Monday, January 24, 2000

Greetings from Dodge City, Kansas.

I made it to the next state, and to the Central Time zone.  It was another good day of driving and while there was a high layer of clouds, it turned out to be a nice day.  I was unable to see the sunrise this morning due to the clouds.  Still, I was able to get an early start and head east on Route 50.

My first detour was a drive through the town of La Junta, Colorado, to see historical buildings of this old railroad town.  This was also the route to Bent's Old Fort National Historical Site.  Reconstructed on the original foundation of Bent's Fort built in 1833, the historical site displays the facilities as they were with a ninety percent accuracy, with information retrieved through drawings, sketches, and documentation.  The fort was used as a trading post and stopping place for traders, trappers, and explorers.  Even John C. Fremont was here (again, I cross the path of John Fremont!)  There are many exhibits to be seen, with rooms and buildings set up as they were when the fort was in operation, and in the summer months, there are demonstrations by park personnel in period clothing.  I was the first visitor there this morning, and other than the park staff, I had the fort to myself for two hours!  It was a great place to explore.  As for the staff, I was fortunate to meet Jennifer and Anthony, who were very helpful and well-informed.  I was able to learn much about of the fort, the Santa Fe Trail, and other historical facts about the area.  Another thing I enjoyed was walking on the upper level of the fort and seeing a train far off in the distance and hearing the whistle blow.  It was a very serene setting.  On a final note, the United States flag that flies above the entrance to the fort has 27 stars, as it did when the fort was in operation!

I returned to Route 50 East and continued my drive, enjoying the small towns along the way.  The road follows the Arkansas River, and occasionally, there are historical markers indicating the path of the Santa Fe Trail.  I gathered more information and at certain points, you can actually see the ruts in the ground made by the travelers of long ago.  It was intriguing to think about how people made their voyage through this area by horse and wagon.

Finally, I stopped in Dodge City, Kansas, former home of Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson.  I did not drive around town yet, but from what I saw advertised on the drive in, there appears to be some touristy presentations!  Additionally, in my room (a Best Western,) there is a printed sign that reads:

Do Not Clean

Pheasants in this

Room

$50.00  Charge will be made to anyone who does!

........Manager

Guess I better get $50.00 bucks ready when I check out!!!!  ;-)

Roads traveled today: 50 - 109 - 194 - 109 - 50

Tomorrow I should be writing from Nebraska.  Thank you for reading about my trip...Igor

Hotel: Best Western Silver Spur Lodge, Dodge City, Kansas

Gas: $1.54

Click on picture to get enlarged view:

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Entrance sign to Bent's Old Fort.

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The parking lot is about a quarter of a mile from the fort, which helps enhance the atmosphere.

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The "General Store" inside the fort.

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The 27 start flag flying over the entrance, as viewed from the courtyard.

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The Blacksmith Shop

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The courtyard as viewed from the uppoer level of the fort.

 

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Looking south from the fort towards the Arkansas River.

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View of the upper level.

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Great effort was made to recreate this fort to its original design.

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One of the bedrooms in the fort.  While entrance was permitted in most rooms, some where restricted.

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The bar, with the very long pool table.

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Looking towards the front of the fort.

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One of the fancier bedrooms.

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Inside another room, with an interesting desk.

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I liked this view of the window frame construction.

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A shot as I was departing.

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One more picture of the fort.

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I made it to Kansas!

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An interesting building near the border.

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Another time zone behind me.

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I stopped at this marker in a parking area, describing the visible ruts of the Santa Fe Trail.

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From the parking area, I was able to walk around the area and see the ruts. Very interesting!

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Though not easy to see in these pictures, the ruts are in the middle of the picture.

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Another view, not easy to see in the pictures, but clearly visible at the site.

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These ruts are more visible, seen going from the lower right towards the upper left.

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A beef farm along the road.

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The Daughters of the American Revolution placed seven of these markers along the trail in Kansas.

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Another parking area and trail to view the Santa Fe Trail.

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Description of the trail.

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Ruts visible in this area.

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Registered National Historic Landmark plaque.

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To the left of the trail, where it bends to the right, ruts are clearly visible.

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Copyright 2001 Igor N. Nikishin

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