Sunday, June 18, 2017

Day 15, Saturday, June 17 - El Dorado - Home

Last day!  We left El Dorado About 7:45, headed for Ft. Scott.   On a comfort break in Iola, we heard people talking about the big storm Friday night - a bit further east we saw some of its effects, including corn shredded by hail.   Roads and streets looked damp all the way in.

Our purpose in stopping at Ft. Scott was, of course, a visit to the Fort.  Staff was talkative, but my camera decided the card was full (it wasn't) and wouldn't let me take more pictures.  A small prairie has been established behind Officers' Row, and I had fun IDing the grasses and flowers.  At the stables, we talked to an interpreter dressed in summer whites - looked good except for the modern glasses.

Up US-69, now a fancy 4-lane, to Pleasanton, where we grabbed a pizza slice at Casey's and headed back to the Mine Creek Battlefield.  My last visit was in October 1989, at the 125th Anniversary reenactment.  The entrance was guarded by this cavalryman:
It now has a modern visitor center with a small gift store and good displays and interpretation.

 It was hot, so I didn't take much of a walk - just shot this picture of the restored prairie:

A couple of stops or supper and groceries, and we're home about 5 PM. Lots of unloading and putting up, and the trip was over.  258 miles for the day, 2826.7 for the trip.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Day 14, Friday, June 16 - Weatherford to El Dorado

Had a relatively easy drive today, staying off the interstates and getting in a bit after 3 PM.  Saw our best gas prices of the trip at Enid, OK - paid $1.85/gal! 

The travel highlight of the trip was Caldwell, Kansas.  We put this on the plan because Sandra has some distant relatives here, but we didn't have their address or any other info, so we kind of hoped we'd find them.  We didn't, but we found a gem.  The main street in town looks like many other Kansas towns, only unusually wide even for that state. 

Well, there's a reason for that.  It sits smack dab on the Chisholm Trail, and had plenty of experience with trail drives. 

 Matter of fact, the town is proud of that wild and woolly past, sporting not only this monument to the trail, but also detailed historic signs on the street in front of significant buildings.  One building sports painted figures of sporting ladies in upstairs windows.  And others ... what do you see in this one?
Yes, those figures on that bank building are genuine wild west silhouettes.  Here's a close up:

We had lunch at the Red Barn in Caldwell - lots of pickup trucks and the best hamburger I've had in a while.  All in all, if I had to choose between Lindsborg and Caldwell, I'd go for Caldwell, hands down. 

We proceeded on to  El Dorado, texted the Colonel of my reenacting unit, and joined him for a good Mexican dinner at a downtown restaurant.  Tomorrow's plans include a stop at Ft. Scott (yes, the fort itself), and the Mine Creek Battlefield near Pleasanton, supper at Holden, and home.

255 miles for the day, 2569 for the trip

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Day 13, Thursday, June 15 - Canyon to Weatherford

Another hot one.  The main objective today (besides not getting overheated), was to visit the Washita battlefield.  At that we succeeded.  We got another late start, partly because we didn't have all that far to travel, partly because the breakfast area at the HIE was full of people off two tour buses, and mainly because I slept until 7.  After breakfast at McD's, we headed out on I-27 to Amarillo, then I-40 east.  I was surprised that the highway was so empty; we had a good tail wind so we made great mileage for the day.

Turned off of the interstate at Erick and headed north into the grassland country.  Stopped at the town of Cheyenne, where we found a local cafe (Zoe's) that had hot beef sandwiches for a good price, so we had a couple to fortify ourselves for whatever the battlefield site might have in store.  First stop was the visitor center.

The museum in the VC carefully treads a line - it's theme is "a clash of cultures,"  mentions the worthlessness of treaties, but doesn't go into a lot of detail on the massacre aspect - Custer was just "implementing policy" (aka following orders). It did mention the forced "de-indianization" policy aimed at the children.

We headed out to the actual battle site.  There's an overlook which gives a wide, if distant view, and leads to a 1.5 mile trail.

I started on the trail, but the 97 degree temperature soon turned me around, but not until I took several pictures of the restored prairie.

After an easy drive through the countryside, we got to Weatherford a bit after 3 PM, checked in at the HIE, did laundry, and had sinner next door at Lucille's (remember that old Little Richard song?  Has nothing to do w/ it).

Tomorrow we're off to El Dorado, KS, near Wichita, and do some visiting.  Saturday we get home!

For the day, 245 miles, 2314 for the trip.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Day 12, Wednesday, June 14 - Las Cruces to Canyon (TX)

This was to be the longest day of the trip, an estimated 391 miles.  We started late because we wanted to avoid the backup at the road closing for a White Sands Missile range test shot, scheduled for 8-9 AM.  I miscalculated, so we were indeed stuck in several lines of cars parked at the top of San Augustin Pass leading to the Tularosa Basin.  While waiting, we got a good view of the back side of the Organ Mountains, and assisted minimally in helping some other folks to change a tire for a lady stuck in the line - my contribution was the tire gauge that showed just how low her tire was.

So, now two hours late, we changed some plans.  When we got to Roswell, we skipped the museum(s) we'd planned to visit and just ate our last green chile sauce.  Then off through the looong lonely to Portales & Clovis.  Texas, on the other hand, was well populated with towns and their economic engine - cattle.  Hereford claims to be the World Beef Capital, and I'd guess they'd be in the running.  Happy is home of the Happy State Bank.  Friona's HS sports teams are the Chiefs and Squaws - not much for PC there.

Speed limits in Texas are 75 mph and I ran close to it, so we got to the Canyon HIE at 6:20 PM, had dinner at Feldman's Diner, came back to the hotel getting ready to crash.  Tomorrow it's the Washita Nat'l Battlefield (or massacre, if you prefer) and a stay at Weatherford.  We'll be on the home stretch!

For the day - 372 miles, 2069 for the trip.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Day 11, Tuesday, June 13 - Around Las Cruces

Sightseeing in Las Cruces for us consisted of a visit to the Railroad Museum and shopping at COAS. COAS is a bookstore, some new books but a lot of used ones.  And one can never have too many books, which is a way of saying that we bought some (and a CD of Dvorak's 9th). 

Lunch was with Sandra's uncle & cousin at a local microbrewery.  The afternoon was spent processing pictures for the Fennboree posts.

Tomorrow we're on the way home, via Alamogordo, Roswell, Clovis & Canyon (for the night).

26.5 miles for the day, 1696 for the trip.

Bill's Saturday Fennboree Pictures

Bill's Saturday pictures.  Unfortunately, I forgot to reinstall the card in Sandra's camera after downloading her Friday shots.