Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Still in Kansas

Kansas is known as the Sunflower State.


There are both wild and cultivated sunflowers growing on the plains. I’m hoping to get a picture of a field of thousands of cultivated blossoms, but so far we haven’t been able to get one, so these wild ones will have to do.

From the perspective of the east coast I’ve always considered Kansas a Midwestern state, and I guess that would be true for the eastern part of Kansas. But the further west we go it becomes obvious that most of Kansas is truly in the west.

Outside of Oakley, KS is a rock formation very similar to those seen further west.


Known as Monument Rocks, they are mainly composed of sedimentary limestone common in the western part of the state. While driving through Kansas we kept seeing billboards espousing “Rock Chalk”, but we had no idea what that means. The local limestone is known as chalk, but why the billboards? We turned to that source of all knowledge, Wikipedia: "’Rock Chalk, Jayhawk" (a.k.a. the ‘Rock Chalk’ chant) is a chant used at University of Kansas Jayhawks sporting events. The chant is made up of the phrase ‘Rock chalk, Jayhawk, KU’".


The Monument Rocks are very impressive formations which help bring home the amount of wind erosion has occurred in the great plains  over the millennia.


DSC_0281 I took this shot to show the sedimentation in these formations. If you click on the image to blow it up you’ll also see an example of the local fauna. I have no idea what that bug is, but it didn’t look very friendly.

Dodge City

DSC_0320We’re now in Dodge City, KS, which was, and remains, a western town. We’ve decided to stay here through the week so we can attend a ranch rodeo on Friday. Then we’ll get out of Dodge and head to Colorado.

Now to set the record straight, even though we’re staying at the Gunsmoke RV Park, Matt Dillon and Miss Kitty are fictitious, but in the middle of the 19th century this was a pretty wild place.

DSC_0309As we’ve mentioned before in this ongoing missive, we’ve been very impressed with so many wonderful museums in small towns across the country. Dodge City has the Boot Hill Museum which is much more than an old cemetery, it’s a reconstruction of Dodge City of 1860 with a impressive collection of artifacts.


Oh, there is an old graveyard, but this Boot Hill was only in use for a few years and the remains were removed to a new cemetery around the turn of the century.




And Penny found a horse.




DSC_0311There’s also an Indian (He owns the horse.). We had a nice talk with Kevin Browning (aka Pui Tamobi or “Eyes Like the Sky”, a blue eyed native American actor who claims to be a direct descendant of Comanche  Chief Nakoma, who also had blue eyes.

He also claims his pet is a pure wolf, but he sure looks (and behaves) like a German Shepard cross to us.   Perhaps Kevin speaks with forked tongue.

Dodge City remains a main shipping point for cattle and tomorrow we plan to visit the local cattle auction. Fortunately, we don’t have room in our trailer for a cow.


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