Fort Defiance Fun

Jessica Cyders Fort Defiance 10-30-2013_9601I always take visitors to see Fort Defiance, the southernmost tip of Illinois, where the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers meet. Wednesday was Curator Jessica’s turn. (Click on the photos to make them larger.)

You have to wade

Jessica Cyders - Princeton KY 10-28-2013_9493I should have known better than to say, “You have to wade in the water so you can say you straddled two great American rivers,” because I said something like that when we were looking at a spring in Princeton, Ky.

The next thing I knew, she was splashing and frolicking, much to the amusement of some pre-teens who were watching from a bridge.

Shuckin’ off the boots

Jessica Cyders Fort Defiance 10-30-2013_9603After not more than a moment’s hesitation, she started shucking off her boots.

Is this REALLY a good idea?

Jessica Cyders Fort Defiance 10-30-2013_9611This is her “Is this REALLY a good idea?” look. To be honest, I wasn’t sure. I didn’t know how quickly the bottom fell off or what might be lurking under the muddy waters.

I don’t think you’re in both rivers

Jessica Cyders Fort Defiance 10-30-2013_9614“You need to spread out,” I told her. “I don’t think you’re actually in both rivers.” About that time, a wave from a passing towboat started rolling ashore.

She kept her balance, but I guess a splash wouldn’t have been too bad. Jessica kept saying on the trip that she really likes New Orleans. If the 300-foot rope I carry in the car turned out to be short, I calculated she would be passing the Big Easy in a week or so.

Headed to St. Louis

I have to put her on a plane in St. Louis back to Ohio on November 4. We’ll go up a day early so she can meet Brother Mark, Robin and Friend Shari and do some sightseeing.

I promised I’d bring along some alcohol wipes to clean off an area of the stainless steel Gateway Arch so she could lick it, something that all first-time visitors are supposed to do.

Meet her at First Friday

She and I will be at Annie Laurie’s on Broadway on First Friday, November 1. I’ll have Snapshots of Cape Girardeau calendars and the Smelterville book with me. Laurie says she’ll have cookies and hot cider.

Maybe you can help me come up with other quaint Missouri customs like arch-licking that I can share with our Ohio visitor. I’ve found that she is willing to try just about anything once.

Other Fort Defiance photos






Bridges and Goodbyes

I really enjoyed my visit to Cape, but it was time to get back to Florida. Judge Bill Hopkins said he had gotten a call from Wife Lila asking how long I had to be gone before she could have me declared legally dead.

Since I was headed that way, Mother said she’d follow me in her car (for the record, she may be 90, but she’s still a good driver) over to her trailer on Kentucky Lake so I could help her turn on the water and check for any problems.

Not surprisingly, it took me longer than anticipated to get everything loaded in my van. Because of the late start, we didn’t waste any time sightseeing along the way. I did bang off a couple of frames as we headed over the Ohio River bridge leaving Cairo for Wickliffe. You can tell that it’s about as wide as the old Cape Mississippi River Bridge (plus it’s got that crazy 90-degree bend on the Kentucky end).

35 years

The pipes at the trailer froze winter before last, so she had to have them replaced. When I went to turn on the water, nothing happened. After much head scratching and mosquito swatting, I discovered that they had moved the main shutoff valve. I decided to stay there overnight instead of pressing on to Nashville as I had planned.

By coincidence, we were there on August 7, 35 years to the day when Dad had a heart attack at the lake and died. When folks posted stories this week about it being the week that Elvis died, I tell ’em that my dad died that week too; the difference is that I don’t miss Elvis.

We were going to eat breakfast, but the place we planned on stopping at was closed, so we said our goodbyes at a gas station. I’m getting a little better at the teenage girl self-portrait thing. My arm must be getting longer.

More narrow bridges

I’m glad I’m not pulling a travel trailer or driving an 18-wheeler. These bridges linking sections of the Land Between the Lakes are narrow and showing their age. At one time, I could have told you what body of water these cross, but I have long ago jettisoned that knowledge.

I covered the aftermath of the Silver Bridge collapse on Dec. 15, 1967. The eyebar-chain suspension bridge linking Point Pleasant, W Va., and Gallipolis, Oh., failed while it was filled with rush-hour holiday shoppers. Forty-six people died in the icy waters of the Ohio River.

When I cross a bridge with a lot of rust on it, I wonder whether it’s cosmetic or whether it’s another Silver Bridge waiting to happen.

Photo gallery of Kentucky bridges

I think the shadows of the bridge structure are interesting. I have to admit I wasn’t doing any careful composing. I was just holding the camera with one hand and trying to keep from scraping the bridge railing with the other. I didn’t see the shadows until I saw them on the computer screen. Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the left or right side to move through the gallery.



Mississippi River Panoramas

This was the week for shooting panoramas of the Mississippi River. Friends Bob and Claire Rogers are walking to the very tip of Illinois where the Ohio (left) and Mississippi rivers join at Fort Defiance. The Mississippi must be running slightly higher, because you can see that it is holding the Ohio back. Click on the photos to make them larger.

There are seven frames stitched together by Photoshop in this panorama. What’s amazing is that Bob and Claire were walking away from me when I swept the scene, so they appeared in two photos and different locations. The program was smart enough to know that there’s only one Bob and Claire in the world and not to duplicate them.

View from Trail of Tears

The overlook at the Trail of Tears State Park offers a beautiful view of the river. While we were there, we spotted a guy in a rowboat making his way downstream. The way his gear was packed, we figured his destination was New Orleans.

“If he lands in Cape,” I commented to my friends, “I wonder who is working the Huck Finn Beat now that I’m gone.”

This was made of five frames.