Mark Twain Lighthouse

Are you ready for more photography from my recent trip to Kansas City? Here’s another collection!

So this one’s a little bit of a misnomer because we’re not in Kansas City yet (anymore? Wizard of Oz reference, anyone?). And there’s a quick story behind this one. Well, maybe not that quick–if you want to check out the photos, then skip this and scroll on down to the bottom!

See, I took these photos on the way to Kansas City. When I’d been planning this trip, it looked like there were two good routes for me to take. A more southern one that would have had me going through Kentucky and St. Louis, and a more northern one that took me through Hannibal, which is just over the Illinois state line, right on the banks of the Missouri side of the Mississippi River.

Naturally, I chose the Hannibal route because this little town looked pretty cool. When I left, I wasn’t sure how much time I’d spend exploring–kind of played that by ear because I knew this was the start of the last leg of my drive. Too much time playing around would’ve put me at my hotel much later than I would have liked.

Still, I figured I’d make Hannibal by sunset–that was the goal, anyway. Who doesn’t want to take some pictures of the sun setting over the Mississippi? Sign me up, right?

And then Indianapolis happened. In Indianapolis, Google Maps started pinging me, telling me I ought to change my route because there was an eight minute delay ahead. I stubbornly told Google Maps to stuff it. Google Maps kept insisting that I really should listen to their wisdom. Nah. Shortcuts make for long delays, according to the wise words of J.R.R. Tolkien.

Turns out, Tolkien never had Google Maps. An hour later, I sensed distinct digital smugness coming from the general direction of my phone as I sat in the middle of the freeway surrounded by hundreds of other people in a traffic jam that had come to a complete standstill.

And then another hour passed, and another. Three hours, and I made it a grand total of like…a mile and a half. Just far enough to scoot off down the next exit, find a gas station, and try to regroup.

I sat in the parking lot and tried to regroup, studying the map. I got this, I thought. I can totally still make Hannibal by sunset. With the power of caffeine and a candy bar. That ought to do it.

Well. I blazed a trail through Illinois at a rather ridiculous speed that I won’t admit to. Made that stop at the Illinois wind farm, and then kept on going. Closer and closer, sun setting. I got this, I got this, I got this…

Yeah, I didn’t make it. You knew that since it’s very obviously nighttime in the header picture.

And I’m glad I didn’t make it. It worked out in my favor in an entirely unanticipated way. See, I’d done some research on Hannibal and the Lighthouse prior to leaving. But nothing I saw mentioned that the lighthouse is illuminated with the most beautiful light show at night.

And that’s how these images came to be. A quick explanation: The first is all eight shades that I captured all stitched together. The official digital version, let’s say. Below that, you’ll find a gallery with the two larger images from either end broken out. When I print this, I’ll turn it into a triptych, with the two larger images matted and framed separately from the central six. Last of all, I’ve included a quick and dirty video that I took with my phone. Quality on that is not good, but you’ll get to watch the light show! Don’t worry that the video preview is sideways–that’s apparently a WordPress thing. It’ll align properly once you start playing it.

And to wrap up, here’s a couple of links about the Lighthouse! One from the Hannibal Parks and Recreation Department, and another from the Visit Hannibal tourism site, just in case you want to learn more about this landmark.

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