Saturday, March 25, 2017

BIG ALKALI FISH CAMP, NEAR VALENTINE, NE—Camp 15


We stumbled across this small campground on our way to Valentine, NE.  We were looking for a place to just do a single overnight stop so when we saw the signs for the fish camp we decided to take a chance and go to check it out.

After following the signs down a long sand road that wound through a hay field we came to an oasis of trees that turned out to be the fish camp.

Then the strangeness happened.  The campground was tidy, there were several campers there, but no people.  Absolutely no people, no honor box, no fees posted, nothing.  There as a bait shop of sorts that was closed that had a sign on it that said if we were going to use electricity to see the camp host before parking.

We checked several campers, but there was no one there.  It was like something out of the twilight zone.  Since the weather was mild we decided to just boondock and not use the electricity and pay the attendant in the morning.

Around midnight we heard three trucks come into the campground and the voices of their occupants, but when we got up at 7 am there was no one there.  We were still all alone. Insert spooky music here.

Since it was on a wildlife reserve we finally decided it was part of the lands we had been looking at for free camping and left.

Here a few photos we snapped the night we arrived.






ELLIS LAKESIDE CAMPGROUND, ELLIS, KANSAS—CAMP 14


As we were traveling from Venago to our next stop we unexpectedly had to stop at the Chevy dealership in Hays, KS because we discovered the cause of our problems on the truck periodically not starting after a fill up.  This time Gary actually saw the event while it was happening. 

The fuel filter housing had a crack in it and was actually spewing diesel out on occasion.

The dealership had the part in stock, replaced it and we were back on the road quickly. However, by then it was obvious to us we would not make our destination for the evening and we decided to spend the night at a campground at Ellis, KS.

We only spent one night at this small campground, but the view was spectacular out our back window.


This is a small city park.  There are plenty of camping signs coming into town to show you the way in. 

It is an honor system type park and our rate with free wi-fi and full hook-ups was $20.  The site #3 was an easy in and out, shaded pull-through. 

Had we had more time in our schedule we would have stayed another day or two just to explore the area. 

Because it is a city park we didn’t chance breaking any regulations by flying the quadcopter.  We did, however, go for a stroll after we set up for the day, along the river edge for a while, including sitting on the nice dock and just watching the river flow by. Of course we had our camera at hand and took a few photos.




All in all it was a pleasant campground and we would definitely do an overnight visit there again.


VENAGO – PART III




The third day of the loop found us in Lindsborg, KS.  It is advertised as a Scandinavian Town.  Indeed you could see the influence all over town of its ancestry.  From the Dala horses painted in all manners all over the town ,








There was even a “Tala Dala”


To the brightly colored homes.


Of course there was a restaurant to be tried.  Too bad we didn’t check the prices before we sat down.  The food was decent at the Swedish Crown, but not worth the big bucks it cost.  Also, it would have been nice if it had been a bit more decorated in a mother country style instead of the local diner look.

One of the best things about Lindsborg was doing the “scavenger hunt”.  It was a local walking tour that had you looking for various landmarks and was really interesting to do.  Everything was on the main street and took less than an hour to do.  It was, of course, a free activity.  My favorite!

Here are a few photos of some of the things we saw while doing the scavenger hunt.
Santa Lucia was everywhere in town. 


,
The town itself is unique in some of its buildings.  It was very fascinating to visit.



In Lindsborg there is also  The Old Mill Museum which, unfortunately, was closed the day we went there. As was the reproduction of the World’s Fair


Pavilion Lindsborg had once done.  So we had to be content to just walk around both of those on the outside.  If we should ever venture back this way we will definitely visit the insides of both these museums.




,
At the edge of town Gary spotted this fellow sitting on a front porch.





Another unique place we went was Farris Caves.  It was a simple man made cave with two entrances.  Unfortunately like the Mushroom Rock vandals had been there as well.







Insert pho790-91, 95-96, 99-800,.
To round out the day we visited the Hodgen House Museum Complex in Ellsworth, Kansas.

We were given a guided tour of all the floors with explanations of each of the rooms. 

There were many unique objects, like the 10 hour watch.  Until visiting this museum we had no idea that there had been a movement in France in 1793 to push everything to the metric system including the hours in the day, the days in the week and months in the year. 

This might help explain some of the confusion on dates in genealogy research from that time period.

Another interesting bit of housing trivia we were told at one point in history homes were taxed based on the number of rooms in the home, not the square footage and closets were considered rooms.  This is why many homes of that era had no closets in them. 

Further research on my part later showed that this was a myth.  

We were so busy enjoying the museum grounds which includes many other buildings that were closed for various reasons we forgot to take the camera into the museum. 

I started out snapping a few photos with my phone, but quickly forgot about taking photos because the talk given by the volunteer was so interesting. Here are the few items I did get:

The first one is a bread machine, yes you read right.  The instructions for using it were even on the lid.



I had never seen a steam iron such as this one either.


Upstairs in the sewing room there was a piece of furniture that the volunteer had no idea what it was, so I snapped a photo and then posted it for some of my friends who are antique savy and learned for both myself and the museum that it was a yarn, ribbon or thread display cabinet.


The volunteer also took us to the trapper’s log cabin.  It was outfitted with all the necessities of life, an early tiny house for certain.



It was late in the day when we left the museum, but our ticket was good for both it and Ft. Harker, so we drove straight to the fort,   however, we got there after closing so we just read signs and took some outside photos.  We could have gone back the next day, but we were running out of time for that area.
Insert FT. Harker photos

All in all it was a very good visit in this area.  I want to take this opportunity to thank our friend Cliff Chisum for suggesting we visit the Kanapolis area.


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

VENAGO CAMPGROUND, KANAPOLIS, KS PART II


On a second day we traveled the part of the loop that took us looking for various locations both historical and unique.

Our first stop was Marquette, KS with its historical buildings…



And the Kansas Motorcycle Museum (donations are welcome at this free museum).

There were a few other museums there, but the day we were there they were all closed. Of course Gary was content to just tour the motorcycle museum with camera in hand.
There were some very unique old motorcycles, some of which obviously weren’t paper trained…




More modern bikes, scooters and dragsters…

A motor cycle that had been ridden around the world…

Side cars, car like bikes and lots more, three rooms full of more



We wandered around the museum for some time snapping photos and reading the information tags on various vehicles.  I never knew motorcycles came in so many shapes and forms.

That day we also went to Mushroom Rock State Park.  The smallest state park in Kansas.  Just 5 acres, with no camping but some unique rock formations that you can “hike around”.  I’m not a sturdy hiker, but I had no trouble walking the trails around these rocks.

There is a public restroom, a shaded bench, and the rocks.  That was about it for that state park, but it would be a good place to take a picnic lunch and enjoy the rocks.
To give you an idea of the size of the Mushroom Rock, Gary is 6’2” in height.




Unfortunately ill mannered vandals had done their handiwork by scratching into the soft stone and defacing it.  While the rocks were still much in their natural state the graffiti was senseless.

Along the route there is a bridge landmark.  It is a bridge to nowhere now.  Simply sitting out in a field and if you aren’t looking for it, you will miss it.  While we saw it.  I wasn’t fast enough with the camera to get its picture.

Coronado Heights is like a small castle sitting on the hill top outside of Lindsbrog, KS. Local lore claims this is the point at which FranciscoVasquez De Coronado  gave up his search for the Seven Cities of Gold  and turned around to go back to Spain.

This area is part of a seven sandstone bluffs of the Dakota range and thought to be the a fore mentioned seven cities of Cibola.  Of course the only gold Coronado found was the golden harvest of the crops in the area and the color of the sandstone.
Indeed in 1915 chain mail from Spanish armor was found in the area.  So maybe he was there.

It was built in 1936 by the WPA.  It is currently under repair, with a promise the washed out road leading up to it will be resurfaced after the repairs are done. 
The road is passable, but is basically a very rough, rutted, one lane road leading up to it.  Still it was definitely worth the ride up just for the view.




We found one very unexpected visitor at the site that day.  I thought these little fellows had gone extinct.  If you look closely in these photos you will see what is commonly called a horned toad or horned lizard.


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All in all this was a relaxing and enjoyable day with spectacular views.