Seeing Merlin the lion at the National Tiger Sanctuary in Missouri was magical. The big cat was rescued from life as a prop in a magic show. For a while, all he knew of life were the hard walls and floors of a concrete basement. Our guide told us that when he was first turned out into his new home, he was afraid of the grass; afraid the ground would collapse under his paws. Today, the handsome cat looks very content with his life and very unafraid of his big bright world.

Lion in the sunshine with fall foliage behind him.

Post No. 800: Gateway Arch

Hard to believe this is our 800th post. We’ll celebrate with shots of the Gateway Arch at St. Louis, Missouri, taken Friday, June 13, 2014. This magnificent and oh-so-photogenic arch will do some celebrating of its own next year, marking 50 years. Some interesting facts about the arch:

Gateway Arch at St. Louis
The Gateway Arch shines on a near cloudless day.

Gateway arch from below.
The stainless steel arch against a cloudless sky.

Everywhere a sign II

We are fortunate to live in a time and place where we can read and comprehend the messages around us.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT — Finding a numbered grape tomato was the last thing I expected when fixing the dinner salad. (Not really a sign, but this was an excuse to post it — or perhaps it is a sign that the device printing the expiration dates on the container needs adjustment.)

MODERN REST AREA — Sign along I-35 in Missouri. Not sure I want to know what the alternative is.

BEHIND THE SIGN — Iowa has adopted the nice habit of attaching bird boxes to its interstate signs.

BUSINESS UNUSUAL — Debated about posting this, but this sign is proudly displayed on U.S. 65 in Missouri to advertise an auto repair business.

Everywhere a sign.

Flying is miraculous. How those mammoth metal tubes stay in the air is still amazing. However, traveling by car allows one to see so much more. The two-seater, rag-top trip to the upper Midwest produced a bevy of signs. Alas, the we missed capturing most interesting one, south of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, which read: “Private dirt pile. No trespassing.”

Others from our trip:

Terrible's casino sign in Iowa
"I'm Terrible, and I have a casino."

Pay Machine sign
Is it a command or a benefit? Parking lot sign at Stillwater, Minn.

Night crawlers and pet care. Home business diversification in Hudson, Wisc.

Dump truck with sign
Obviously written for people who have work-related target fixation. Spotted somewhere in Iowa.

Pony Express Motel sign
Classic mid-century-ish motel sign in St. Joseph, Mo.

Sinclair sign
The dinosaur is not extinct. Sinclair lives on.