Thursday, October 13th, 2011.
Stayed off the beaten paths today by avoiding I-70 for all but the last 15 miles. We drove 267 miles. We departed from Hutchinson, KS in the morning and travelled through beautiful farm and ranch country and numerous small towns enroute to our overnight accomodations at a Comfort Inn in Colby, KS. Pictures above show a little of what we saw. Oregon has its picturesque lighthouses but Kansas has its fine, historic courthouses. We also saw lots of grain elevators (every town has one), oil wells, cattle and dairy cows, historical markers, one almost ghost town and the amazing Monument Rocks seven miles off the nearest hardtop road. Monument Rocks is recognized by the National Park Service as a National Natural Landmark. Friday we'll be off to Colorado.
Rice County Courthouse, built in 1911, in Lyons, Kansas. War memorials in the foreground with the tallest one being from the Civil War.
We never were really positive about which side of this old courthouse was the front…but this side had all the flags and an interesting bronze sculpture called, “The Facts of Life”, I liked the title…afterall, that's what is dealt with everyday in every county couthouse.
The sunny side:)
BTW, every clock face showed a different time.
One of countless small oil well pumping rigs that we saw throughout the day. I'll have to research how much oil is produced in Kansas.
One of countless grain elevators we saw today. The big old concrete jobs appear to be giving way to the more modern metal bins and elevators. This one is in Alexander, Kansas.
Talking about Alexander, Kansas…the town is slowly slipping into ghost town status. There still are residences that are occupied but the businesses have all gone the way of Granny's seen here…long closed. Population in 1990 was 85, in 2000 it was 75 and in 2010 it was 65.
Here's one of the old houses…when I was a boy, we'd have quickly labeled this a haunted house:)
And here's Alexander High School…built in 1916 with a gym added in 1930. Obviously it closed years ago. The town apparently flourished until the end of World War II and it has been going down hill ever since. With the broken glass and open windows…rain, sleet, snow and dust are gradually doing in this imposing structure.
After departing the town of Alexander we drove on for 10-15 miles and found this fascinating marker about George Washington Carver having homesteaded near here in 1886. The sign was/is well worth reading.
Then it was on to our target attraction of the day, Monument Rocks in Gove County, Kansas. The pictures that follow will give you a glimpse of these chalk formations…also called the Pyramids of Kansas.
Tara did a great job of planning our arrival time to be in the late afternoon when the shadows grow long.
Bill at work:)
These many formations reminded us of the Badlands in South Dakota that we saw a couple of weeks ago.
Tara in the midst of selecting her next shot.
And a parting shot…I marvelled at the way these formations seem to appear out of nowhere.