Monday, October 12, 2009

Dodge City, Kansas

First of all, a big Happy Birthday to my dad, who turns 85 today. He celebrated by driving from Indiana to their winter home in Texas with my mom, who is 84. They arrived safely and will hold down the fort until we get there in December . . . or before if the weather here doesn’t warm up!

Today we left Hutchinson, Kansas, and drove about 120 miles to Dodge City, Kansas. Along the way we saw a windfarm shrouded in fog. It was pretty eerie to see the blades swing down out of the fog.

We stopped for a break at a crossroads and found a museum and roadside park at Kinsley, Kansas, which is the midway point in the U.S. It is 1561 miles to New York or San Francisco. . . take your pick. If the weather had been nicer, we would have stopped here for a look at their museum which boasts a sod house. But it was cold and rainy, so on we went. We arrived in Dodge City around noon and set out to see the sights after a quick lunch.

We walked down Front Street which is where the town recreated a wooden walkway in front of store fronts. The original street in Dodge City is gone. . . there is nothing left but pictures. A lot of the shops in this area were empty, which is a shame. There were several things that caught our eye, though. There was a statue in bronze of Wyatt Earp and also a statue of El Capitan, a long-horn. Cattle is what made Dodge City famous, along with some of the notorious citizens and businesses that sprouted up to provide “services” to the cowboys.

We drove out west of town to look at some landmarks. We went to see the wagon trail ruts of the Santa Fe trail. I had a hard time imagining where they were. There was some grass and it was difficult to see them. It does say that low sunlight is helpful. Once we got back to the motorhome, I looked at them on Google Earth and they are very evident. I guess it would be better if you could see them from the air. But we aren’t talking just one set of wheel ruts. There often were many wagons driving side by side and sometimes the train was a half-mile wide. This was to reduce the dust for those behind and also made it easier to circle the wagons in the case of an Indian attack.

Later we drove the other direction and visit Fort Dodge. Once again, there are very few original buildings left and the entire fort is now the Kansas Soldiers’ Home. It was still interesting to drive around and read about the history.

Tomorrow we are headed for Tribune, Kansas, to see our dear friends, Wes and Jan. . . members of the Graduating Class of 2005, our group of friends who started out on our RV adventure four years ago. I can’t wait to see them.

Till next time. . .



jocelyn said...

Whoa, cool. Is this the aerial view?,+KS&oe=UTF-8&ie=UTF8&gl=us&ei=dAPUSvPtEMHT8Ab6naj3DA&ved=0CAsQ8gEwAA&hq=&hnear=Cimarron,+Gray,+Kansas&ll=37.790761,-100.19793&spn=0.008716,0.013776&t=h&z=16

Dale said...

Yes those are the ones, but you only see that view on google earth. To other readers, you will have to cut/paste that link, but it does work. There was one path which to us looked like a cow path, but in reading, it says that path was revealed by a prairie fire. So it was likely a walking path.

It was pretty cool though.


jocelyn said...

Does this work better?
wagon ruts, aerial view