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

 

 

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Wild Horse Haven

Our time at Wild Horse Haven wrapped up this morning as we prepared to get back on the road towards Oklahoma.

It has been a wonderful, relaxing, entertaining week and a half with John and Anna. Jack and I cannot thank you enough for your hospitality.

I managed much sewing, a little reading and movie watching. More relaxation than I am normally doing. We enjoyed the balcony drinks, dinners and Cheyenne hill views under this great big sky.

Despite a very much cooler on the 4th July evening, the fireworks displays Anna and I watched as the stormy skies gave way to dark orange sunset's were, as always, spectacular!

Last nights pink sky setting couldn't have been a more perfect and fitting farewell.

 

Hugs and thank you again dear friends.

Kat xo

 

Pawnee Station

In the small town of Nunn, Colorado is the Great Guns Shooting Club where the Pawnee Station Annual shootout was held this past weekend.

 

Friday we headed down from Cheyenne for side matches and check out the ranges for the match. We had did a couple warm up stages, ran the speed shotgun, rifle and pistols 3 times and helped out where we could.

 

I spent some time with Agarita Annie discussing transitions and suggested runs on a few stages before it was soon time for Jack to do the Posse Marshal walk through.

 

Saturday morning and we are up bright and sparky early to go join the rest for Day 1 of the main match. Posse 1 headed by Jack, with myself, Wild Horse John, Wildcat Cliff, Lil Chicadee, Buzzard Wawkin, Duelly, Kid Canyon, Semi Colon, Home Range, Prairie Wind, Prairie Lightning, Prairie Sheriff, Blazen Vaquero, Sonora Blaze and Rooster Rick.

 

The sky was blue and cloudless, the sun bright and scorching as we set down into the 'bowl' for stages 1-5. A slight relieving breeze came through around stage 3.

Jack didn't start off crash hot but finished out the first 5 strong and I was clean.

 

Beer and relaxation was looking good for the end of day 1.

It's like dejavu as we head out Sunday morning for stages 6-10. Water was being consumed at a fast rate by all competitors and we were finished when the breeze started around 11.30am.

Clean match for me and just 1 miss the previous day for Jack. We had a great posse and even with 3 little Buckaroo's we got through our stages with everyone working efficiently.

 

Lunch was again provided by the barbecue place in Wellington. Saturday was pulled brisket and succulent turkey on buns and for Sunday lunch it was superb, fall off the bone, rubbed ribs. Sensational!

Awards started soon after and got done by about 2pm. Congratulations to the Pawnee Station Vindicators for another great match.

Jack was 1st in Silver Senior, 2nd Neuces Slim, 3rd John Mosby.

 

Congratulations to my fellow Lady Wrangler in 2nd place Pauline Mosby.

 

Jack had won Speed Pistol in the side matches and the Cowboy Challenge.

I took 1st overall with Avery Wade 1st cowboy overall in 2nd place! Congrats cowboy!

 

Thank you to all involved wih putting the match on. I know your number were down with other shoots on and it not being a state titles this year but your range beautification efforts, target placement and stages were great.

Kat xo

 

Laramie, WY Part 2

As we left the Ivinson Mansion we headed towards the railroad and found the historic Old Buckhorn Bar.

Established in 1900, it is Laramie's oldest standing and most historic bar. It has the gorgeous, heavy timber carved, mirrored bar back. There are a number of taxidermy heads placed around the walls with antique firearms and signs.

A bullet hole features on one of the glass panels, enquiring minds had to know the story behind this. Alas not from an outlaw's gunfight but a disgruntled ex decided he would take a 30/06 and fire it towards his ex girlfriend in the 70's after they broke up. She survived, the original mirror panel still remains and now it's on a tshirt! A bullet hole glass break pic with 'I survived the Buckhorn Bar'. A beer and we head off to find one with food.

Around the corner is the Crowbar Grill. A neat little place, great food and a nice Belgian White Passionfruit beer. The place was packed on this 4th July considering the rest of the town was very quite.

Next, the Wyoming Territorial Prison, built in 1872 it was restored in 1989.

 

Before entering the Prison building itself we viewed the Warden's house built in 1875 by inmates it was constructed with 4 bedrooms, a kitchen, dining room and basement.

 

This is a self guided tour into the prison and features furnished cells, guards quarters, dining area, laundry room, an infirmary and the women's quarters.

 

The first room in is the processing room where prisoners were fitted with their black and white stripe uniform. Rules and regulations were cited to each prisoner regarding bathing, airing bedding, hygiene etc.

The walls are hung with pictures of prisoners who were here, information regarding the prison conditions, the locking mechanisms for cells, etc.

 

The Wardens office had also been restored back to 1890's glory. Faded patterns on walls were found and subsequent reproduction of exacting color's and patterns for wallpaper were used in the restoration.

 

Before the erection of the stockade and the calling of the mountains to the west 25% of the prisoners in 1875 escaped. The stockade prevented some but there is record of at least a few scaling the stockade wall and escaping.

 

As you move through the additions of the prison there are preserved excavation sections, an exhibit on Butch Cassidy. A very well presented display on the man, the myth, the legend, the Pinkerton Detective Agency, an 1888 blown up safe, and more.

 

In 1882 the first wing on the broom factory was built and later further additions plus steam pipes heating instead of wood and coal were implemented.

The broom factory building and equipment are still original except the flooring was replaced. Brooms are still made here during exhibit displays and are sold within the gift store.

 

Now in Part 1 I had referred to John Hjorth, the Swedish architect/wood carver. Two of his furniture pieces are on display here – a table and a bench. Other pieces made by prisoners such as horsehair woven hatbands, halter's and a very intricate model ship.

 

A great site which has another small town section that we didn't go into. Definitely worth a visit!

What a great way to spend Independence Day in Laramie, finished with dinner, cupcakes and fireworks looking like glitter against a burnt orange sunset.

Thanks to my darling man and a spectacular Wyoming backdrop!

Kat xo

 

Laramie, WY Part 1

On Wednesday, 4th, Jack took me to Laramie for my birthday. We hadn't been out here before so it was another new place for exploration.

As we travelled further North into Wyoming we made a stop at the Ames Monument.

President Lincoln signed the Pacific Railway Act of 1862 but it was not until a few years later after slow progress of the Union Pacific, commissioning of Oakes Ames to head the railway project took place.

Oakes Ames was known for taking on difficult projects and he and his brother Oliver contributed significant funds for that time period to head the Transcontinental Railroad project.

The Ames Monument is a memorial to the brothers and was built near the highest point of elevation (8247 feet) on the Transcontinental Railroad in 1882.

 

It is known as the pyramid of the plains as its granite construction resembles the rocky outcrops in the background. It has two relief pieces resembling the brothers and is 60ft wide at the base, rising 60ft into the blue sky.

 

Travelling along the Lincoln Highway (US30 and I-80) we made a stop at the rest area and information centre. There is a memorial to Henry Bourne Joy, first president of the Lincoln Highway Association (1913) and president of the Packard Motor Car Company. He was called the father of the nation's modern highway system.

 

Here at the rest area is the memorial stone for Henry B. Joy and a monument commemorating Abraham Lincoln's 150th birthday. The bronze statue of Lincoln's head weighs 4,500 pounds and is 13.5ft tall sitting aloft its hollow granite base. It is situated at the highest point along the I-80 at its highest point of elevation 8640ft.

 

We headed on into Laramie and found the Historic Ivinson Mansion. We were met inside the garden gate by two young girls who directed us to the carriage house to organise tour tickets.

 

Kaydence and Alicia, both Grade 7 honour students (going into Grade 8) are among a number of students up to Grade 10 who through history lessons etc have learned or are learning the history of the Ivinson Mansion and all its wonders, antiques and stories. They then host the tours of the mansion.

So off we set with Kaydence and Alicia for our tour. The Mansion was owned by Edward Ivinson, a banker, he owned the First Interstate Bank and contributed to a hotel in the area. He and his wife Jane and adopted daughter(?) lived and entertained many in this gorgeous home.

 

It was one of the first to have electricity, indoor plumbing and heating.

After his wife died, Edward left the home and gave it up for a girls boarding house. The boarding house was used for girls from outlying ranch's. After the boarding house period it was left abandoned for a period of time and was later saved from being turned into a parking lot and restoration began.

Some pieces were stolen from the house and some have been returned, like the original front door knob fittings. Some window sections were missing or smashed and pieces have been recreated to complete the original appearance.

 

The entrance, floating staircase, rooms are absolutely stunning. The foyer and entry light fixtures are the only two original to the mansion. There is a section in the kitchen that shows the differing layers of wallpapers throughout the time and wallpapers have been recreated to fit to as far back as they could see a legible print on the walls.

 

In the drawing room the fireplace is original but the mantle is not. The fireplace and mantle in the dining room however, are original to the house. A few tiles were missing from the dining room one but spares were actually found in the basement.

 

The front parlour has a beautiful piece of furniture, a liquor cabinet handcrafted by John Hjorth. A Swedish architect and master wood carver he was prisoner #458 at the nearby Territorial Prison. Hjorth was imprisoned for forging a $25 check (cheque) and spent much of his time carving and making beautiful pieces of furniture with mythical creatures and detail. There are 17 pieces of his furniture on this first floor.

In the drawing room is a record player owned by Melville C Brown. Brown was mayor for a short period of time when outlaws ran rampant through the time. A group of vigilantes took over the lawless town with some outlaws joining the vigilantes to avoid being hung.

The library holds an original desk from the bank and was used during the boarding school period.

 

The dining room is exquisitely displayed with Jane Ivinsons dinner setting and original napkin rings that were gifted them with the Ivinson initials. I love the knife rests etc. Inside a special case is a cut crystal punch bowl set, said to be one of 12 owned by the Ivinson's.

 

The butlers pantry windows are original to the home as is the punch bowl and pitcher on top of the cabinet, a replica has been recreated so the others are not damaged.

 

The kitchen although without its original fire stove has original squeaking floorboards, clock work spice rack that locked down of a night time.

 

There is a dumb waiter in the hallway and was actually electric.

Upstairs you find the the dormitory room and maids room. She was very important to Jane and even had her own bathroom however, shared with visiting guests.

The Ivinson Mansion is an exquisite piece of restored history and was an enjoyable tour by two fine young ladies. A quick look inside the small school building and we headed off for lunch and the Territorial Prison.

Kat xo

 

Hell On Wheels

As the Union Pacific roll's by on the nearby tracks of the Otto Road shooting club, the Border Vigilantes held their annual Hell On Wheels match this past weekend the 29 June-1st July.

Situated 8 miles west of Cheyenne, 233 shooters headed out for the match. Friday was side match day with a morning and afternoon 4 stage warm up, as well as speed side events and long range.

Saturday was 6 stages of main match and after coming from End Of Trail the target distances and sizes were somewhat different. The stages were reasonable with some longer runs between positions. At the end of the day I was clean and Jack had a couple of issues.

 

Saturday lunchtime after we finished shooting a storm came through which would be good for settling the dust and stopping the marble like granite dust from rolling under your feet across each stage! The temperature dropped by about 20 degrees.

 

Sunday took a cooler start for the morning requiring jacket and gloves for a few stages, we headed in to the next and last 6 stages of the match. We had an awesome posse headed by Pick along with Tin Lizzy, Avery Wade, Roy's Creek Dan, Highland Scottie, Gabby Gertie, West Okie Wayne, Loose Cannon, Coyote Cole, Burnt Bacon, Dapper Dynamite Dick, Della, Bandana Bob, Phantom, Mountain Menace, Pinewood Kid, Pinewood Rose and Cactus Jim.

 

Not fabulous for Jack and 1 miss for me so we would see how it would turn out in the wash. I won a few side matches and did the shootout – final round with Avery Wade.

 

Jack finished 2nd in category and 15th overall. Congrats to the other Silver Senior's and to Angry Tom who took 1st place.

 

Congrats to the fellow Lady Wrangler shooters!

 

I had a good finish 1st cowgirl and 8th overall with White Lightning Jack from New Zealand finishing 1st overall!

 

Congratulations to all who entered and thanks to the Border Vigilantes for our Hell On Wheels visit.

Kat xo

 

Cheyenne Visit

Thursday was a free day and after some gun cleaning and new stock cover replacement it was time to head out.

After a car wash Jack and I ventured downtown and coming to the historic Plains Hotel we spied some neat old cars parked there doing a run from Paris to New York.

We headed across the square to the Depot where we found Accomplice Beer Company – Agarita Annie and Neuces Slim worded us up on this one!

What a great place, not only for being situated in the original Cheyenne train depot and right next to the railway lines but the ultimate in beer experience’s for sure.

When you enter the craft brewery you hand over a card and name then you are given a beer card.

Inside the main bar and restaurant area is 14 different beer taps, a variety of glass sizes, styles and growlers.

The beer menu board shows the beer appropriate to the tap including your ABV (alcohol by volume), IBU (international bitter units), name and brief description.

Now the fun begins! You place your card in front of the beer tap screen and pour as little or as much as you want. It then tells you how many ounces and how much it cost you for that pour.

As you work your way through them it will give you a total spend also.

We had salads for lunch that were great, although a little light on the chicken inclusion. The salted caramel apple fritter and ice cream was divine and big enough to share.

There are yard games for the back patio area and tables out the front also.

A great place to experience and we will definitely be back before the week is out.

As we headed back to the car the other vintage cars had come to the square with others turning up for a small car show.

The rat rod and its almost 80yr old owner were a hit!

A great quick visit in Cheyenne, as much of it we have seen before with a trip to the range to pick up packs ready for side matches.

Kat xo