A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Dried Springs and Pointy Stickers


Nearby is what appears to have been a spring-fed water source.

The spring has dried up, the pipes have been cut out and it nows serves as a cat lookout station.

Also there is what appears at one time a circular bicycle race track,
hard packed with banked turns.

I like signs that advise you that you are responsible for your own clumsiness or stupidity.

This is the only bad thing about Sappa Park...stickers.
They get in cat paws too.
Beans is pretty good about letting me get them out but boy,
is she ever vocal about it!

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Sappa State Park


Oberlin, Kansas

I was tempted to stay at the rest area since it was so nice, but the state park I had in mind was only a couple miles away.  So we went to check it out.

From what I understood about it was it had several spots where electrical hookups were to be had at $10 a night on the honor system - drop a donation in a box thing.  Elsewhere were many spots to dry camp.

Claire was having us take a dirt road that had been gated off with a flimsy metal gate.  I can never really trust her directions so we continued on a little ways and came across a couple of these signs.

We must be on the right track Beans.

This camp area had only one electrical hookup.  Not several.
There were no restrooms anywhere within sight.

Looks good to me.

Yep, this must be the place.

There were no designated spots.  Just park anywhere on the grass.
There are lots of nice big shades trees to choose from too.
And...no one else around either.
This will do just fine.

I eventually came to the conclusion that the dirt road led to the State Park area and we are in a City Park area.  The state part has been closed off for some reason, so Claire wasn’t steering us wrong.
I’d rather be here anyway.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Doing Stupid Stuff

Colby to Oberlin, Kansas

Look at that neat cloud formation over Beans’ head.

I had a package sent to Oberlin which was supposed to arrive on Monday.  It was Saturday when I got a notice that package had arrived.  It was 10:30.  Oberlin was fifty-three miles away.  Hmm...we could probably make it there before noon.  The game was on.  Nice country highway, no traffic, no wind.  I drove a bit faster than usual and gained five minutes on our expected time of arrival of 11:50.  I parked out front with fifteen minutes to spare before closing.  We made it!  That was exciting.

I walked inside and everything was dark.  Then I saw the sign.  All the post offices I have picked up mail on a Saturday were open till noon.  How did I miss this when I searched out this post office long ago?

I was still able to get the package anyway.  A long story of a perfect chain of coincidences. 
Thank you Kevin.

There was a State Park just outside of Oberlin but we came across this rest area at the north end of town with a nice big shade tree so we stayed there the first night.  It was peaceful and quiet.

There was a carwash next door and I got the bright idea of how to remedy a problem.  This is a slide out compartment on the outside.  I always have to spray lube the track sliders.  The bright idea was if I power wash all the desert dirt and sand out from the roller bearings that should really make it slide in and out easier.

I pulled up to the left bay and see the hanging yellow bar next door reading ‘Clearance 10’.  I check my figures inside up by the visor - Height 10’ 9”.  But that measurement was when I had the air conditioner up there.  It’s gone.  I think I can make it.  I must have got out a half a dozen times checking that I wouldn’t hit. I was able to get in half way which was good enough to clean out those sliders.
When done I backed out be safe.

It was only then when I was backing out I saw this off to the side!!!
How did I miss seeing that outside wash for big trucks?

It is a wonder that I do all that I do without some serious consequences.
Yes, that compartment slides real slick now.

Monday, May 16, 2022

Its an Absolute Miracle

 Colby, Kansas

We were parked in the quiet parking lot of the Prairie Musuem wondering what to do after discovering the museum wanted an eight dollar admission fee for something that didn’t look all that interesting from the photos on Google Maps.  

I wonder if this town has a laundromat?  My dirty whites were stacked there mocking me.  It was just a mile down the road.  I would check to see if they had OxiClean in the dispenser.

After blowing through a stop sign on the corner that I did not see we pulled into the lot.
Hey, I was excited about the laundromat.

Inside, there it was...OxiClean.  
Okay, lets do this.

It was a nice clean place and best of all
no one else was there.

Three dollars again for a load but at least this time I got hot water and a timer.

Twenty-seven minutes later, the moment of truth.  I pulled out those t-shirts and was amazed.  The dirt marks were gone, even on the blue t-shirt.  All my sheets and pillow cases were brighter than I could ever recall.  It is so nice to buy and use a product that exactly does what it is advertised in doing.

The dryers were twenty-five cents for four minutes, a minute less than Rip-Off laundry but I didn’t care.   I was still reveling in my whiter than white laundry.

I bought an extra packet to take with me for next time.

Days later at Dollar General I found this.  OxiClean came in these tubs which I do not have room for.  I was going to buy another small bottle of Tide when I saw this had the miracle fabric whitener in it.  It is a small little bag that won’t take up much room.  I am so excited.  I cannot wait to do laundry again.  

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Jesus and the Derecho

 Colby, Kansas

Colby had one of the roadside oddities I like to search out.  This one was of Jesus standing in a wheat field.  Now I don’t know the significance of this or the meaning behind it if there is one.  I can tell you that Tuffy and Linda Kay Taylor made it and pay for the electricity to have it illuminated at night.  So Colby’s daytime attraction becomes a nighttime distraction to motorists passing by on Interstate 70.

I wasn’t sorry about going to see it for I found a nice shady spot to stay when we left on a dead-end road between the backside of a small shopping mall and a barren cornfield.

Later in the afternoon the phone blared out one of those warnings.  Scared the bejesus out of me.

I looked outside to the north.  I saw nothing unusual.  About a half an hour later it hit us.  I didn’t get the door shut in time.  Now I had a mess to clean up inside.

This is it up in South Dakota who seemed to had got the worst of it.  It wasn’t this heavy when it reached us.  Maybe we just caught the end of it, I don’t know.  Just glad we weren’t driving at the time.

I didn’t get a photo of our over night spot near the Jesus sign 
so here is a picture of where we found shade for the day in Annie Oakley Park back in Oakley.

Saturday, May 14, 2022

The Fick Museum

 Oakley, Kansas

We spent the night behind the Buffalo Slaughter Cultural Center by the edge of a barren cornfield being treated to an impressive lightening display just before dark.  Less than a mile away was the Fick Museum. We went over there to visit it in the late morning.

It was cool, I mean in that it was chilly in there.  
A woman with four girls were in there, travelers like myself.
No one else except the woman behind the counter eating her lunch.
She was a Mennonite.  Had her hair in that bun thing all the women wear.

To the right is the rock and gemstone collection.
The center is a sod house.  Now the sod house would have been interesting to me but...
Long ago I visited one in Oklahoma.  This one was the last standing sod house in the state.  If I remember correctly they built the museum over and around the sod house so it was the real deal.  When you see something like that, any rebuilt sod house in a museum is just ‘oh-hum’.

It was the usual collection of stuff unique to the area and I found myself breezing through it all.
Now don’t get me wrong, it was a wonderful collection nicely displayed and all.
Its just that I have seen so many of these small town museums that the novelty of them has kind of warn off.  I guess this is just one of those things about traveling all around.  You can see just so many pocket watches, pocket knives, hair curling irons, dentist tools, clothes washing contraptions, farming tools, etc. that it all just becomes the same old.

Aw geez, I just cannot seem to get away from the buffalo slaughtering.
That other place had Annie and Bill cut-outs for photo taking also.
I did take a picture of a couple over there using their camera so they’d both would be in the photo.
The woman was real pleased with the two pictures I snapped.  She wasn’t pleased with her husband wearing sunglasses though.  “Henry!  Why didn’t you take off your glasses?  You think Buffalo Bill wore sunglasses?”  I offered to retake the picture but she declined.

Many of you may have used these school desks but were they all wood like this one is?
I am old enough that I can say ‘yes’.

The museum had a nice fossil collection too.  
I like fossils.  I have driven out of my way to see fossils.

Sadly I didn’t look all that much.
Same thing.  I’ve seen so many fossils.

Ah but then I came across this - Don S. Hall’s pencil collection.
This stopped me in my tracks.

I just stood there staring, with just one thought in my mind.


Thanks to people like Don S. Hall, I’ll keep visiting small town museums.
You just never know what you may find.

Friday, May 13, 2022

Annie Oakley and Buffalo Bill Cody

 Oakley, Kansas

Oakley lays claim as to the “Birthplace of the Legend” which implies Bill Cody was born here.  Nope.  He was born in Le Claire, Iowa.  The “Birthplace of the Legend” comes from an eight-hour buffalo shooting completion nearby with another supplier of buffalo meat for the railroad by the name of Bill Comstock.  This took place in 1868. Cody killed 68 animals to Comstock’s 48 and so claimed the nickname “Buffalo Bill”. 

Well maybe Annie Oakley was born here for there is the Annie Oakley Park, Annie Oakley Motel and so on.  Nope again.  The town isn’t even named after Annie.  It takes its name from one of the middle names of the town’s founder’s mother.  Annie probably never came anywhere near Oakley, Kansas.  Nevertheless the town of Oakley is capitalizing on the names of the two American folk heroes. 

Inside was the usual collection of tourist trinkets to purchase plus a big stuffed buffalo.

Out front was this huge bronze sculpture, three times the height of me.
All of this buffalo killing kind of rubbed me the wrong way.
That’s why I don’t have pictures of inside.  I just wanted out from there.

Except for Annie Oakley.  Now her I admired and I lingered a bit.
I thought this photo was so neat and wished they had a post card of it to buy.
Notice her bicycle.  It was said she loved riding it.
She would have been 33 years old in this photo.

I had to settle for this card to put up inside our home.
She earned more money than anyone else in the show except for Buffalo Bill.
Audiences were amazed at her marksmanship including splitting a playing card edge-on at 30 paces, hitting a dime tossed into the air and shooting over her shoulder using a hand mirror. 

Here she is with her bird dog in her later years.
She was 66 years old when she passed away.
The write-up for Annie in Wikipedia is worth reading especially about her friendship
with Sioux Chief Sitting Bull.

This is just awful.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

The First Homesteaders


On our way out from Lake Scott Park we passed by the sandstone home of Herbert and Eliza Steele the first homesteaders to this part of western Kansas in 1888.

The Steeles discovered pueblo ruins on their land and deeded two acres to the Kansas Society of the DAR, Daughters of the American Revolution, so it could be enjoyed by the public. 

But lets see about the real first homesteaders.

Notice it can be spelled with C or Q.  
It doesn’t seem to be one way or the other is correct.

Any of you who have been with me for a number of years know I am not all a big fan for reconstructions of ruins but in this case there would be absolutely nothing to see except a mound of rubble.
I approve of this reconstruction.

I have put in all these information boards for those of you who are like me and reads everything.

A view from the other end.

This here type of reconstruction would have been unapproved by me if it were done on the actual site.
Doing so elsewhere would be okay by me.
In this case all we have is an artist’s concept.

Comment Response

Thank you ‘K’ for the tip on using OxiClean on my whites. I had forgotten about that stuff.  I will get some if I can find a small amount.  Also, I don’t have room for a five-gallon bucket or other hand-operated washing contraption ‘E’, besides...that sounds like too much work to me.  Thanks anyway.