Hays, Kansas – Edmond, Oklahoma

It’s been a casual start to today and seeing as I have no car projects, it’s time for another little history lesson.

Hays was established in 1867, however prior to this, was located near the territories of Arapaho, Kiowa and Pawnee. It was claimed by France as part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 and became part of Kansas Territory in 1854.

Fort Fletcher was established by the US Army in 1865 (southeast of present day Hays) to protect stagecoaches traveling The Smoky Hills Trail.

In 1866, it’s name was changed in honor of the late Brig. Gen. Alexander Hays.

In 1867, with the construction of the Kansas Pacific Railroad, Fort Hays was moved northwest to better serve the railroad.

Then there is more history about a town called Rome, Hays City being formed, Rome was abandoned after cholera outbreaks and so became Hays!

A frontier town, it had its fair share of violence infamous in the American Old West. Some 79 outlaws are said to be buried in Boot Hill north of town by 1885. Wild Bill Hicock served as sheriff for a brief stint in 1869.

Germans settled in Hays around 1886, having a great influence on the culture of the town.

We continued south to Wichita, which began as a trading post on the Chisholm Trail in the 1860’s. It was a cowtown and frequent stop for cattle being driven from Texas to Kansas railroads.

The Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe Railways ran through her during its cowtown days and across the Arkansas River was the usual entertainment of brothels, saloons and lack of law enforcement. Wyatt Earp was one lawmen who at some point got Wichita back on the straight and narrow.

As early as the 1920’s and 30’s it also became known as ‘the air capital of the world’ becoming a US aircraft production hub.

So named after the Wichita people, the Keeper of the Plains monument is spectacular! We have been and visited this in person previously but here is a great sunset pic of it.

Check this out! The first ever Pizza Hut building!

Many fast food chains actually started in Wichita, Pizza Hut in 1958. The building is now located within University grounds.

We exited the I-35 to Wellington but we’re again disappointed the Chisholm Trail Museum is closed and with over an hour til opening time we had to continue on our way.

We continued to Edmond, formed during the April 22, 1889 Land Run. It was named after a Santa Fe railroad traveling freight agent. Well it was the name of the train depot was prior to the town being established but was adopted for the town name also.

The first public schoolhouse in the Oklahoma Territory was completed in August of 1889 and still stands as a historic monument on 2nd street.

The ‘Edmond Sun’ located down the street in the opposite corner is the states oldest continuing newspaper dating from July 18, 1889.

And so it is time for last catch ups, washing and packing before we head for Dallas and departure tomorrow.

Kat xo

Photo Credit:

Stagecoach Robbery by R A Davenport/Hip Postcard

Cowtown – Cowtowns Kansapedia – Kansas Historical Society

Pizza Hut building – Wikipedia

Edmond Schoolhouse – Edmond Historical Society

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Almost time…..

Leaving the cowboy state of Wyoming and our gracious hosts, Wild Horse John and saginaw Sue this morning, we are headed for Sidney, Nebraska as our first stop.

Sidney is the home to the very first Cabela’s store – it’s always a good time waster going into a Cabela’s!

Not only one of the best fishing, hunting and outdoor stores but awesome displays of taxidermy adorn each one. Bit like a museum!!

It all started in 1961 for the Cabela’s and now 57 years on, they are still going strong.

Back on the 80, passing through lush green farmland, we are heading across Nebraska and will soon head south to Kansas.

Whilst a fair bit of the first stretch was seen through the back of my eyelids, we passed familiar places such as Fort Cody Museum, Golden Spike at North Platte, past Gothenburg, famous as one of the Pony Express post’s!

The temp has risen to a rather warm 98F (36.6C), even the cows are standing in any water they can to cool off.

Entering the ‘sunflower state’ we continue South to Hays for the night.

Kat xo

Thanksgiving And Chisholm Trail

When an invitation was issued for Thanksgiving in Texas (after a great weekend with Texan friends) and a pending trip lining up perfectly with Thanksgiving yesterday, there was no better way than to combine both.

The Kendrick family and friends were a great bunch! Somewhat rowdy, drinks flowing, plenty of food – sounds like our family gatherings in Australia. Feeling right at home, thank you Anne, Fred, Niki, Amy, Lorin, Misty, Colin, Chris, Kelly, Kimberley, Elaine, Debbie and Gene for making us feel right at home.

 

With appetisers, huge turkeys and side dishes galore it was time for snoozing on the floor or couch in front of the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins game. Dessert followed before we left for Anne's place and watched the highlights of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

After a hearty breakfast this morning we headed back to Oklahoma via Bowie, Texas. As we stopped to take pictures of the big Bowie knife, police are helping wrangle a wayward steer across the top end of the park, without too much success it seemed. Was a funny sight, watching them run across the park!

 

Our actual intent for going this way instead of the I35 home was to go through Duncan, OK and visit the Chisholm Trail

I'm sure many a hardworking cowboy spent Thanksgiving somewhere in the Chisholm Trail corridor during the cattle drive era. Enduring long rides, vast open spaces of grasslands as they drove the cattle forward through Texas, Oklahoma and on in to Kansas perhaps the chuckwagon cooked up the odd turkey or two as a treat for them.

Not quite there, we made a short stop at Comanche to look at their Centennial Plaza. April 1, 1866, 1,800 longhorn cattle were driven through to the railhead of Kansas on the trail mapped out by Jesse Chisholm the previous year.

 

Over the coming years some 4,000,000 head of cattle moved over the Chisholm Trail (US Highway 81 corridor).

We arrived at the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center in Duncan to a beautiful bronze statue of a cattle drive out front with a path laid out for 'The Beginning of Trail' following the trail through rivers, creeks, ranches from Brownsville, Texas through to Abilene, Kansas.

 

Into the Center we went into the Campfire Theatre, an animatronic introduction of Jesse Chisholm talking round a campfire with a cowhand named Tex.

 

Jesse Chisholm was a trader of furs, the first cattle drive followed his wagon wheel ruts to Abilene. From there it become a common route forged in history as cattle were driven from 1866 through 1875.

The Campfire was very well done but then we went into the main theatre for 'The Chisholm Trail Experience'.

An experience it was! Sight, sound, smell, feel! I kid you not, a great little short film – As the cottonwoods sway in the breeze, so too can you feel the breeze. As the rider comes through from behind, you can feel the hooves as he passes by. During the roundup, you can smell the dirt and whilst the cattle freak out and stampede during the storm, so too do you feel the thundering of hooves, the rain on your face and lightning effects!

The displays are exceptionally done and the two beautiful galleries house some significant pieces of artwork and sculptures. At present there is a special photograph exhibition 'American Farmer'. His works are gorgeous, he has definitely captured the character of each farmer.

 

Of course we visited the gift shop and then headed North to Kingfisher. Kingfisher is home to another Chisholm Trail Museum. There is one in Cleburne, Texas also.

CLOSED

Dang it! Trip out here another day during the next couple of weeks then.

Off the trail for now.

Kat xo

 

West to East

Well that does sound like we are travelling a lot further across the country but no, just a few states.

Wyoming, on through Nebraska, dropping down into Kansas and further down into Oklahoma.

As we came into Kansas yesterday we found the historical marker indicating the geographical centre of the country.

 

We stopped in Belleville, KS for the night and walked from the motel to the BelVilla family dining. A little home style restaurant, licensed, nothing flash about the decor but great food and awesome service. I asked the girl if I could keep the menu, a newspaper style print with a beautiful old courthouse and water tower on the front.

 

If you know me then of course I wanted to find this building. Jack and I headed into the downtown district after breakfast. Belleville was established in 1869, some old buildings came into view but alas no old courthouse just the white Art Deco version in the town square. We drove in and around a few streets, asked two old guys (one at a workshop and one driving the USPS truck) and both have only been in the area for a couple of years and couldn't help.

As Jack filled the car with gas, I did a search on the phone and when he returned all I could work out was that it had been burned down and replaced with the current one and also that Belleville was known for the 'world's fastest half mile high bank dirt track!'

A race track for midgets and sprint cars. As we got back on the road there on the left was the Highbanks Hall of Fame and Museum so we stopped in for a quick look.

 

The gentleman was just opening up the doors as we were looking at the display out front. We went in for a short visit.

 

This picture shows a photo of the track at the top and below it a painting of the track. The Belleville High Banks dirt track is 23 ft high on the bank and 80ft wide, you can't walk up it but can certainly run at 140mph in these little cars!

 

There are some great displays, cars and memorabilia for the car enthusiast to stop and have a look. Donation for entry.

Back on the road and we are heading for Marysville and the Pony Express station. This is, as a sign said in a paddock, Pony Express country. From Washington this section of the highway is known as the Pony Express Highway.

 

A quick stop in Hanover, the visitor centre is closed but we saw the Pony Express Station on the Hollenberg Ranch just east of town. It is said to be the only one still on its original site. (Seems contradictory now when you get to the next stop! lol)

 

Next stop Marysville. The Marysville Pony Express Station is the only original station still on its original site. Home Station No.1 has been many other businesses over the course of history but has been lovingly restored and stripped of modern fabrications back to its original limestone walls.

 

The 18″ thick limestone walls, original openings for light and ventilation with a replacement roof – 12 years after the pony express ran through – the original roof had been burnt in a fire.

This station allowed riders to stay in bunks within the barn, often up to 10 days until the next mail came in, or they could stay at the nearby Barrett Hotel.

 

During the 19 months the Pony Express ran for, over 35,000 pieces of mail were delivered via 200 relay stations. The number of rides/mileage made is enough to circumnavigate the world 3 times over.

 

Mary set us up for a short video when we entered and Shirley gave us the rest of the tour through many wonderous antiques, machinery, vehicles, reproduction stagecoach, popcorn machine, dioramas and much more!

 

What a sensational stop, she suggested the Wagon Wheel for lunch near the statue and glass panels. We headed there next and had a great lunch with a quick visit to the statue in the 99F heat. The glass picture panels are great, the picture changes with your movement.

 

We continued our journey south through the great Kansas plains and farming land. Corn……..corn………..and more corn. I'm sure there is more to the crops than that, just seems like that is all you see. 🙂

We made it! We are back in Oklahoma.

Kat xo

 

 

Capulin Volcano

On our meanderings up through New Mexico from Moriarty we headed for Raton and a side visit to Capulin (pronounced Car-poo-leen).

Jack had read about Capulin Volcano National Monument and had decided we would make a stop.

This now inactive volcano at its peak is 8182ft above sea level and is covered in rich volcanic soil and forested habitat.

An aerial view of Capulin from Wikipaedia.

Part of the National Parks scheme it is $15 per vehicle to go to the top, where you can take a couple of different hiking trails. One goes around the top rim and one shorter one down into the cinder cone volcanic crater itself. Be prepared for a steep climb back out though on a well paved path.

At the top of the Volcano you can see to parts of New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado and Kansas.

It was President Woodrow Wilson, in 1916 who would have Capulin Volcano set as a National Monument.

From here we took a right out of the park gates and headed for Folsom, all we found was a tiny little town, didn’t go into the museum and the historic hotel was closed.

Back on the road our next stop would be Trinidad, Colorado and on to Limon for the night.

Tuesday we headed NW to Cheyenne and on to Wild Horse John and Saginaw Sue’s – Wild Horse Haven as I like to call it.

Kat xo

Kansas to Missouri

Our gracious Kansas hosts, Bertie Winchester and Cooncan, put us up for a couple of nights so we could come shoot with them and spend time catching up. We met the new addition to the family, Sully, who was a bundle of energy, keeping us entertained and for at least Friday night, Jack seemed the flavour of the day.

 

We headed out yesterday to Lenexa where the Powder Creek Cowboys hosted their monthly match in perfect weather. Some 64 cowboy's and cowgirl's turned out for it and before long we were shooting 5 stages.

 

This is a good practice place with target placement, varied distance, height, shape and diameter making for an interesting shoot.

 

We enjoyed it, as it had been far too long since we had been there for their annual – Prince of Pistoleers. (Probably 4 years ago)

We almost had a mini version of our Land Run posse with Jack, myself, Bertie Winchester, Cooncan, Fannie Kicker and Titus A. Gnatsass.

We were missing Bertie in this picture of the ladies of our posse which included from Iowa, Hail Hot Mary and Gunslinger Grace.

 

We spent the afternoon chatting, trying to fix the speaker for tunes, drinking beer (well maybe that was just me) and enjoying the fresh air and sunshine, all while Jack snoozed.

It was a fabulous visit getting to meet more of their family and we certainly appreciated the hospitality.

This morning we left them and headed for Kansas City, MO. Last time we stopped in at Union Station and every bit of history it had to offer. THIS time we headed back near there to The National WWI Museum and Memorial.

At the end of Memorial Mall (like ANZAC Parade is to the War Memorial in Canberra) is the Liberty Memorial with the museum being a sub terrace to it, the Assyrian Sphynx's, Cinerary Urns, Exhibit and Memory Hall's.

 

As you enter along the black granite causeway to massive bronze doors, it opens to a glass and light filled entrance. The glass walkway to the exhibit halls allows a view to the poppy field below.

 

Each of the 9000 poppies represents 1000 deaths. Nine million souls perished during WWI. If you catch the reflection juuuusst right you can get a view of the Liberty Memorial in the glass with the poppies as well.

Next we went into the 12min video of how the beginning of World War I commenced and then into the beautiful exhibit galleries. A very well thought out display with timelines, personal accounts and more.

 

As we moved through each gallery space there were many artefacts, uniforms, firearms etc.

 

There were life sized trench dioramas with sound and ambient lighting. Propaganda posters, medals, heavy artillery and so much more.

 

Towards the centre of the exhibits are another full on trench and battlefield setup with a short film across a grand screen, interactive tables depicting anything from camouflage to air combat, sound booths for personalised accounts, prose etc.

 

This is a very well thought out museum moving through the timeline culminating in the entrance of the United States into Allied forces during the campaign.

 

We finalised our tour by taking the elevator to the upper level and the courtyard surrounding the Liberty Memorial and the Assyrian Sphynx's.

The Sphynx's as stated in the brochure – 'Memory' faces East toward the battlefields of WWI, shielding its eyes from the horrors of war. 'Future' faces West, shielding its eyes from an unknown future.

 

I regretfully state that we decided we needed to get on the road and did not see the Exhibit Hall or the Memorial Hall 😦 during the car ride home I realised we had missed one of the main things I did want to see. The Exhibit Hall features flags of the allied nations in the order they entered the campaign. The Memorial Hall houses the largest fragment of the 'Pantheon de la Guerre' and includes bronze tablets with the names of 441 Kansas Citians that died in WWI. Disappointed much.

 

However, IF you ever get the chance to go through Kansas City, please do allow for a visit here. It was fantastic, very moving and just a stunning facility.

A great way to end our quick trip to Kansas/Missouri, thanks again to our wonderful hosts (actually saw a couple of cowboy's in the museum) and now we are back in Oklahoma getting set to head south to Leonard, Texas this next weekend.

Hope you have had a wonderful weekend wherever you may have been.

Kat xo

 

Kansas Bound

Travelling today listening to the usual eclectic mix of music of Elvis, Toby Keith, Darius Rucker; throw in some Australian Crawl, Lee Kernaghan, Dire Straits; sprinkled with a small dose of “not your grandmother's music” (or perhaps even your mother's!) Saddle Tramps and we were on our way to Kansas.

I had my moments in the backseat – not because I was naughty, lol! – to do some car projects behind a slightly more tinted window and away from the glare. Got quite a bit done and Jack could stil see me with his “check on the kids” mirror anyway. 🙂

We took a slight detour into the older part of Wichita and headed for the river. We found 'The Keeper Of The Plains' a 44 foot tall cor-ten steel sculpture that stands at the concourse of the Arkansas and Little Arkansas rivers.

Before we headed to see that, we found ourselves inside Exploration Place. The equivalent to Questacon, in Canberra back in Australia. I had asked at the counter about restrooms and the girl at the counter pointed me to the right direction and for how to get to the bridge to the statue.

I came out of the bathrooms giggling. Here is what I found on the back of the bathroom door. (Sorry, I thought it was funny)

 

It's no wonder the lady at the entrance, waiting on school kids, was having trouble to round them up as they were probably reading all the doors too.

Anyway, Jack and I decided that it would probably be a good place to visit but the bright spark reckoned it would be quieter on a weekend??!!?? I don't know about that.

Off we headed to the bridge that would take us across the river to a small exhibit and the spectacular statue before us.

 

Around the base of the statue are two walls of an outdoor exhibit made from granite and other media portraying the American Indian life, culture and language.

 

The sculpture by Kiowa-Comanche artist, Blackbear Bosin features music in the background and small water mist jets as you meander around the base of the rock it is perched upon. Out the front of the statue on the river are fire pits known as 'the rings of fire' that are lit at dusk which would be a sight to see!

 

This was one of those places that gave an ambient and serene backdrop to a bustling city beyond the rivers edge.

A must see if you ever get up through Wichita, KS.

Kat xo