A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

I Have the Feeling We’re Not in Kansas Anymore

 ...said Dorothy to Toto.

We had to stay an extra day in Oberlin due to the weather. Since we left on a Tuesday the Post Office, the sole reason we came here in the first place, would be open.  I needed to get a money order so may as well do it here and get it over with.

I walked in.  “Well Hello John” said Kevin as he came out from the back.  The clerk who gave me my package nearly three weeks ago remembered me and my name.  Amazing.  

I sat outside, addressed the envelope and mailed off the money order.  Next was a stop at the grocery store for a few things then up to Family Dollar for a few more things.  I walked over to look at some bicycles at the junk store next door then across the highway to look at an old 30’s Chevy coupe since I once had a ‘37 Chevy pickup.  I ate a bite then we left town heading for McCook, Nebraska 27 miles to the north.

Just across the state line we had a short delay for road construction.
Soon we were moving again.

On the south edge of McCook we passed by this sign.
I know that place!

This is why I detailed all we did the morning we left because the most amazing thing that happened all due to the perfect timing of a random set of circumstances that morning.

- continued tomorrow - 

Monday, May 30, 2022

No More Sappa State Park

It is now Sappa City Park.

We were delayed a day in our departure due to bad weather - high winds.

Let’s take a walk down the road by our camp.

Off to the left is what used to be a wetland.
Now turkey and pheasant live there and get hunted in September.

A half mile later we reach the campground.  There are ten sites here, all with electricity but no water.  
Odd they have the one site where we are but hey, that’s fine by us.  Where there is a power pole that is a numbered site although one could camp anywhere they wanted if not wanting the electricity. 

Here is the prime spot to have in summer. 
Shade all day long.

And here are the restrooms I looked for when the sign on our pole said to leave your ten dollar donation at the restrooms if you plug in and use electricity.

Children’s playground which appeared little used.
Cement slab in front for volleyball? 

The State Park facilities that now is boarded up although there was a sign that said to contact the city if you wished to use any part of it for a meeting or social function.  
It looked as if it hadn’t used in a long time.

The end at the left opened up into this large fireplace gathering area.
I can imagine back in the day rangers having talks and sing-a-longs for the campers.

A passage way through the middle.  No telling what this may have been used as.
Maybe a kitchen or food serving venue.

On the back side of the building were stone benches to sit and take in the view of what at one time was a shallow lake.  The dam is off to the right barely visible.

This little guy recently popped up.  Still has dirt on his hat.

There are hiking trails and a disc golf course here also.  
It just seems no one ever uses any of it.
I think over the holiday weekend there were four maybe five campers.

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Beans’ Toe Beans


Beans.  You received a comment about your pretty paw patches.

Oh really?

Here, let me display them for my fans.

Here you can see how my toe beans match the fur color for each toe.
My back paws are all black and so too my toe beans back there.

Today we will probably leave Oberlin and move on into Nebraska.  We really don’t want to leave but the call for the road is strong and we must answer it.  Besides, if we stay any longer the town might start collecting taxes from us.

One morning I saw a bird messing around at the dark spot at the base of the tree next to us.

Notice the old spring further on.

Water is seeping up there.  I guess the spring is not totally dry.
Enough remains for the birds to drink.

Saturday, May 28, 2022

100 to 93


The weather forecast for Saturday started out at 100 degrees (37.7c).  Then they backed it down to 97 on the day itself then backed off more to 93.  Whatever the case may be I’d much rather have it 25 degrees hotter than a normal of 72 than 25 degrees colder than a normal of 72.  As long as we have shade we’re good.  And so far we are good with having no holiday campers within sight.

This is what used to be a spring-fed water source right behind us.  It now serves as a cat lookout station.

Friday, May 27, 2022

Holiday Weekend Hunker Down


This weekend is Memorial Day weekend-three or four days long depending how you treat it.  Back when I was working I looked forward to these weekends more so than Christmas.  There is Memorial Day at the end of  May, Independence Day in July, Labor Day the beginning of September and to a degree Columbus Day in October.  There are other holidays here in the States but these are foremost in their time of the year.  Now retired and living a new chapter in my life I fear holiday weekends.

Early on I got caught unaware a few times of a holiday weekend approaching.  The swarm of merrymakers descended upon us caused all types of mayhem to our peace and quiet.  I have since programmed by devices to send a warning of an upcoming holiday weekend a week in advance.

A week ago I began to worry.  Where should we go to be safe?  We had been at Sappa Park for a week already and I felt that it itself just might be the place to sit it out.  After getting the propane and waiting for the rain to stop returned to the park.  Our spot was waiting for us.  After getting settled I went for a walk to the end of the road a half a mile away.  It was then I discovered the rest of the park, a typical city park with six campsites with power.  The mystery was solved.  Four campers have since passed by to go camp there for Memorial Day weekend.  We still have our section all to ourselves and a pheasant.

- comment response -

I wrote that I that I had never seen a shared desk before.  Well that was in regards to a museum.  I didn’t trust my memory enough to go back into ancient times.  T commented that she remembered having them elementary school.  That was all I needed to shake the dust from the archives.  Yes, I do remember them in first and second grade.  We then moved and in third grade they had separate desks thank goodness.

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Museum Out Buildings

 Oberlin, Kansas

Museum Tour Continued

By now I needed to take a break.  I went back to the front desk and Deb who was running the place had gone outside to unlock all the out-buildings for the weather had improved - no rain coming.  I had a bite to eat and Beans was anxious wanting out. So that had to be dealt with before continuing the tour.

There were about a dozen buildings outside, all having been relocated to their present home.

St. Mark’s Lutheran Church was built in 1888.

This is the doctor’s office with two rooms filled with all types of instruments of torture guaranteed to instill the fear of voluntarily going to the doctor for any reason.

The train depot was built in 1885.  This was behind the counter where in most museums one could not walk around in.  To the left was the waiting area staged with old luggage.

Then I walked into Duke’s Grocery.  I was astounded by the collection.  
It rivaled the famous Wall Drug in Wall, South Dakota.  

Most often a collection like this is behind a roped off area or a barricade of wire fencing.
It was all out there for the visitor to get up close and personal with.

The Addleman Country School, built in 1922.  Eight grades were in this classroom.

This was very well staged with the period textbooks on each desk, many on The History of Kansas.
Deb told me when the local school kids visit they have them sit at the desks to get a feel for how it would be attending school nearly a hundred years ago.

I never have seen a shared desk before that I can recall.

I wondered if I would see something on the scale of Don Hall’s pencil collection that was in the museum back in Oakley.  Well I wasn’t disappointed.  Here it was - Elmer Ufford’ egg collection.
I didn’t stand there thinking why? This time it was more like wow!

I wished I had looked at it more closely.

On my way out I saw this.  I’ve seen these in western movies but never one in real life.  It reminded me of the scene in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.  Tuco (Eli Wallach) is taking a bubble bath in one of these.  The bad guy breaks in to his room and Tuco shoots him with the gun he had hidden beneath all the soap bubbles.

Back at the front counter I complimented to Deb about this museum being one of the best of all the small town museums I have visited.  I remarked about everything just being out there, not behind barriers or roped off.  She said they have never lost anything although she did say they get only about 25 to 30 visitors a month.  People don’t know what they are missing out on with the Decatur County Museum.

Oh, and Deb said there was nothing inside the casket.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Decatur County Museum Tour - continued

 There was the usual kitchen display as most small town museums have.

And too, the room full of military memorabilia most all donated by local veterans.

But this was a first for me.  
A German machine gun from World War One.

How did a German machine gun wind up in Kansas?

There was a small room of Native American artifacts including the usual stone tools, arrowheads and the like.  But I don’t recall ever seeing moccasins before.

I like typewriters and this was a nice collection. 
I can’t type properly.  I wished I had taken the class in junior high.
I get by as a two-finger typer.
I could see myself collecting typewriters.

I approach every museum visit with ‘what will I see unlike any other museum I have visited?’
And then, there it was in a small side-room, a casket!
I was so NOT expecting to see this.  The little card said it cost $250 but didn’t say when.
I stood there hesitating to lift the lid.  I put my fingertips under the edge, began to lift and
NOPE!  I left it alone.  Don’t want to look.

- more to come - 

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Decatur County Last Indian Raid Museum

 Oberlin, Kansas

We were back at the Co-op to meet up with the propane truck at 8 a.m.

I see these trucks all the time on the highways in these parts.  Well several were there at the Co-op when we arrived.  I watched them get on the scales to be weighed.  Then they would go over to the silos (above) and get filled up then returned to the scales so as to get a weight of their load.  It then all made sense to me.  They were filling up and hauling grain to all these cattle feedlots around the area.

The propane guy arrived right on time.  In fact the truck was stored in the shed nearby each night.

I have never been filled by truck before.  This thing was fast.  Seemed like less than thirty seconds whereas regular places like gas stations and hardware stores take over a minute.  I commented on that to him.  He said he had it turned down to ‘slow’ too.  Well I guess that makes sense too for he drives around the county filling people’s tanks at their homes.  They are larger capacity so can fill faster.
We took 11 gallons even.  The tank holds 11.2.  That was close.

So on to our museum visit yesterday.

It started out just like your typical museum with lots of old furniture and the like.

We had a piece exactly like this.  Bought it from the old optometrist in town when she retired.  She had it in her waiting room.  She was a crusty old woman.  Probably brought it out west in a covered wagon.
We gave it to the Historical Society in town when we moved away.

In the next room was an old telephone switch board.  I have seen them before but not this close up.  That would be one of the key elements of this museum compared to most - you could get right up close to everything, no barriers or ropes to keep you back.

This was one aspect of this switchboard from all the rest I have seen.
There was a write-up about how it all worked.
That was nice.

I took this to share with a friend who does quilting, thought I may as well include it here for you ladies.

Guy stuff coming up later.

- to be continued -