Mass Grave in Jefferson City

This monument stands atop a mass grave in the Jefferson City National Cemetery. Beneath are buried the 147 Civil War Union soldiers killed responding to the Centralia Massacre. “On September 27, 1864, Bloody Bill Anderson’s guerilla gang—including a young recruit … Read More

Pair of Kings

Towering over the Elvis Is Alive Museum, the sixteen-foot plywood Elvis cutout stood resplendent in his high collared jumpsuit and jet-black pompadour, bent toward his interstate fans, holding a microphone to his curled upper lip. As far as plywood Elvis … Read More

Highways Have Souls

Erifnus carried me without radar, sonar, Pixar, Pulsar, Dagmar, Bolivar, Telstar, Avatar, NASCAR or a minibar. We relied on maps. Compared to GPS, maps are lazy and they won’t work on their own, preferring to doze, folded tight as a … Read More

Fuzzy Fables

“That there’s not a skunk,” the guide pointed to one animal pelt on a table, “That’s genuine Alaskan sable.” It was a skunk, the guide admitted, but to the European fur market in the early 1800s, the term Alaskan sable … Read More

Alone in the Wilderness with coyotes

Downriver, I found a suitable gravel bar where I beached my canoe to climb the riverbank and set up camp deep in the Irish Wilderness. Because the wilderness deserves a “leave no trace” campsite, I packed light: a tent, sleeping … Read More

Surprise, Missouri

As I paddled down the Eleven Point River, I knew that within the better part of a county in every direction, I was a population of one. This is the Irish Wilderness. Along the river there used to be a … Read More

Missouri’s Unknown Superstar

Next time you sit down with the kids to watch Disney’s Pinocchio, listen to the cricket. He was born here. At least, his voice was born here. When that loveable bug sings “When You Wish Upon a Star,” the voice … Read More

Insanity

St. Joseph. Jesse James died here. And the single most unsettling image–of a vengeful John Brown–hangs in the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art. But no unsettling emotion compared to the final stop on my self-guided tour. The first thing I saw … Read More

A Tale of Two Stacked Ladies

Jack Dawson, I’m calling you out. 1961. The first photo I ever took, long before the selfie craze. My photo op was dramatic only to me. Steaming across the Atlantic,  the Queen Mary’s three smokestacks poured a layer of smoke … Read More