The Great Race Starts at Kirkwood, Missouri

The Great Race started in Kirkwood, Missouri on the 20th of June. You may ask what is the Great Race, well is an antique, vintage, and collector car competitive controlled-speed endurance road rally on public highways. It is not a test of top speed. It is a test of a driver/navigator team’s ability to follow precise course instructions. Each day the driver and navigator team receives a set of course instructions that indicate every turn, speed change, stop, and start that the team must make throughout the day (usually 220 to 250 such instructions per day). Along the course route there will be from 4 to 7 checkpoints recording the exact time that the team passes that point.

For more information go to there website.

Here are some of my photos from the start of the race.

Lewis and Clark | Gateway to the West | St Louis Arch

The Captains Return Statue is underwater near the Eads Bridge. The statue by sculptor Harry Weber was dedicated at the Final Signature Event in St Louis on September 23, 2006.  The statue is located very near the Gateway Arch, which commemorates the location of the old St Louis riverfront community. The site of William Clark’s house and Indian Council Chambers and Museum, built in 1816, is within view of the statue.

Also in the photo is Eads Bridge. The Eads Bridge was designed and built by one of America’s greatest engineers, James B. Eads. It was completed in 1874 at a cost of over $10 million dollars. The world famous bridge was the first major bridge to use steel in its construction, and to be built entirely using cantilever supports. Its pier supports, shown here are still some of the deepest in the world. One was sunk 100 feet below the surface of the water to reach bedrock. The bridge was rebuilt and reopened in 2003. It is a combined road, rail and pedestrian bridge.

See four version of the same photo

  • Color Photo
  • Black and White
  • Digital Oil Painting
  • HDR

See the photos at Photography by McGraphics
For sale at –  Stock Photo

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St Louis Missouri | Car Shows | Hot Rods | Street Rods | Custom Cars

Custom car is a passenger vehicle that has been modified in either of the following two ways. First, a custom car may be altered to improve its performance, often by altering or replacing the engine and transmission. Second, a custom car may be a personal “styling” statement, making the car look unlike any car as delivered from the factory. Although the two are related, custom cars are distinct from hot rods. The extent of this difference has been the subject of debate among customizers and rodders for decades. Additionally, a street rod can be considered a custom.

Hot rods are typically American cars with large engines modified for linear speed. The origin of the term “hot rod” is unclear. One explanation is that the term is a contraction of “hot roadster,” meaning a roadster that was modified for speed. Another possible origin includes modifications to or replacement of the camshaft(s), sometimes known as a “stick” or “rod”. A camshaft designed to produce more power is sometimes called a “hot stick” or a “hot rod”. Roadsters were the cars of choice because they were light. The term became commonplace in the 1930s or 1940s as the name of a car that had been “hopped up” by modifying the engine in various ways to achieve higher performance.

There is still a vibrant hot rod culture worldwide, especially in Canada, the United States, the United KingdomAustralia and Sweden. The hot rod community has now been subdivided into two main groups: street rodders and hot rodders. Hot rodders build their cars using a lot of original equipment parts, whether from wrecking yards or NOS , and follow the styles that were popular from the 1940s through the 1960s. Street rodders build cars (or have them built for them) using primarily new parts.

A common factor among current owners of hot rods is to make them more noticeable. There are now many different sectors of hot rodding, some of which are:

  • Street rod: a very popular branch of hot rodding. Contrary to the implications of the term hot rod, street rods are a mix of hot rods, custom cars, and modern Detroit cars. Emphasis is on high-quality custom paint jobs, comfortable interiors, and modern engines and running gear. As specified by the NSRA (National Street Rod Association), a street rod must have been manufactured prior to 1949.
  • Pro-Street rod: a branch of street rodding featuring mildly customized sedan and coupe models not normally associated with hot rodding that have monster engines and huge rear tires inside the fender wells. They retain all the other luxury features of street rods.
  • Billet rod: street rods featuring many items being machined from billet aluminum
  • Traditional rod: built according to a particular point in time and stick to those build techniques and materials
  • Rat rod: constructed to resemble an old time jalopies, although they may require more work than a show rod
  • Show rods (created to compete in national car shows such as America’s Most Beautiful Roadster (AMBR), and the Detroit Autorama).

There are hundreds of local car clubs supporting the hot rod/street rod community. The National Street Rod Association (NSRA) is the largest club in the world and sponsors many local events including the Street Rod Nationals which serve as a showplaces for the majority of the hot-rodding and street-rodding world to display their cars and to find nearly any part needed to complete them. Collectively they are all referred to as Hot Rods.

Drag racing is a competition in which specially prepared automobiles or motorcycles compete, usually two at a time, to be first to cross a set finish line. The race follows a straight course from a standing start over a measured distance, mostcommonly ¼ mile (1,320 ft (400 m)) for most cars, with a shorter 1,000 ft (300 m) for some Top Fuel dragsters and funny cars. Electronic timing and speed sensing systems have been used to record race results since the 1960s.

Before each race (also known as a pass), each driver is allowed to perform a burnout, which heats the driving tires and lays rubber down at the beginning of the track, improving traction. Each driver then lines up (or stages) at the starting line. Races are started electronically by a system known as a Christmas tree. The Christmas tree consists of a column of lights for each driver/lane, one blue, then three amber, one green, and one red, connected to light beams on the track. The first, a split blue open circle, is split into two halves. When the first light beam is broken by the vehicle’s front tire(s) indicate that the driver has pre-staged (approximately 7 inches (180 mm) from the starting line), lights the first half of the blue circle, and then staged (at the starting line), which lights up the second half of the blue circle, and also the corresponding bar in the middle of that circle.

Below the blue “staged” light are three large amber lights, a green light, and a red light. When both drivers are staged, the tree is activated to start the race, which causes the three large amber lights to illuminate, followed by the green light. There are two standard light sequences: either the three amber lights flash simultaneously, followed 0.4 seconds later by the green light (a Pro tree), or the ambers light in sequence from top to bottom, 0.5 seconds apart, followed 0.5 seconds later by the green light (a Sportsman tree, or full tree). If the front tires leaves from a stage beam (stage and pre-stage lights both turned off) before the green light illuminates, the red light for that driver’s lane illuminates instead, indicating disqualification (unless a more serious violation occurs). Once a driver commits a red-light foul (also known as redlighting), the other driver can also commit a foul start by leaving the line too early but still win, having left later. The green light automatically is illuminated on the opposite side of the red-lightning driver. Should both drivers leave after the green light illuminates, the one leaving first is said to have a holeshot advantage.

The winner is the first vehicle to cross the finish line (and therefore the driver with the lowest total reaction time and elapsed time). The elapsed time is a measure of performance only; it does not necessarily determine the winner. Because elapsed time does not include reaction time and each lane is timed individually, a car with a slower elapsed time can actually win if that driver’s holeshot advantage exceeds the elapsed time difference. In heads-up racing, this is known as a holeshot win.

See the photos at Photography by McGraphics
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WW 1 Memorial with the Gold Star Court Of Honor Plaques

When one man found 752 cast bronze disks in Soldier’s Memorial, he had no idea the years of effort involved to turn the forgotten artifacts into a memorial at Jefferson Barracks.

Seventeen years ago, Frank “Skip” Berger made an interesting discovery in the lower level of Soldiers’ Memorial in downtown St. Louis.

Fifteen unmarked barrels filled with 752 cast bronze disks stood in the dust. Each disk bore the name and military information of a St. Louis service member who lost his or her life while serving in World War I. The serendipitous find began a chain reaction of activity that would impress even professional historians.

The American Gold Star Mothers, a group who wished to honor their fallen sons and daughters, commissioned the markers, cast at a local foundry in the 1920s.

Berger is a member of the Rollo-Calcaterra American Legion Post 15 and the group began an extensive research and restoration mission.

The effort will come to fruition Sept. 30 at 1:30 p.m. when Post 15 will dedicate the World War I Court of Honor Memorial in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery.

The Post preserved 752 of the 1,185 gold star medallions. They worked in conjunction with the Jefferson Barracks Chapel Association, the National Cemetery Association, the Veterans Administration and the St. Louis Economic Council.

The Port Authority, under the economic council, awarded the group $250,000 for the memorial, and construction started in May.

via WWI Memorial Complete After Buried Treasure Discovery – Mehlville-Oakville, MO Patch.

See the photos at Photography by McGraphics

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Dancing Bear Lodge | Smoky Mountains | Photo Trip

Stirred by the sapphire mist that envelops our mountain vistas, the Cherokee people named the Great Smoky Mountains the place of blue smoke. At our Townsend, Tennessee lodging, we call them our back yard. Whether visiting the Smokies for relaxation, sport, romance or business, Dancing Bear Lodge hotel in Townsend, Tennessee, inspires getaways as expansive and free-spirited as the Smokies themselves. Experience one of the gems of Great Smoky Mountain Cabin Resort hotels!

Our Smoky Mountain accommodations are ideally located for both a relaxing retreat and an engaging open-air adventure. Dancing Bear Cabin Resort offers a number of impressively-constructed, luxurious cabin rentals in the Smoky Mountain lodges that are adjacent to Little River in Townsend, Tennessee. Only 5 minutes from the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and 25 minutes from the Knoxville Airport, our 36-acre estate is sure to provide you and your family or associates with an unforgettable escape at our Lodging in Townsend, Tennessee. You will quickly see why our Smoky Mountain Lodges are better than other Townsend hotels.

Enjoy America’s most visited national park—The Great Smoky Mountains, only 5 minutes from our Townsend, Tennessee lodge. You’ll find an astonishing diversity of plant and animal life, unparalleled beauty and a bevy of guided programs and special events. A hiking and bicycling paradise awaits! While enjoying the best the Smoky Mountains region has to offer, enjoy a luxurious and relaxing refuge with our Townsend, TN Hotels Amenities when you retreat to your cabin or room at our well-appointed Smoky Mountain Lodge.

If you’re looking for outdoor adventure nearby, Dancing Bear offers paved biking trails, wildflower walks and mountain biking on our 36-acre property. Unwind with your favorite book on a front porch rocker, get the adrenaline flowing with a spirited game of beach volleyball or test your angling skills by fly fishing in the Little River. Whether it’s a bubbling hot tub or a blazing campfire that marks day’s end for you, our lodge helps round out your Smoky Mountain experience—all without leaving your home away from home. Dining in the Smokies is no less exciting, with authentic regional favorites that are lovingly crafted by our own chef.

via Hotels in Townsend, TN – Smoky Mountain Cabin Resort The Dancing Bear Lodge Gatlinburg.

The Great Smoky Mountains

The Great Smoky Mountains are a mountain range rising along the Tennessee–North Carolina border in the southeastern United States. They are a subrange of the Appalachian Mountains, and form part of the Blue Ridge Physiographic Province. The range is sometimes called the Smoky or Smokey Mountains, and the name is commonly shortened to the Smokies. The Great Smokies are best known as the home of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which protects most of the range. The park was established in 1934, and, with over 9 million visits per year, it is the most-visited national park in the United States.

The Great Smokies are part of an International Biosphere Reserve. The range is home to an estimated 187,000 acres of old growth forest, constituting the largest such stand east of the Mississippi River. The cove hardwood forests in the range’s lower elevations are among the most diverse ecosystems in North America, and the Southern Appalachian spruce-fir forest that coats the range’s upper elevations is the largest of its kind.[4] The Great Smokies are also home to the densest black bear population in the Eastern United States and the most diverse salamander population outside of the tropics.

Along with the Biosphere reserve, the Great Smokies have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The U.S. National Park Service preserves and maintains 78 structures within the national park that were once part of the numerous small Appalachian communities scattered throughout the range’s river valleys and coves. The park contains five historic districts and nine individual listings on the National Register of Historic Places.

The name “Smoky” comes from the natural fog that often hangs over the range and presents as large smoke plumes from a distance. This fog, which is most common in the morning and after rainfall, is the result of warm humid air from the Gulf of Mexico cooling rapidly in the higher elevations of Southern Appalachia.

See the photos at Photography by McGraphics
For sale at –  Stock Photo

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The Lantern Festival at the Missouri Botanical Garden | Photo Outing

The Lantern Festival (also known as the Yuanxiao Festival or Shangyuan Festival in ChinaChap Goh Meh Festival in IndonesiaMalaysia and SingaporeYuen Siu Festival in Hong Kong, and Tết Thượng Nguyên” or “Tết Nguyên Tiêu” in Vietnam; corresponding Japanese event Koshōgatsu); is a festival celebrated on the fifteenth day of the first month in the lunisolar year in the Chinese calendar, the last day of the lunisolar Chinese New Year celebration. It is not to be confused with the Mid-Autumn Festival, which is sometimes also known as the “Lantern Festival” in locations such as Singapore and Malaysia. During the Lantern Festival, children go out at night to temples carrying paper lanterns and solve riddles on the lanterns (simplified Chinese: 猜灯谜; traditional Chinese: 猜燈謎; pinyincāidēngmí). It officially ends the Chinese New Year celebrations.

In ancient times, the lanterns were fairly simple, and only the emperor and noblemen had large ornate ones; in modern times, lanterns have been being embellished with many complex designs. For example, lanterns are now often made in shapes of animals. The lanterns can symbolize the people letting go of their past selves and getting a new one, which they will let go of the next year.

Throughout the history of China, lanterns have been symbols of hope, rejuvenation, and celebration. Lanterns are integral to the most mundane or important rituals of life; in support of communication with the god; for ceremonial purposes; as symbols; and in festivals.

The Lantern Festival falls on the 15th day of the 1st lunar month, usually in February or March in the Gregorian calendar. As early as the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 25), it had become a festival with great significance.

This day’s important activity is watching lanterns. Throughout the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220), Buddhism flourished in China. One emperor heard that Buddhist monks would watch sarira, or remains from the cremation of Buddha‘s body, and light lanterns to worship Buddha on the 15th day of the 1st lunar month, so he ordered to light lanterns in the imperial palace and temples to show respect to Buddha on this day. Later, the Buddhist rite developed into a grand festival among common people and its influence expanded from the Central Plains to the whole of China.

Today, the lantern festival is still held each year around the country. Lanterns of various shapes and sizes are hung in the streets, attracting countless visitors. Children will hold self-made or bought lanterns to stroll with on the streets, extremely excited.

Commemorating its 25th year of work on the Flora of China project, in 2012 the Garden hosted Lantern Festival: Art by Day, Magic by Night, a unique opportunity to witness a spectacle rarely staged outside Asia.

via Lantern Festival: Art by Day, Magic by Night.

See the photos at Photography by McGraphics
For sale at –  Stock Photo

55 Stunning Botanical Gardens to See Before You Die

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Alys Beach, Florida one of the beaches in South Walton | Photo Outing

South Walton, Florida are a 26-mile stretch of beaches on Northwest Florida‘s Gulf Coast are found among 15 beach communities: Miramar BeachSeacapeSandestinDune AllenSanta Rosa BeachBlue MountainGrayton BeachWaterColorSeasideSeagroveWaterSoundSeacrestRosemary BeachAlys Beach and Inlet Beach.

The sugar-white beaches and emerald green waters are a major attraction for vacationers. More than 40 percent of the Beaches of South Walton are preserved through state parks and forests. The area is ideal for hiking, biking, kayaking, or fishing.

Alys Beach

Drive between the eye-catching butteries at the entrance of Alys Beach, and you may feel as if you’ve been magically transported to a seaside paradise in Bermuda or Antigua. Palm trees and deep green lawns in the community’s open space contrast the white stucco walls and elegant private gardens of its residences.

The Gulf of Mexico beckons from nearby, while the amazing luxury of the Caliza Pool has a decidedly Mediterranean flair. The “Alys Beach Experience” is one of unparalleled casual luxury in a spectacular beach village setting.

via Alys Beach FL | Florida Vacations | Visit South Walton.

An oasis of luxury with a distinct Mediterranean feel, Alys Beach is the crown jewel of Florida’s Emerald Coast. It is a beach community founded in New Urbanism and built to exacting standards for the utmost in luxury living. It is a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Alys Beach is a reminder that what once was can indeed still be. It is a life of balance, a life of beauty, a life of simplicity, a life of grace. Alys Beach is a life defined.

Located along Florida’s Gulf Coast, Alys Beach boasts one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. With a carpet of sugar-fine sand descending into crystal-clear waters, this stretch of Gulf Coast is unmatched in beauty. Zoning laws preserve the pristine beach and keep it clear of the billboards and storefronts that litter ordinary beach towns. The Emerald Coast is so clean and well preserved that it has been certified as a Blue Wave Beach by the country’s only environmental-certification program for beaches.

Set against this immaculate natural backdrop, Alys Beach is a distinctive beach town designed and founded upon the principles of New Urbanism, a movement that emphasizes community and whose hallmark is the placement of amenities in and around homes to promote walking, talking, and a sense of connectedness. Every one of Alys Beach’s amenities, from the idyllic Caliza pool to the neighborhood coffee shop, is located within walking distance of every front door.

The vacation homes themselves are the epitome of luxury living. Designed and constructed for the most discerning property owners, these luxury beach homes offer gourmet kitchens with commercial-grade appliances, cozy fireplaces, and central courtyards with generous dipping pools.

via Alys Beach Offers Luxury Beach Living From A New Urbanist Perspective > Home.

This is an outstanding resort town. It is must see if you are in the area.

See the photos at Photography by McGraphics
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Sunset Country Club Golf Course in the spring | Sunset Hills Missouri

The golf course at Sunset CC is part of the classic era of course design.  With features and characteristics found only in these turn-of-the-century layouts, Sunset has the charm and intimacy lovers of the game truly enjoy. Designed as a shotmakers course, they took the lay of the land and positioned the holes in locations that best fit the rolling terrain. It is a true testament to the original Foulis brothers design that the routing of the course has been essentially unchanged since it first opened. However, our membership remains in tune with the needs of today’s modern golfer.  Consequently, recent upgrades have been made to our outstanding zoysia fairways, the remodeling of our reens with the latest A1/A4 bent grasses, new chipping green surrounds and updated green complexes, make Sunset a challenge for players at all levels.  Included in recent upgrades is our new 300-plus yard practice facility with five target greens, making the Sunset golfing environment one of the best among area clubs.

See the photos at Photography by McGraphics
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St Louis is the first of its kind in the nation to Welcome Home the troops from Iraq Parade

St Louis, Missouri was the first city to welcome home the troops from Iraq on Saturday January 28, 2012. In looking around at the tens of thousands of people waving American flags and cheering, Army Maj. Rich Radford was moved that so many braved a cold January wind Saturday in St. Louis to honor people like him: Iraq War veterans.

The Welcome Home Heroes Parade included more than 80 floats, two marching bands and the Budweiser Clydesdales.  The parade began at noon Saturday at Kiener Plaza and ended at Union Station with a Veterans Resource Center set-up inside.

People waived American flags and cheered “thank you” as veterans made their way down Market.  People also held up Welcome Home signs.

It was inspiring to sit there while I was taking photos and watching the children to senior citizens smiling, waving and yelling “welcome home” at the troops as they past by. It was a day I will not forget.

See the photos at Photography by McGraphics

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  • More cities consider parades for Iraq War vets (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
  • St. Louis Hosting 1st Big Parade on Iraq War’s End (abcnews.go.com)
  • Cities Consider Parades for War Vets (myfoxphoenix.com)
  • Cities Consider Parades for War Vets (myfoxny.com)
  • St. Louis hosting 1st big parade on Iraq War’s end (newsok.com)
  • St. Louis hosts first big parade to welcome Iraq War veterans (photoblog.msnbc.msn.com)
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Photos from Forest Park, St Louis

I have done a gallery of photos I have taken in Forest Park in St Louis, Missouri. Here is some information on the St Louis land mark.

Forest Park is a public park located in western part of the city of St. Louis, Missouri. It is a prominent civic center and covers 1,293-acre. The park, which opened in 1876 more than a decade after its proposal, has hosted several significant events, including the Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904 and the 1904 Summer Olympics. The park is known as the “heart of St. Louis” and features a variety of attractions, including the St. Louis Zoo, the Saint Louis Art Museum, the Missouri History Museum, and the St. Louis Science Center.

Link: Photography by McGraphics

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