Thursday, August 18, 2022

Summer Nights

A bit of contrast enhancement to the original I'll admit. Not much though!

Friday, April 29, 2022

Bagnell Dam Is Open!

Much to the delight of business owners, traffic across Bagnell Dam is flowing again. There is a weight restriction of 18 tons, which I believe is permanent, and will hopefully stop heavy large vehicles, like concrete trucks, from using it. They weigh about 30 tons when loaded. 

At a contracted cost of $1,611,862 (minus whatever penalty Concrete Strategies LLC might have had to pay for taking so long to complete) the question is whether or not the public got what it paid for in terms of need. The dam may belong to Ameren, but the road deck is maintained by MODOT. As we all knew, the road deck over the dam was in bad shape at the end of last summer. The increase in number of visitors, years of neglect, and just plain abuse from inexperienced drivers running up on the sides, had left road conditions in an obviously poor state. I say obvious because I know new visitors commented on its condition and safety as. more often then not, the dam was the first site seen coming to the lake. It's bad enough the concertina wire gives the impression of a prison wall on the north bend. I still can't stand the site of it. A higher concrete wall would have been better than that eyesore...but I digress.

The road deck looks solid now, and it's a smooth ride (except for the necessary expansions joints). The sidewalk is repaired and missing chunks of concrete fixed. How long will it last? Who knows, but it's nice to have our road back.

Friday, April 22, 2022

Welcome back?

It's been ages since I posted anything new. Covid, a new job, and personal projects all kicked blogging to the back of the bus, but I'll try and get back on the horse now.

So what's been happening?

Real Estate. The lake area has gone through one of the greatest transitions in its history over the past few years. The Great Resignation has brought a new crop of home buyers and coupled with a general housing squeeze from commercial purchases of vacation rentals, home prices both on and off the lake have risen an average of 30%. I'm afraid if you didn't buy property between 2012-2019 you're in for a bit of a shock these days. That doesn't mean home prices are too high, it just means supply is limited and if you want a home on the water, you best prepare to act quickly. We'll be talking more about the housing market in future posts.

Boating. The challenges of boating on the lake of the Ozarks have only increased. The influx of new visitors to the area means a lot more inexperienced (by Lake Ozark standards) pilots are running the lake. I'll be going back to my annual "Safety Report" to see if there's been any appreciable statistical change in boating incidents over the past couple of years. Almost afraid to look honestly. Here's a snapshot of the 10 year trend nationwide though, as you can see, as the pandemic kicked in so did the accidents. It's actually quite a dramatic increase, and we'll be looking at specific numbers for Missouri.

Source: US Coast Guard


Lake Levels. Perusing old posts will clearly show that I'm a nerd for numbers on tracking lake levels. Probably some vain effort on my part to better predict future conditions. I won't bore everyone by trying to post monthly charts for the past couple of years, but I will put out the annual report for 2019-2021 just to catch up. Lake levels will be pretty unexciting for the next six months now that we're through the maximum drawdown for 2022 and head for full pool here in a May so we'll make that a low priority.

The Casino. By now everyone has heard of the casino coming to the Lake. We'll have lots to talk about over time with that idea. My wife and I had thoughts of a riverboat casino below the dam on the Osage River back in the 90s but Missouri statute wouldn't allow it. It was very clever of the Osage Indian tribe to figure out a way to circumvent that whole issue. The powers that be at the lake seem enamored with the idea, and judging by the demolition of the property, it's full steam ahead.

There's much more going on around the lake to talk about both exciting and troubling that I'll be addressing as well.

My thanks to everyone that visits the site and who stuck with me during the hiatus. My goal has always been, and will continue to be, just an effort to help Lakers stay informed and be good stewards of their little, and often not so little, slice of one of the greatest lakes in the world.

Monday, September 13, 2021

Yellow Jackets...Everywhere

I've got a few acres of woods around me so things like bear (yes, there are bears at the lake), raccoons, deer, snakes, and insects are just a part of life. If you have property at the lake, in general you'll have to cohabitate with just about all of God's creatures of the Midwest, but this year is like nothing I've ever seen before when it comes to flying insect pests. This year's most wanted...the yellow jacket.


They are EVERYWHERE this year at the lake. I have a colony I've been chasing throughout the property for years now, so I thought this year's brood was mine alone to tackle, but I've been taking a consensus this summer and it seems everyone has them. We were at Frankie and Louie's this weekend and even with traps galore they were all over the bar area. It made getting a drink a little intimidating and those poor bartenders seemed resolved to take their lumps.

So if you're dealing with them too, know it's not just you.

Yellow Jacket, or a hornet? My wife and I are having this debate. The picture above is a Yellow Jacket, and looks like the ones I'm dealing with, but the nests I've seen are in ground which is more indicative of a hornet. I've read both types go to ground as well as building those famous paper mache (sic) style in trees. They're pretty much the same critter in terms of aggressiveness and painful sting though so it doesn't really matter. Plus they both eat the same thing, basically nectar, although Yellow Jackets have a taste for dead meat apparently. I'll leave it to the reader to determine which they are battling, but there are plenty of sites that will help  you identify the culprit.

And we're blaming climate change for this widespread phenomena in 3...2...1

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Starlink at the Lake of the Ozarks

Satellite Internet in a Box (the dish is about 18" in diameter)


March 24 Update:

After two weeks of testing, I will be sending "Dishy McFlatface" here back to Elon Musk. While the service works, my property is not conducive to reception with the 100 degree open sky requirement. Once fully operational and that drops down to more like 35 degrees I'd be fine. I thought about putting it on the dock where full sky could be had, but the lady of the house refuses to have a dish on the roof of the dock, no matter how temporary. That, plus the fact that my Plex media server didn't work well due to Starlink's use of something called a "double-NAT" (which I won't try to explain) made the decision to send it back easier. The truth is my Spectrum service is really good, really reliable, and enough bandwidth for two homes, so it's difficult to justify $99 a month just for a backup connection. When I lose Spectrum, it's rarely for long, and happens even more rarely.

Having said all that? If you're in rural Missouri suffering from DSL or Radiowire only connectivity, and have a clear sky view, then Starlink is probably a great solution for you. It just gets better and better daily now.  My best clocked speed was 200+Mbs. The worst... 1.8Mbs (virtually unusable).

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I just got my Starlink equipment yesterday and thought I'd give a brief review for those considering using the new satellite internet service from SpaceX in the lake area. Spoiler alert: It works!...kinda.

For those that don't know anything about it, Starlink is an internet provider service that uses a small dish antenna to send and receive internet traffic via a fleet of micro-satellites -that will ultimately be -distributed all over the globe. The service is in it's early stages and not quite ready for prime time, but it will improve. It's a bold idea (Amazon is apparently working on a similar service with it's own fleet of satellites) and if it comes to full fruition, it will likely change the way many of us get internet service permanently.

BUT... for now, I cannot recommend it as a full replacement for a hard-line from the likes of Spectrum. The service is intermittent and speeds, when satellites are in range, drifts from 16Mbs to 125Mbs depending on time of day. This is to be expected at this point of the project, but will improve as more and more satellites come online. I'll be watching those SpaceX launches with a little more interest from now on.

The setup is super easy. Open the box. Put the dish on the stand. Power it up. Wait a few minutes. Spend two minutes setting up the wi-fi. Done. That's it.

It's my intention to use the service as a back up to my cable hard-line. Spectrum service in my area is rock solid, but things do happen now again, and with a vacation rental, a dead internet service makes for unhappy guests.

Right now I have a Plex media server on Starlink. This is a good test since streaming video is data intensive and involves sending a steady stream of data, not receiving it (so much). It works, but as I said at certain times of the day, it simply loses connectivity. As a back-up to your existing hard-line it may be an option for you if internet connectivity is critical, but you'll need real "techie" knowledge to get it to work auto-magically as a failover connection. Otherwise it just becomes a separate wi-fi to connect too. Good enough as a backup I think.

An open sky (100 degrees), with a bent toward the north, is a must for now. The Starlink app has a tool to help determine your chances of connecting but pay attention to the northern direction which at this point is the most important. If you get the system and find out it cannot connect, you can return it for a full refund in the 30 day window (keep that box!). I recommend you use the app before ordering if you live near trees. Again, as more satellites come on-line that field of view will get smaller, ultimately only needing about 30 degrees, which is a relatively small window into the sky (about two-hand widths held up above you).

I'll follow-up as time goes on. But if you're interested, the service is available for the area now. There are enough satellites in place to cover this latitude (about 38 degrees). Just go to www.starlink.com, put in your physical address and cross your fingers. If you are lucky enough to get on the list and order, it takes about 4-6 weeks to arrive and you will be charged the $699 up front. This is a one time purchase and can be returned for a full refund within 30 days. Any return after that is pro-rated up to two years. The cost of the service is $0 FOR NOW, but looks like it will be $99 once fully operational, which is comparable in price to a Spectrum cable hard-line at 400Mbs. Elon Musk has promised Starlink will be capable of 1Gbs (1000Mbs) once completed. For now, you must keep the dish at your home location, but *should* become portable for things like RVs when, again, the system becomes fully operational.

Thursday, July 16, 2020


Found this on Reddit, and I'm just going to leave it here. A "SemiPontoon". It'll be all the rage on the lake next year I'm sure.



https://www.reddit.com/r/pics/comments/hs8djo/custom_made_semipontoon_boat/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

March 2020 Lake Levels and Flow Rates

Yes, yes, very late. There's been things happening in the world these days. Power generation remains at nearly full turbine flow. I'm assuming somebody needs electricity somewhere despite the economic slow down.

Without further adieu here's the charts.


And the daily detail: