Sunset City 2017

Well I see I fell pretty far behind on my blog site, my activity level has increased since Christmas time and I apologize to my faithful readers. I`ll start catching up by posting some gorgeous sunsets since the 4th of January through March….

below is May 31st….above is February back…

below starts June on the 5th….

…I had the camera set wrong and this is what I got on the first shot, the second one is a bit more like it tho….


Tractor Trailer Fire Christmas Night EB I-44 near Stanton

Late into the evening hours of Christmas night, I was working on editing up some photos when I heard Sullivan Fire Department kicked out for a tractor trailer fire on EB I-44 at the 225 mile marker. I quickly dressed, then Onyx and I headed for the truck, camera and portable scanner in hand. Washco advised the tractor was fully involved, and said they had other reports that it might be at the 227 mile marker…so I figured the glow of the fully involved truck would provide a good view from the West Overpass and give me a better idea of which way to go to photograph it and stay out of the way of fire trucks…I met Pumper 854 as I passed Jack in the Box Restaurant about the same time as Washco advised the fire crew that the truck was indeed on fire east of town and Highway Patrol was on scene, confirming the tractor trailer fully involved with a possible load of magnesium. Pumper 854 headed east on I-44 and I took the North Service Road instead…I pulled up and parked on the side of the Service Road even with the truck on fire, arriving right behind the fire crews. I crossed the median and climbed to the top of the embankment to the shoulder of westbound lanes, discovering traffic in both directions, while light, was all stopped, so my first photo shows Firefighter Jimmy Smythe, who was driving and engineering 854, stretching an attack line from the truck, for the firefighters who were busy packing up….the tractor was definitely heavily involved in fire and the front tires of the trailer had also caught fire by now….



…the attack crew consisting of Gary Midgyett, Nick White, and Trevor Woods, made sure their gear and air tanks were working well and then began to attack the fire….they were using foam since they were still not sure what hazards they were facing and it appeared the fire may have been fed by diesel fuel, which as it turned out, was feeding the fire after the tanks ruptured…needless to say, they had their hands full….











I would imagine by now they were probably wondering if the foam was having any effect on the fire, it was definitely burning hotter than a normal truck fire would burn…from my point of view tho, they were definitely having an effect on knocking down the fire…


…and four minutes after I snapped this photo above, they had the fire completely knocked down….


…and not much of the cab of that truck left either….






…Jimmy opened the trailer doors a few minutes later and released the smoke built up inside it, luckily it was determined the truck was not carrying any magnesium or any other haz mat. Needless to say, the tractor was a complete loss and the trailer did sustain some damage. Eastbound lanes remained closed for a few minutes and traffic was diverted on to the service roads at Sullivan`s East Overpass. At the same time crews were battling this fire, a serious traffic accident occurred on Springbluff Road in the area of the bad curves just north of the intersection of North and South Road. A pickup truck struck a tree and there were reports of multiple injuries…I was not able to get out to photograph that one due to road conditions. Sullivan was assisted by Bourbon and St Clair firefighters at that location. 

Building Fire on Campus at UMR Rolla December 8th, 2016

I didn`t go to this fire, heard Cuba Fire Department dispatched to assist Rolla Fire Department, and found several photos of it on the Rolla Daily News, some taken by the newspaper staff and some by students at UMR. From my understanding, the Rolla Fire Department was dispatched to the call as a HVAC unit fire, this is what it looked like on their arrival…


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The building involved was Emerson Hall, an Electrical and Computer Engineering Building, and Rolla arrived on scene with aerial truck, a ladder, and immediately began attacking the fire with it….

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…soon after their second aerial truck arrived, this one a platform, and they put it into hydraulic operations as well…

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I have never seen an HVAC unit burn like that on a building rooftop, but I guess anything is possible these days…kudos to the Rolla Fire Department and other departments who assisted them that day, as I heard they kept the fire contained to the rooftop and no students were injured. Per officials at UMR, ” Rolla Fire Chief Ron Smith said fire investigators believe the point of origin for the fire was near a circuit junction box that powered an electric motor attached to the cooling station on the roof of Emerson Hall. The cooling station caught fire early afternoon on Thursday, Dec. 8. Smith also stated no one was injured at this fire. ”  There was also no structural damage to the building. Great photos by students and staff too !!



Memorial Service For Dad Graveside

Bill Record, Jr of Healing Stone Monument Company in Sullivan, took delivery on the headstone we designed for Dads grave at IOOF Cemetery by mid October, and placed it at the grave a week later…..


…..we decided to have a memorial graveside service so that the US Air Force could come out to present the colors and play taps to honor Dad for his four years of active service from 1949 to 1953, since they forgot to show up on the day of his funeral. The Washington Legion Post was present that day and stepped up to the task when they realized the Air Force failed to show up, and did a fine job, but the Air Force kept calling Mom to apologize for their error and asked for a second chance..we felt there was no need to have them out until we had the headstone in place. We set the date for the service on Saturday afternoon, October 29th and invited family and close friends, as well as Sullivan Fire District. Cody Martin`s crew of firefighters and Deputy Chief Larry Flescher arrived and positioned Pumper 854, dedicated to Dad for over 50 years of service to the district back in 2012, on the west side of the headstone for the service….


The US Air Force was gracious enough to send out two young Sergeants for the service, which we found fitting since Dad was a Sergeant when he left the service. My sister JoAnn spoke about Dad at the service…..


….while I photographed the service for the newspaper and video taped the Presentation of the Colors. Kenny Palmer sang and Mike Dace spoke about Dads service to the district as well. The Air Force Sergeants then presented the colors and played taps…


…and then we released red, white, and blue balloons into the skies above….




…which concluded the service….here is the footstone that Mom had designed to reflect Dads service to the USAF, and the front side of the headstone as well….



We appreciate everyone that was able to come out and celebrate and honor Dads life with us that day. 

Alley Spring Mill October 2016

I thought I had missed the fall color at Alley Spring Mill this year, but out fall colors have been so far off track, we still have color now, late in November, when normally our trees are barren, leaves brown and on the ground. It`s been an unusual fall season this year. I stopped by Alley Spring Mill one fall morning late in October and found one small maple tree left there in bloom….


October Sunsets 2016

Fall and Spring time produce the prettiest sunsets and sunrises, mainly due to the more turbulent season in the skies, cloudy skies make the best sunsets, giving the last rays of the setting sun something to bounce around on and produce many colorful skies. October 2nd, I wandered up to the Sullivan City Park near the pool to capture this one…



…and a week later, on my way to work, I stopped off and shot this one near the Sunnen fountain in Maplewood…



…and a week after that, on my way west, I came upon this beauty out near Hwy FF and I-44….



…which made a nice backdrop for my truck….



Iowa Sunrise…. Late September

Josh and I left Joplin on Saturday afternoon after visiting the Tri State Mineral Show there and rockhunting with the KC Mineral Club members at some of the old tailing piles on the north side of town. We drove back to my house and re-packed the truck to drive up early Sunday morning to catch the last day of the Geodefest at Keokuk, Iowa. For some reason, that weekend is real popular for rockhunting events, so I have to split it in two to make both.  On the way up there early Sunday morning, I told him to keep his eyes peeled for a nice pond on the right side of the road, cause it looked like we were going to have a beautiful sunrise. Lo and behold we did, and he spotted a big pond so I could get some nice reflections of it….


…we drove on north a few miles and then turned off the four lane onto two lane Hwy 61 that took us up into Keokuk…just north of Alexandria, we crossed over the Des Moines River into Keokuk, Iowa and were met with this gorgeous sight as well, so I stopped on the wide shoulder of the bridge to capture it as well….


…moments later a huge dump truck came up onto the bridge going north and made the whole bridge sway, so after he passed by, I shot this next one with a bit more color in the sky above…


…for more of this story on Geodefest, take a look at my site and if you have any questions you can reach me at

Grand Falls in Late September 2016

Josh, one of my rockhunting friends from St Louis, joined me I on a trip to Joplin the third weekend in September, for a day and a half…to attend the Tri States Mineral Show and go mineral collecting with the Kansas City Mineral Club, invited to rockhunt with them at some of the old tailing piles down there that are still accessible. I have a few friends in that club as well as several other clubs and get invited to digs occasionally. We drove down a day early to visit with friends there as well. I like to go over to Grand Falls when I am down there, one of my fave places to photograph down that way…






…after that, I was off to my other favorite place down there…Andy`s Frozen Custard. 🙂

Rocky Falls in September

My good friend Justin was up here rockhunting with me a few weeks ago and after we finished hunting at the quarry at Eminence, we drove ten miles east to Rocky Falls, and cooled down in the spray of the waterfall there. There was a large church group there enjoying the swimmin hole…..


….some of their younger crowd were up exploring the falls when we climbed up there in our dirty blue jeans and boots…I could tell from their facial expressions that they were prob wondering where we had come from…it was quite warm and the spray from the water falling down that shelf of rhyolite felt very good….





this above is midway up…and then we climbed carefully on up to the top of the falls…cause let me tell ya, those rocks get very slippery when they are wet and the closer to the top of the falls, the harder it is to find dry spots on the rocks to put your feet on so you dont slip…I am talking from experience on slipping here….



…when we got to the top, Justin found this huge square shaped boulder on top of the bluff and naturally had to climb up on top of it….



…shortly after that. we climbed back down and headed back to the truck and homeward….


Rocky Falls is one of those beautiful areas of Missouri and the locals there at Eminence really like it, but they do share it well with others too. It`s ten miles east of Eminence on Hwy 106 and then south on H Hwy to Hwy NN, east from there a few miles, watch for the marked turn off to the right on to a gravel road…if you make it to the creek crossing on Hwy NN, you have gone too far. if you need more info. 






Sunbeams Over Eminence Quarry End of August

Onyx and I took a trip down to Eminence Quarry at the end of August to get some rockhunting in, we were just getting started when I noticed the clouds forming up as if to rain and then the windows to Heaven opened up in front of us….







…I`m a huge fan of sunbeams, photograph them whenever I see them if possible, and I took this as a good sign of things to come….hopefully my year just keeps getting better after seeing this. 🙂