Saturday, October 3, 2015

Day 34 - Thursday, Oct 1 - La Junta, Co, Dodge City, KS, Junction City, KS

Starting mileage:  8634 Starting time: 9:30 am

Ending mileage: 9065 Ending time: 4:30 pm
Travel mileage:  274 Travel time: 7:00 hours

We had a later start as we couldn't avoid doing laundry - some things just can't be avoided!

Looking at the map of where we could go today, we thought it would be interesting to stop in the historic Dodge City.

The weather has certainly changed from being too hot just with a t-shirt to cool even with a long-sleeve shirt.  It was 60 degrees and misting slightly which kept up for 3 hours. When we got to Dodge City the wind was blowing and it hadn't warmed up.  Guess fall is here.

We stopped at the Boot Hill historical museum which was well worthwhile. The museum is located just below and includes the actual site of the Boot Hill cemetery which was so named because a number of the dead were buried with their boots on. There are a number of historical displays from the early history of the native Americans, their terrible treatment by the US when soldiers and settlers moved west. In order to force the native Americans to leave, the government invited anyone to come and shoot the buffalo which were essential for their existence. In a few years, millions of buffalo were slaughtered.

The first few years from 1872 were truly the "wild west" in Dodge City. There was no law enforcement and many people were killed with little reason and no consequence. It was a wild place with cowboys, gamblers, prostitutes and saloons. Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson were real people who came in to impose law and order, often quite harshly.  By 1879 things had calmed down and people were settling down with their families.

As we left Dodge City, we passed a number of very large wind farms - good to see renewable energy being exploited. 

There is also considerable irrigation of fairly barren land using water from the Arkansas River which is still being disputed with Colorado. By 1907, Colorado was diverting so much water from the river that not much was getting to Kansas.

Using our "points", we had a free night at the EconoLodge in Junction City, so named for all the rail lines that pass through. Unfortunately, they ran just across the highway from our hotel and we heard the train whistles blowing regularly after 1:30 AM.

Day 34 route

Boot Hill cemetery

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