Thursday, June 19, 2008

Flood in Louisiana, MO

My hometown is flooding. As of yesterday over 40 blocks of Louisiana, Missouri were underwater. And the river's not supposed to crest for a few more days. Louisiana is a historic little rivertown, on the banks of the Misssissippi River, about a hundred miles north of St. Louis. They closed the bridge to Illinois over a week ago and sandbagging efforts in Louisiana and Clarksville have been underway for weeks. I remember the flood of '93 very well, and never thought I'd see another 500 year flood...especially so soon. Here are some pictures my mom took of Louisiana.
The welcome sign.

The Champ Clark bridge into Illinois.

The train bridge.

Boat launch across the river in Illinois.

The riverfront, downtown on Saturday (6/14).

The riverfront, a few days later (6/18).

This use to be a park along the riverfront (and picture below).

Building on the riverfront.

Old laundromat; picture taken on Saturday (6/14).Same building, a few days later on Wednesday (6/18)


Picture above taken 6/14, same place below taken 6/18.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Catching up on Birthdays

Since we have a bunch of birthday celebrations coming up soon (Jaquie, Heather, John, etc.), I figured I should post the pictures from the last few birthday parties we had.

Ryan's birthday was in April, he turned 28. I threw him a nice little Fiesta birthday party with mango margaritas, a taco buffet, cerveza, sombreros and a fantastic homemade birthday cake.










The next day, we drove to Columbia to celebrate Kirsten's birthday with the whole gang. Even with all the spankings, I'm pretty sure she had a good time. :)




And happy birthday to all those that have had birthdays in between: Chris, Lindsey, Alice, Stuart, Will, Jay, Annie and Freckles.

"Stand By" for Tarpon Madness at Location X

I know, I know. It's been forever since I last posted. I'm sorry, Mom - I know you've been impatiently waiting for tarpon pictures and the story, so here they are!

It was a GREAT trip!! The first morning, before it was even light out, we met our guide at a little dump of a bait shop, boarded our flats boat and were off! As soon as we got settled in our magical spot, Ryan began "warming up" by casting and stripping. It wasn't light enough to see any tarpon more than 5 feet from our boat, but unbelievably, on his second/third cast...tarpon on! Our guide starting coaching Ryan through the process but his hook set was a little too aggressive (can you blame him...he was really excited!) and the fish snapped the line. We couldn't yet see the fish, but we now knew they were there - VERY promising!

The water was pretty muddy, which is apparently a good thing. It was bright and sunny, with very few clouds. The conditions were "perfect" and excitment was in the air. After another few sightings and stalkings, Ryan finally hooked and landed his first tarpon! It was a little guy (only about 60 pounds), but put up a hell of a fight. Upon getting hooked, these fish take off like wave runners, jumping and splashing and fighting. We chased it for quite a while and Ryan did great reeling it in and manuevering the rod. So, after three years of chasing silver, he finally landed one!


And then it was on! The next two were much bigger, 90 pounds and 110 pounds! We ended the first day with three tarpon caught.



Day 2 was very different than Day 1. The water was like glass that morning, with no waves and no wind. The guide was able to spot a tarpon over a quarter mile away and then position the boat to where Ryan could cast to it. Once the sun came out and warmed the water, the tarpon stopped moving and laid up on the top of the water, where we could happen upon them and surprise them. It was a completely different kind of fishing, and very exciting to watch. Ryan caught one enormous tarpon of about 120 pounds first thing in the morning. He had a few others that he "jumped" and chased. By the end of the day, the waves were pretty intense. I felt like I was riding a bull with all the bucking and rocking - not ideal fishing conditions, but we still managed to chase a few more. We ended our fishing expedition with lots of smiles and excitement for next year!

Great job honey! I'm so proud of you!