Fit and Healthy on Route 66: Queeny County Park

February 27, 2012
Winter Hike at Queeny Park

Winter Hike at Queeny Park

Queeny Park is just a few minutes north of the Manchester Road alignment of Route 66 as it traverses West St. Louis County. The park has two entrances. If you are traveling West on Manchester, turn right on Mason Road and look for the entrance that says “Dog Museum”. If you are traveling East on Manchester, turn left on Weidman Road to access the park. There is no way to drive from one entrance to the other without leaving the park, but you can walk between the two entrances.

Queeny Park in Summer

Queeny Park in Summer

When I was young, I used to love to go to Queeny Park to play on the very advanced and unusual playground equipment for the time. Lately I’ve used the park for biking and hiking. There are some paved trails and some gravel surfaced trails. The park is hilly so either way you’ll get a good workout – it’s especially good in my opinion for practicing hill climbing if you’re new to mountain biking. You’ll get enough of a challenge to give you something to work toward but most of the hills are not so difficult that you’ll be overly discouraged. The park is large and there are enough trails to enjoy a moderately long or short excursion depending on what you are looking for.

Yes you read the first paragraph correctly – at the Mason Road entrance there is indeed a Museum of the Dog. I remember the controversy surrounding this Museum when it was first proposed. A lot of people thought it sounded ridiculous – I haven’t visited it myself. It consists of a collection of artwork devoted dogs in an historic circa 1853 house. I’ve had very enjoyable visits to a barbed wire museum and a vacuum cleaner museum which probably sound like very odd attractions to most, so who knows, it might be good – perhaps it’s worthy of the tradition of eccentric attractions on Route 66. There are lots of dog walkers in the park so there does appear to be a large built-in audience! If you’re traveling Route 66 with canine companions this might be an especially good stop to make – dogs are allowed in the museum and you can give your pets and yourself a workout on the trails.

Photos of Queeny Park

Queeny Park Web Site

Fit and Healthy on Route 66: Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center

February 13, 2012
Deer at Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center

Photo by Mark Stauter.

On February 12, 2012 a meeting of the Route 66 Association of Missouri Publication Committee was held in Kirkwood, MO. In the past after these meetings I have headed to nearby Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center for a hike after the meeting. On this occasion, Mark Stauter joined me. There are three trails to choose from. First we took the 0.70 mi Broken Ridge Trail then we switched over to the 1.20 mi Hickory Ridge Trail. Both trails are paved with asphalt. This makes for easy footing in dry weather but do be careful if conditions are at all wet or icy because there are steep hils and the asphalt could get slippery.

The trails are short, but hilly enough to give you a decent workout. Despite the close proximity of interstate highways and homes, there is a lot of wildlife to see. We saw deer, chipmunks and many birds including tufted titmice and robins. There was such an abundance of robins in one area that the sound of them rustling through leaves to look for food was quite striking. Not a rare sight by any means, but a delight! I’m not certain but I may have seen some dark-eyed juncos. We definitely heard woodpeckers. If you happen to come here when the visitor center is open, it has excellent exhibits and you can borrow binoculars for birdwatching.

For directions and more information, go to Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center

More photos on Carolyn’s Facebook page

Reach for the Stars on Route 66

February 9, 2012

Reach for the Stars on Route 66!  is Youth Services for Oklahoma County’s annual fundraising gala, benefiting youth and families. Funds raised in the silent and live auction help provide services to homeless teens. Our event theme this year revolves around Route 66 and we would appreciate donations for the auction or décor, such as gift certificates for food or lodging, tickets to attractions, or other travel-related experiences or items along or pertaining to The Mother Road. Donors will receive an official acknowledgement letter from our 501(c)3 non-profit noting the donation is tax-deductible. Donation information must be received by April 4 and the item(s) by April 13. Also, tickets are available for $150 each if you’ll be in OKC on April 20. For more information, contact Cass Hayes at (405)235-7537 or Thank you for helping us Change Young Lives!

Donor Letter

Donor Form

More information about the event

Fit and Healthy on Route 66: Onondaga Cave State Park

February 8, 2012
Oak Ridge Trail at Onondaga Cave State Park

Oak Ridge Trail at Onondaga Cave State Park

On a recent Saturday, there was a meeting of the Route 66 Association of Missouri Motor Tour Committee at Skippy’s in Leasburg, MO. My friend Mark Reed tagged along so we could go on a hike after the meeting at Onondaga Cave State Park, about 7 miles down the road from Skippy’s. It had rained earlier in the day, but by the time of our hike there was only a light mist still falling – it felt delightful on my face! It’s usually so dry in the winter that the moist environment made me feel rejuvenated and refreshed.

Moss Covered Rock

Moss Covered Rock

During the winter season, there are no cave tours and we had the park almost to ourselves. I had hiked the Deer Run Trail on a previous visit so this time I chose the 3 mile Oak Ridge Trail for our hike. During wet weather, there are many small temporary waterfalls along the trail so for most of the hike the only sounds were the gentle trickle of water and occasional twitter of small birds. The trail is on rocky and hilly terrain so there was little mud to contend with and there were only a couple of spots where footing was questionable. We were astonished by the beauty of the abundant lichens, mosses and ferns – it was like walking in a giant terrarium!

A highlight of our day was reaching a ridge with an open glade covered with copper-colored grasses. We enjoyed the subtle colors of the winter landscape and views of the surrounding hills. Eventually we reached a connector trail to the Deer Run Trail and since we both had some life left in our legs we decided to do part of that trail as well. There is a letterbox on the Deer Run Trail that I had found on a previous visit in 2010. I had my letterboxing journal and stamp with me so I logged another find for that box. If you want to find out about letterboxing and get clues to find that box, go to After wrapping up our hike we looked for and found another quick drive-by letterbox in Bourbon.

Here are some more photos from our hike.


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