Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Broken Window

We were scheduled to leave Kinsley, Kansas yesterday. But the RV Gods decided we should stay another couple of days. When I woke up Tuesday morning, I grabbed my cup of coffee and sat down to my computer to check in with our friends, as I do every morning. I looked over at the drivers seat and had to take a double look. Wasn't sure what I was seeing. But at further inspection, I discovered that the window was shattered.

We have no idea how this happened. On inspecting the ground around the motorhome, we found no rocks or dead birds that could have hit the window. Our only thought is that, since there was a storm that night that maybe that could have had something to do with it. Anyway, here we sit.

We are very fortunate that this little RV park is not full. Now let me tell you, there is not much in Kinsley, Kansas. The only traffic that this park sees is people traveling either I-50 or I-56 through Kansas. It's a Passport America park and they don't limit the amount of time. So we have stayed at this park for $11.50 a night. They have 50 amp, water and sewer, on a nice wide cement slab. They even let us wash the motorhome.

Ed loves this stretch of grass behind the motorhome. He's out there right now chipping golf balls back and forth. You need to get your exercise somewhere!!
Hopefully, our new window will be in tomorrow, and we can get it fixed and move on.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Dodge City

Yesterday we took the day and went to see Dodge City. They call it the Boot Hill Museum but really it's a replica of Front Street in the late 1800's. The original burnt down. There was a replica of Boot Hill. They called it Boot Hill because they were buried in shallow holes, with their boots on. We found out that the site of this replica town was actually all Boot Hill. When they were building, they had to remove the graves and moved everyone to the regular cemetery. We were told they are still finding some bones when they move something new to the museum.

Because the railroad ran right along Front Street, the cattle drives that began in Texas ended in Dodge City. Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson were deputies in Dodge City. There really was a Longbranch Saloon and a Miss Kitty but no Matt Dillion, Festus or Doc.

This is a statue of Wyatt Earp.

Here we are having a drink inside the Longbranch Saloon while we were waiting for the Chuckwagon dinner to begin. They did the best beef brisket, fried potatoes and onions, cream corn and cole slaw, biscuits and honey and apple crisp.

After the dinner, they did a gunfight and then there was a show inside the Longbranch. Here's Ed with Miss Kitty.

He's such a ham, we knew we would be picked on if we sat up front. Of course that's where he wanted to be. We had a great time.

Today we washed the motorhome and getting prepared to hit the road tomorrow. Let's hope the weather is okay. They are calling for scattered T-Storms.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Fort Larned

Today we went to see Fort Larned. We didn't know it at the time, but they were having all sorts of demonstrations this weekend. We arrived in time to see them demonstrate the cannon.

Ed is holding some of the ammunition they used. The ball is filled with projectiles, the bag is the gunpowder. On top of the ball is a timing mechanism that they would set depending on how far the enemy was. It could be set to explode in 3, 4 or 5 seconds after being fired from the cannon.

Fort Larned was known as the Guardian of the Santa Fe Trail. The trail went right behind the fort. In 1864, after the massacre at Sand Creek, travel west of Fort Larned was forbidden without an armed escort and the fort furnished guard detachments for mail stages and wagon trains. In 1868 the Indians started attacking wagon trains and raided settlers as far south as the Texas panhandle. Lt Col George A. Custer was sent south and attacked Black Kettle's Cheyenne. Black Kettle was killed and the camp destroyed. In the 1870's, when the railroad pushed past Topeka, the fort provided protection for the construction workers. The fort was closed in 1883 and was in private hands until 1964 when it became a national historic site.

Here are a few other pictures from the fort.

We left Fort Larned and then went to the Santa Fe Trail Center. They had some good information on the trail but mostly it was displays what life was like on the Kansas plains.

Here is what they called a dugout. Inside it's 2 rooms, the back room is a bedroom. The floor is dirt.

Can you imagine living is this?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Kinsley, Kansas and Fort Dodge

We left this morning to drive over to Dodge City. They have an overlook on Rt 50 that shows the actual ruts of the Santa Fe Trail that we wanted to see. As we drove out of Kinsley we passed this sign..

It seems that Kinsley is also known as Midway, USA!

Then it was on to Dodge City. Driving down the road we saw signs for Fort Dodge and decided to go see it.

Originally, Fort Dodge provided protection for the Santa Fe Trail and also for the frontier communities including Dodge City. In 1890, Fort Dodge was deeded to the State of Kansas for use as a Soldiers Home. Some of the original buildings are still standing. There is a skilled long term nursing facility, rec center 3 resident halls and 65 cottages. Housed here are veterans from the Civil War to Vietnam. What a wonderful thing the State of Kansas does for its veterans!

On to what we started out to see. About 9 miles west of Dodge City on RT 50 we found the spot.

There was a sidewalk with bridges that crossed the ruts. Here is Ed standing in one of the ruts. You had to look close and use some imagination. They don't show up well in the picture. But they were actually there. Seems the wagons didn't go single file, but at some points were 2 or 3 wide!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Off the Santa Fe Trail

This morning we left the Santa Fe Trail temporarily. We traveled to Liberal, Kansas to see Dorothy's House and Land of Oz.

This was Dorothy's bedroom..see the red slippers?

We went through the house and then into the Land of Oz. It was in a building and the displays started at the beginning of the movie. Here is a picture of the house landing on the witch. See the red slippers?

The whole thing was a little hokey but I did enjoy it and that was my stop of the day.
We left Liberal Kansas on our way to Meade Kansas, home of the Dalton Gang Hideout.

This house belonged to Eva Dalton and her husband JN Whipple. The house was built on a hill and below was a barn. Once the news of the Dalton Gang's criminal episodes came to the attention of local citizens, speculation of Eva's guilt in connection with her brothers activities made it impossible for the Whipples to remain in Meade and in 1892, they slipped quietly out of town. After they left town, it was then that the crude tunnel from the barn to the house was discovered.

The man behind the counter was very knowledgeable about the history of the area and Ed could have stood there for hours talking to him, but we needed to get back on the road. We drove the rest of the way to Kinsley, Kansas and the Four Aces RV Park. Its a very small park only 20 sites, very inexpensive with Passport America and we could stay for as long as we wanted, so we decided to stay here through the holiday weekend and will hit the road again next Tuesday. There are a few places around here we want to see. We will go to Dodge City and to the north is Fort Learned. All still part of the Santa Fe Trail.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Bent's Old Fort

Today we left the Walmart in La Junta, Colorado and our first stop was Bent's Old Fort.

Built by William and Charles Bent and partner Ceran St. Vrain in 1833, the fort was the leading industry west of the Mississippi. For 16 years they managed a trading empire. It was located on the Arkansas River, which was the boundary between the United States and Mexico. The fort also helped pave the way for the occupation of the west by the US Army and was instrumental in the invasion of Mexico in 1846.

The fort became a haven, the first place between Independence, Missouri and Santa Fe where travelers could refresh themselves, their livestock, repair wagons and replenish supplies. This is the trade room or 'general store'.

In 1845, Lt James Abert, a topographical engineer, surveyed the fort. With these drawings, historical accounts and archaeological evidence, the fort was rebuilt in 1976.

After exploring the fort for well over an hour, we were back on the road and headed east on Route 50 into Kansas. This route runs almost parallel to the Santa Fe Trail.

We are now at an RV park in Garden City, Kansas. Tomorrow we are going to see the Finney County Museum. They are supposed to have one of the best Santa Fe Trail exhibits.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Following the Santa Fe Trail

We left Albuquerque after getting our oil changed in the motorhome and generator. We also stopped at a CB Shop and they tried to fix our radio. Seems we might have a short in the antenna so thats one more thing on the list when we get to Forest City Iowa at the Winnebago factory. Even having all this done we still managed to get to Las Vegas (New Mexico that is).

We left there this morning headed up I-25 to get to Springer, NM and the Santa Fe Trail Museum. About an hour up the road we saw a sign for Fort Union Historical Monument. We decided to take a side trip and we are very glad we did. Seems that Fort Union was built to protect the trail travelers and was a major military supply depot. There were actually two different trails that split in Dodge City, Kansas. One was the Mountain Trail that was longer but safer that went into Colorado. The Cimmaron route was shorter but had very little water. Both of these trails met again at Fort Union. Once the railroad was finished and people stopped traveling the Santa Fe Trail, the fort was closed in 1891.

Can you imagine going across this land in a wagon?

Or over these mountains?

We did eventually get to Springer and found the Santa Fe Trail Museum. Unfortunately, we never made it inside. No one seemed to want to open it today. The sign read that they were closed from 12:00 to 1:00pm so we went into the motorhome to have lunch and study the maps. We waited until 1:15pm and finally got back on the road.

Doesn't look like much but had it been open we would have wandered around. We decided to follow more of the mountain trail through Colorado into Kansas. There seems to be a bit more to see.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Old Town Albuquerque

We arrived in Albuquerque last Friday. Saturday we needed to find the Camping World Store. We purchased a different tow bar for our car when we were in Williams. The only problem we had with the old tow bar was that we needed to be really straight in order for us to get it unhooked. The new one we purchased is an All Terrain and it has levers to release the tension so it is easier to work. We were just afraid that we might someday get into a spot where we couldn't get the car straight but would need to remove it to back the motorhome up. It hasn't happened to us yet but you never know. We purchased a 6 inch riser and discovered we only needed a 4 inch so, off we went to exchange it.

We also did a little exploring of the area, found a full service car wash and stopped for lunch at Olive Garden. When we go to restaurants we usually like to get things we can't cook at home, so every so often we like to go to Olive Garden for lunch just to get a bowl of Pasta E Fagioli. With the soup, salad and the bread we can make a really good meal.

Today we went off to explore Old Town. It wasn't what we expected, a lot of shops. Very touristy. We also went to the Aquarium and Botanical Gardens.

Not the best Aquarium we have ever seen but it was a nice day. We'll see what else we can see tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Big Hole in the Ground

Called 'The Grand Canyon'.

Ed's back has been doing much better so we decided to make the drive today. From where we are staying in Williams, it was about 55 miles. It was an easy drive. Since we have a Golden Age Pass it didn't cost us anything to get into the park. (I think it was $25.00 a car)

We took a lot of pictures but the camera doesn't even come close to showing you the vastness of this canyon. It is huge!!

We started from the Park Headquarters and walked the rim trail about 2 miles. It was a beautiful day, but we did have to stop several times. The elevation at the south rim is 7500 feet. Even here in Williams the elevation is close to that. Ed and I both have had some problems with shortness of breath even doing the simplest things.
We are even higher than Denver!!

But we had a great time and are very glad that we came by here.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Back Problems

For the first time since we have been traveling along, we had to make a trip to an emergency room. Ed woke up last Monday with a very sore back. We tried for the next couple of days treating it with Motrin but by Wednesday he needed something stronger. So we went the the emergency room in Parker and he was given some muscle relaxers and pain pills. He took those for 2 days but we were scheduled to leave Emerald Cove on Friday so he didn't take anything, used the heating pad all the way. We made it to Williams, and decided to try to find a chiropractor. We got real lucky and found a good one. He was able to see Ed Friday afternoon, did an adjustment and told him to stay away from the heat and use ice. (This is something I tried to get him to do but he needed to hear it from the doctor!!) He seems to be much better this morning. We are still doing the ice for 15 minutes every hour. He will go back to the doctor on Monday.

We were originally only going to stay here for 4 nights but have decided to stay a full week so he can get better. I'm hoping that by Tuesday we will be able to make the drive to the Grand Canyon.