon will be in the sky at any given time, in order to get some more interesting pictures. Cliff and I sat out in the back of the truck and watched it appear as the dusk sky grew dark enough for the thin sliver to stand out.
That weekend we went to Petit Jean State Park with James and Melinda's gang for an overnight camping trip. It should have been a blast, but I continued the trend of  going out with too few hours sleep and to tell you the truth I was pretty miserable. We all went fishing at Lake Bailey and caught quite a few nice redears, of course all I did was bait hooks, untangle lines and keep hooks and bobbers on the boys' poles. We also made the short hikes to Rock House Cave, the CCC Cedar Falls overlook, and Bear Cave. I didn't take the camera though, 'cause I just didn't feel like it. I did get an interesting picture of the lake at sunset.
Saturday the 29th, Cliff and I got up early to see Union Pacific’s Challenger No. 3985 steam train down at the Union Pacific offices. This is the same train I caught a surprise look at back in February. The locomotive was spending the night in Van Buren on its way from Cheyenne to Houston to participate in several events associated with the George Bush Presidential Library. Later  we drove out to Shibley Road and waited for the train to come by.
On Monday evening, June 7, Grant and I went for a drive after dinner to chase a front that had just moved through. We didn’t get much rain at home, but according to the radar maps everybody to the north got a bunch. We drove up I-540 North of Alma, and the views were just awesome once we got into the mountains. There were misty low clouds and fog rising out of the valleys, and the sun kept peeking through the clouds to light everything up. Grant was equally impressed and kept shouting for me to look here or there. I’m definitely making similar trips in the future.
A rainbow suddenly appeared and I pulled off at the first exit to try to get some pictures, but by the time I got the camera out and on the tripod it had faded away.  I put Grant in the middle of a huge patch of Queen Anne’s Lace right beside the truck and snapped some pictures for Stacey.
It’s been a rainy and cloudy June. As of the 22nd, we received 5.4 inches of rain according to the gauge at the house. In comparison we only got 1.95 inches in May - no wonder the waterfalls dried up. In April we received 7.75 inches, with the majority of that - 5.25 inches - falling in that monster storm April 21-24 that flooded so many places in the Ozarks. That means the rest of that month we only saw 2.5 inches of rain.
I continue to keep an eye out every evening for good sunsets and have made several trips down to Lee Creek Park whether I have the camera with me or not. There was some nice stuff Saturday, June 12.
Fathers Day came a day early for me on Saturday the 19th.  A big storm system came through that afternoon, and although we “only” got six tenths of an inch of rain in town, according to the radar map the areas both north and south of us got a lot more. I worked all day and after dinner I wanted to get out of the house so Cliff, Grant and I got in the truck and headed towards Mountainburg to hopefully take in some great views similar to our road trip on the 7th.
When the boys saw Frog Bayou where it crosses Hwy. 282, they wanted to stop and check it out. They said they wanted to throw rocks in the water, but I knew it would only be minutes before they wound up in the water. It was wonderful weather with the temperature only in the high 70s and the air had that quality from having just rained. The creek was running with fresh rainwater, we had the sun going down to the west and fog-filled mountains upstream to the East. What a great end to a great spring!
For the drive home Grant wore a sweatshirt I had in the back seat, and Cliff found a poncho I had tucked away.