Trooper’s Log ~ Days 27-30 (July 24-27): More Cowboys! More Libraries! Anniversaries! Windmills! and Gunfights!
Back roads it is again – for the past 4 days – better than the highways in most places (but still a few brain-beaters – I am almost learning to sleep through them, but usually get up, expect some comfort from the Navigator (Her) and then settle down once again – repeat…)
And another bone of contention [I LOVE bones] – there are always these warning signs “Historical Marker!” with an arrow for left or right side of road, but we are moving too fast to get a good enough glance at the sign to read it – and She goes into a History Meltdown “History is passing us by!!” (It’s really vice-versa – “We are passing History by!”) – but not a good time to correct Her – I tell Her to just look everything up on the internet but then one is tied to the computer and what fun is that??
Then somewhere between Ogallala, NE and Goodland, KS, She sees a church that looks exactly like a small replica She puts out at Christmas time – the sign says St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and seems to be in the middle of the corn fields, but She cannot find it anywhere on the internet, so please help Her if you know where this church is (She has to learn to take better notes when listening to my dictations and say where we are…this one is a real slip-up on Her part, so please help if you can).
There is also one of those fly-by Historical markers that says something about “War” and just south of Enders on Rt. 61 and [She’s a genius] this is what She finds – and this story is all pretty amazing, isn’t it?:
We spend one night in Goodland, KS, then head east to Wakeeney, KS. Goodland is one of three places in the world that has a giant easel in the center of town holding a large reproduction of one of Van Gogh’s sunflower paintings:
“World’s Largest Easel (or at least the largest along a U.S. Interstate). It’s 80 feet tall, and atop it rests a 32×24-foot representation of one of Van Gogh’s “Sunflower” paintings. It’s about a half-mile off of I-70, along Hwy 24 near the center of town.”
You can read more here: https://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/9183
Which makes me think that every town in the country has something of interest to draw in tourists – this is pretty cool, especially if you love Van Gogh (which She does; He does too, miracle of miracles) – I just have to be patient while She takes a few pictures of this giant thing:
One thing They notice as They travel through various towns is the number of John Deere equipment places – They are partial to John Deere because of the Vermont connection (he was born in Rutland VT and went to Middlebury College for a time, but moved to Illinois where he invented his agricultural machine and empire) – those green and yellow machines look like play toys to me… There is a great history timeline here:
Wakeeney is the only place so far where there have been idiot neighbors in the campground – these people come in at 9:30 at night and proceed to all sit outside to eat and talk and laugh into the wee hours, and then the next morning they were up by 5:15, and outside again eating, talking and laughing – there are Campground Rules people! Quiet time Rules – it is called Courtesy… Interrupting my sleep is not ok + they didn’t have a dog for me to bark at, which is always a disappointment (not that They let me bark…) – then an accident at breakfast with Her Tea – She poured the whole kettle of boiling water onto Her left hand – what a nightmare! But again, Her genius genes came through –She ran cold water over the burns for a long time and then used aloe over and over again – all day in fact – it was sort of annoying, but She was in pain and thought this might ruin the whole trip – but it was a miracle that the next day the burns look and feel nothing more than a slight sunburn… Wow – that aloe is brilliant stuff! She should perhaps stop drinking Tea, but that isn’t going to happen…
Then off to Dodge City for two nights – I like when They do 2 nights, because we unhitch the car and GO PLACES and I get to sit in the car and sweat and pant because it is so ridiculously HOT everywhere – but we drive around and figure out where everything is to visit the next day – they are excited because Their 50th wedding anniversary is on the Saturday night – wow! 50 years with the same person – I guess this is why They have had other dogs before me, difficult as that is for me to accept – but 50 years with the same person – yikes! – and Dodge City was NOT on their bucket list for their 50th – They were supposed to go to London where they had met, but not in the cards for this year, so we shall just pretend that Next year is their 50th and celebrate again – as it turns out they went for the first time on this trip into a restaurant and had a nice dinner outside (I could go too!), but were completely appalled at the number of people indoors, all tables taken up, no masks (wait-staff did thankfully), etc… really scary – it’s so inconsistent everywhere, and cases keep increasing every day, everywhere… [They ate their delicious dinner at the Mariah Hills Golf Course: https://www.mariahhillsgolf.com/ I had a bowl of water and a paper napkin that fell on the floor…]
It was a nice dinner nonetheless – but now back to cooking every night for Her, which is getting very old very quickly – I don’t much care as long as my food is out at 6:00 in the morning and 6:00 at night.
But if you have been paying attention at all to my previous ramblings, you will know that this place will certainly conjure up a song for Her – and not just ANY song, but one of Her favorites, so we have to listen to this for a good while:
Way out west, they got a name
For rain and wind and fire
The rain is Tess, the fire’s joe and
They call the wind Mariah …
It even has its own wikipedia page! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/They_Call_the_Wind_Maria
A Lerner and Lowe song from Paint Your Wagon – She learned it in Girl Scout camp, so you know how long ago THAT was…
Here is more than you could ever possibly want to know about Gunsmoke!: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gunsmoke
And then the real people like Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson who were all Doctors and Marshals (like I want to be, even just a deputy) – and a terrific display of Winchester rifles and their history from New Haven CT (where He is from)
– they are not partial to guns, really think the US is quite nuts that we cannot control the manner and use of guns, but She likes to see how they are made, their beautiful wood handles and silver accessories and even the bullets – all beautiful – but has no tolerance for the damage they do – let’s figure it all out like Australia did and stop this nonsense…
The most famous gunfight took place at the Long Branch Saloon on April 5, 1879:
From Wikipedia: Front Street, Dodge City, KS, 1874, with Robert Wright and Charles Rath’s General store, Chalk Beeson’s Long Branch, George M. Hoover’s liquor and cigar store, and Frederick Zimmermann’s gun and hardware store. [This Front Street is reproduced at the Boot Hill Museum].
And here is a grand statue of James Arness who played Marshal Matt Dillon on Gunsmoke – this is a fairly new statue and even Celebrity Jane was quite taken with the Marshal:
Many shops in town were closed or empty, as we have seen elsewhere – the Museum required masks and distancing and everyone seemed to respect that and it was not crowded –(they even took your temperature when you first go in) – of course They had to do the “you go first” thing and sit with Me while the other went in – could have stayed there many more hours – such detail in their displays and such collections of Western memorabilia – many hours could be spent reading each label, looking in every cranny – Her only disappointment is that there is no guidebook to the museum collections – something should be done about that…
So here are some pictures of what She saw:
And She loved this wallpaper – looks like a William Morris, but what would he be doing in a Wild West parlor??
And don’t want you to think you have escaped a Carnegie Library siting – no way, because here is another one right in the middle of downtown Dodge City – the Library was built in 1907 and served as the city library until 1970 – it now houses the Carnegie Art Center, but was unfortunately closed (stupid virus) – but She took pictures as He and I sat semi-patiently in the car…. Kudos to the fine people of Dodge City for preserving the building and not demolishing it… Here are all the Kansas Carnegie Libraries: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Carnegie_libraries_in_Kansas
So another day of adventure – and then today off we go after pulling up stakes and prepping the RV for bouncing along the roads and head to Oklahoma (you don’t want to hear Her singing THAT song for a number of miles – They should have prepped me with earplugs or something – but there is always some song She gets in Her head and off She goes – but this “Oklahoma” was a doozy…I can’t wait to see what She comes up with once we cross into Texas…]
But something we saw over and over again were Windmills – everywhere: