Expedition Team: Dave Miller, Rosie Miller Expedition Date: September 16, 2019
Rosie and I camped at the Stanton, Missouri KOA and toured Meramec Caverns just off Route 66 where Jesse James and his brother Frank once hid out after robbing a train. The caverns, a 4.6 mile cave system opened in the 1930’s, were beautiful with colored stalactites, rock formations, underground spring, a 50 ft. by 50 ft. ballroom & a consistent temperature of 58 degrees.
Brief Jesse James Cave History: Jesse & Frank escaped Meramec Cavern through a water filled passageway and out the back of the cave. At Loot Rock, four items (lantern, two parts of a rifle & a strongbox dating to the Gadshill, Missouri train robbery) were found. Jesse had been familiar with the cave since back in the Civil War as his gang of Confederates in 1864 raided a squad of Union soldiers who were mining the cave to make explosives.
In 17 years, the Jesse James gang robbed more than a quarter of a million dollars from banks, stage coaches and trains. He was shot in the back and killed in 1882 by Bob Ford, a fellow gang member, whom collected the reward money. However, a man in Lawton, Oklahoma named Frank Dalton claimed to be the real Jesse James and lived to be 103 years old Photo #11). Do you think he looks like young Jesse (Photo#12).
Hiking Team: Rosie Miller, Dave Miller
Hiking Date: June????20????
To celebrate our 30th??? anniversary, we spent a week at a Sandals resort near Fort Rodney, St. Lucia in the south Caribbean. Hiking the famous world heritage site Pitons was our #1 goal.
THE PITONS: The Pitons are two volcanic plugs or large lava domes located by the small town of Soufriere on the western coast. The Gros Piton is 2,530 feet high (90 feet higher than the Petit Piton). Scientists have recorded 148 plant species, 27 bird species and 8 rare tree species on Gros Piton.
THE HIKE: The van ride through the winding St. Lucia roads took 1 hour 45 minutes to travel 32 miles. Rosie got car sick. The driver stopped the van, took his machete and cut a coconut from a tree in the rain forest. He made Rosie drink the juice and she immediately got better. Good native medicine. The small town of Soufriere was quaint and hundreds of grade school children were cute wearing their Catholic uniforms. A small village was at the base of the Pitons. We waved and spoke to several families with cute small children with big smiles. Our group consisted of three native guides and 12 hikers.
The strenuous trail up Gros Piton began at sea level and climbed all 2,500 feet. Hiking up the mountain side was very tough, steep and rocky going up. Half way up the rocks turned to a dirt trail. Hiking through the trail we were surrounded by rain forest conditions and 90 degree temperature. I carried a backpack with water and cliff bars. A large tarantula scampered across the trail in front of us. At the summit the visibility was breathtaking. You could look east and see the island of Barbados. It was a very treacherous and challenging decent along the trail but worth every ache and pain. The whirlpool, the swimming pool and a few drinks back at the resort restored us.
Expedition Team: Rosie Miller, Dave Miller Expedition Date: August 2017
We hiked a 1.1 mile trail north of the marina and beach area. As dusk approached we headed to the beach area as a thousand people were parked or had tents to observe the annual meteor shower. The concession stand was open, they showed a Star Wars movie, an astronomy club had telescopes set up and we got to view the planet Saturn. We did something we had never done before, we camped out in the back of the pickup truck. We had a large air mattress, sleeping bags and blankets. We laid there and looked up at the stars. Unfortunately, there happened to be a full moon night which brightened the sky more than normal so we only saw a couple of meteors around 10 to 11pm. We learned one important fact about camping in the bed of the truck, dew. When we woke up the next morning the outer layer of our sleeping bags and our faces were covered in dew. Still it was a fun experience.
Expedition Team: Nick Kelly, Jacque Kelly, Dave Miller, Rosie Miller Expedition Date: July 2017
After hiking the Natural Bridge and having lunch outdoors at Miguels Pizza, a local popular pizza place, Nick drove us to the National Forest where they had over a dozen trails. Nick led us on the Auxier Ridge Trail, a 5 mile moderate, challenging trail that led us up to a high plateau with a tight trail and a long drop if were not careful. Along the flat, high summit, you had a majestic view of the area and could see a smaller natural bridge in the distance. Nick did his Luke Skywalker impersonation by jumping across two rocks and it looked like he was walking on air.