What To Do When Your Hunting Trip Is A Washout?

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September 24, 2016

I decided to cancel my planned actual hunting trip to the woods this afternoon because of an impending storm.  It makes no sense to travel forty to fifty miles from home when you will most likely end up turning around and heading back home as soon as you arrive.  

Having made the decision to skip the woods in fear of drowning, I decided a father-daughter date was in order.  If you can't be in the outdoors, the next best thing for any sportsman is a store with all the outdoor gear you could care to see..... So we headed to the Bass Pro.

We entered the store and what else would my daughter want to do other than head straight over to the laser shooting gallery.  She gave me no choice but to show her that daddy can win at this game.  After checking out everything the hunting section had to offer.....and I mean everything, we decided to give the fudge a whirl (the salted caramel is a pretty tasty choice).

Fun At Bass Pro, Bass Pro Shops, Bass Pro
Having fun at Bass Pro Shops
Next it was off to make a loop around the lower level.  Of course we had to make a stop at the top of the stairs to check out the waterfall and catch some water to throw on dad (probably a pay back for beating her at the shooting gallery earlier in the evening).
Bass Pro Shops, Water Fall, Bobcat
Bass Pro has some interesting things to look at
While making the rounds on the lower floor we checked out all there was to see from the taxidermy to the boats to the four wheelers and everything in between.
ATV, Green ATV, Arctic Cat
Emilee checking out a 4-wheeler
Of course we couldn't pass up the ATV section.  We had to check out every one of them before making our way to the boats. 

Pontoon, Boats, Pontoon Boat
A couple of boats that Emilee had to see
In the boat section Emilee found two boats that she really liked (she has some expensive taste).  As you can see in the pictures the two she admired were nearly $40,000.

Upon finishing up our tour of the Bass Pro Shop we headed back home; of course, we had to make a pit stop by Quick Trip and get a frappe along the way.  I may not have been in the woods, but I did have a wonderful time spending the evening with my daughter.  I wouldn't have missed this opportunity for the world!

Next time your hunting plans get foiled by mother nature try spending some quality time with your children.  The memories from these experiences will not be forgotten.

- Any day in the outdoors (or an outdoor store) is a good day

My First Trip To The Woods During The 2016 Missouri Archery Deer Season

September 18th 2016

Today I was able to make it to one of my favorite hunting spots for the first time this season.  I guess getting out there three days after opening day for Missouri archery season isn't too bad.  I wasn't particularly out there to hunt so much as to check out my favorite hiding spot and see if there was any activity from either deer or people.

Hunting on public lands can bring many challenges with it - the biggest being other hunters pressuring your chosen honey hole.  I have been expecting a much greater occurrence of this problem as a result of Missouri opening up archery season to crossbow hunters.  I guess time will tell.  As for now however, I seem to be wrong.

After spending a bit of time in the woods I headed back home with high hopes for this years archery season.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

A Family Vacation Outside Of The Midwest Day 4

Wednesday September 14th, 2016
Entering Arkansas, West Memphis, Entering West Memphis Arkansas
Crossing The Bridge From Memphis To West Memphis Arkansas

Today we woke up in Hot Springs Arkansas.  After eating breakfast and packing up the car we headed out for our adventure which started by driving to the top of the scenic lookout located near the downtown area.  Our children were really impressed with the curves (which our daughter referred to as U-Turns) on the way up.
Hot Springs Arkansas Scenic Lookout, Scenic View, Hot Springs Scenic Loop
A View From The Top

After stopping to explore some of the hiking trails and taking some pictures we headed back to the bottom and walked to the visitors center.  Here we went on a tour of the old bath house and made our way to the hot springs for which the town is named.  Believe me when I tell you the water in the holding pool of these springs is HOT!  After checking these out we headed over to one of the water outlets in the area that allows its visitors the opportunity to drink some fresh, cold spring water.  This water was some of the best tasting water I think I've ever had.
Spring, Hot Spring, Checking Out A Hot Spring
Emilee & Dakota Checking Out A Spring
Hot Spring, Spring, Holding Pool
One Of The "Hot" Springs

Once we finished checking out the attractions at Hot Springs, we headed over to the Crater of Diamonds State Park for a few hours of diamond mining.  We managed to find some quartz, lava, jasper and mica.  We weren't able to find any diamonds on this trip but we had a blast!  
Arkansas, Crater Of Diamonds State Park Arkansas, Crater Of Diamonds Sign
Crater Of Diamonds State Park Arkansas
Ore Carrying Cart, Crater Of Diamonds State Park, Ore Cart In Arkansas
Ore Cart At Crater Of Diamonds State Park
Sign at crater of diamonds state park, Diamond Mining Discovery sign, Crater of Diamonds
Sign At Crater Of Diamonds State Park

From here we headed back home so that we could take care of a few things that needed to be done before heading back to work on Monday.  Our trip home was the second longest drive of the trip and we arrived safely back around 1:00 AM.  In all our vacation covered about 1700 miles and took us through Missouri, Tennessee, Illinois, Alabama, Mississippi and Arkansas.  Although this vacation only lasted four days I'm sure the memories will last a lifetime.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

A Family Vacation Outside Of The Midwest Day 3

Tuesday September 13th 2016

Today we woke up in Memphis Tennessee and headed out for our daily vacation adventures.  The first stop we made was an unplanned detour to take a relaxing stroll along the Mississippi River.  I managed to show my children that their old dad was still able to outdo them at some of the different exercise stations along the walkway.  
Memphis, Mississippi River, Shad
Mississippi River At Memphis

After taking our walk, we headed a couple of minutes down the road to the Memphis Pyramid.  This is one Bass Pro Shop that no outdoor enthusiast should miss seeing. The main floor has a water feature like no other Bass Pro Shop I've seen.  I won't go into too much detail as I would hate to spoil it for anyone who wants to go see it for themselves.  I will say that the upstairs features a museum like area that covers the history of Ducks Unlimited.  Our children loved the whole experience.
Bass Pro, Bass Pro Pyramid, Memphis Tennessee
The Memphis Pyramid
Having finished looking around the Pyramid, we headed out to the car and were caught by surprise when the window hinge for the glass on the back door of our Escape decided to come apart on us.  This presented a slight problem as I didn't want to have the glass fall out while driving down the road.  I managed to get the window latched good enough to limp it over to a Ford dealership where I was told that this problem was not a common problem at all.  I decided to inform them that they would probably be a much more profitable company if they did some research when deciding which parts they would keep in stock.  My brief research on the subject of hatch-glass hinges told me a completely different story in which this issue is all too common.  I wasn't about to spend a couple of days in West Memphis Arkansas waiting on a part so I did the next best thing.  I headed down the road to the closest hardware store I could find and bought the widest roll of transparent Gorilla Glue brand tape they had on the shelf.  With a little effort to keep the glass in the correct position my wife and I managed to run a couple of strips of tape around the entire window and we were back on the road.  Hot Springs Arkansas.....here we come!

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

A Family Vacation Outside Of The Midwest Day 2

Monday September 12th, 2016

After having finally arrived in Chattanooga Tennessee, we made our way to the hotel and got some much needed rest.  When the morning of the 12th arrived we headed out for our next big adventure.  This day was to be one our children would never forget (and I'm pretty sure they won't).

Our first stop of the day was a place called Rock City Georgia.  If you ever have the chance to get out there and check it out, you definitely should.  It is beautiful!  We ended up spending several hours exploring the twists and turns along and through the many different passes these amazing bluffs had to offer.
Rock City, Hiking Around Bluffs, Eye Of A Needle
Some Of The Amazing Sites At Rock City Georgia
Along these pathways there are some amazing views, beautiful trees and almost too much too take in in one day.  The swinging bridge pictured below is one of the alternate paths that can be taken to a scenic lookout area (Yes I faced my fear of heights and crossed over it although it took nearly everything in me to get it done).  For those who are afraid of heights, there is a stone bridge that gives you an alternate route to the other side.
Rock City Georgia, Swinging Bridges, Swinging Bridge At Rock City Georgia
Swinging Bridge At Rock City Georgia

This area also features some beautiful trees.  The picture below is of one of the trees I found to be a photo worthy specimen.
Beautiful Tree, Tree At Rock City Georgia, Rock City Georgia
A Beautiful Tree At Rock City Georgia
After we had finished exploring all the nooks and crannies in Rock City, we headed to our next destination - Ruby Falls.  If you are like me and enjoy a good cave, this is another place worth visiting.  There are many different formations inside of this amazing cave and yes I had my camera with me to capture many of them.
Cave Formations, Column, Ruby Falls
A Column Inside Of The Cave
Some of the various formations have been named after our favorite foods such as the one below.
Steak And Potatoes At Ruby Falls, Steak And Potatoes, Ruby Falls
The Steak And Potatoes At Ruby Falls
Of course every outdoorsman loves fish.  I'm no exception to this rule so when I saw the formation below, I had to capture it with my camera.
The Fish At Ruby Falls, Ruby Falls, Ruby Falls Fish Cave Formation
The Fish At Ruby Falls
At the halfway point on your journey through the cave you will come upon a natural wonder that is awe inspiring.  The photo below is one of many pictures I snapped of the waterfall for which this cave is named.....Ruby Falls.
Ruby Falls, Waterfall, Waterfalls In Caves
The Ruby Falls Waterfall

After viewing the waterfall, we headed back to the elevator that had lowered us into this cavern for our 260 foot return trip to the surface and headed on our way to the next stopping point of this vacation....Memphis.  Why Memphis you ask?  Well I guess you'll have to check out the next post to see what could possibly attract a sportsman to such a crazy city.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

A Family Vacation Outside Of The Midwest

Sunday September 11th 2016

Vacation has finally arrived! My wife and I along with our two children have ventured outside of the midwestern states for our first vacation in five long years.  Upon leaving Missouri, we headed east to Tennessee and our first stop was in St. Louis after having made a wrong turn (My wife was reading the turn by turn directions from the GPS one her phone.)  We made the best of the situation and stopped to get gas and eat lunch before making a u-turn and heading back in the right direction.  The next stop we made was a gas station somewhere along the way.  

When we finally arrived in Nashville we ate at Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint.  The food there was amazing.  If you are ever in the Nashville Tennessee area I suggest you stop in and give them a try.  Being the adventurous person that I am I always have to try anything spicy and the Devil's Nectar BBQ Sauce lived up to its name without a doubt.  If you have any sinus problems, this sauce is sure to clear them right up.
BBQ, BBQ Sauce, Devil's Nectar
Devil's Nectar BBQ Sauce

From there we drove over to the Grand O'le Opry  to take some photos.  We arrived too late to tour the inside of the building, but it was still worth checking out.  Our kiddos were rather impressed by the size of the two guitars that were in front of the building.
Giant Guitar, Giant Acoustic Guitar, Huge Guitar
Giant Acoustic Guitar At Grand Ole Opry
Giant Electric Guitar, Huge Electric Guitar, Grand Ole Opry
Giant Electric Guitar At Grand Ole Opry

After taking a few photos at the Opry, we headed on to our final destination for the day....Chattanooga Tennessee where we spent the night before continuing our adventure.  In all we drove about 700 miles on our first day and spent many hours in the car.  Our children were surprisingly well behaved during this journey and by well behaved I mean they somehow managed to make the first leg of our journey without harming each other.

This trip is pretty much a round trip outdoor adventure vacation with new stops planned for each day. I guess this means that our children have a few more opportunities to get on each others nerves while we make another long trip in the car.

I will keep you posted on our vacation as it progresses.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day