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My 2009 summer road trip, Day 5


2009 Summer Trip

Day 5, 30 Jun

I drove completely on 2 lane highways today. I left Clayton, NM going northeast into the Oklahoma Panhandle. I'd never been in the Panhandle before.

In Boise City I visited the Cimmaron Heritage Center. The core of the museum is the home of Julius and Opal Cox which was designed by famous architect Bruce Goff. It was quite a contrast to the usual Oklahoma homes... and very unusual anywhere really, even by today's standards. The museum featured a very good Santa Fe Trail exhibit as well many other exhibits in the French Museum.

In Montezuma, Kansas I stopped in at the Stauth Memorial Museum containing items collected around the world by Claude and Donalda Stauth. Claude made a lot of money in the stock market, and they would use it to travel all over the world meeting people and collecting folk art. Their money, land and stocks were willed to maintain the museum. Now it also sees major national traveling exhibits such as the upcoming "Memories of World War II:
Photographs from the Archives of The Associated Press".

Dodge City is on the National Old Trails Road, so my plan is to return there on the way back. However, I decided to visit the Boot Hill Museum as it was midday and I felt I had the time. There are other things to see on my return such as Fort Dodge and the Santa Fe Trail Wagon Ruts (aerial photo). When I saw the museum and the recreation of old Front Street it looked hokey at first, but once I had visited the museum I was quite impressed. I went on a free tour with an in-character docent. Boot Hill itself was just some recreated headstone as most bodies were found and removed to cemeteries long ago. However, the two-cell jail is the real jail from Fort Dodge. The Front Street buildings copy the originals. The bar really serves drinks. You can get your own wanted poster produced on a vintage press in the newspaper office. The restaurant has food and deserts.

From US 56, I turned north on US 183 to the northern border of Kansas. I went east on US 36 to Smith Center where I am staying tonight. Smith Center is near the official center of the contiguous US. I will try to visit the monument tomorrow. I may also see if I can get to the cabin of Dr. Brewster M. Higley who wrote My Western Home, better know as Home on the Range.

Just a note to say that US 36 that I'm on now was once the Pikes Peak Ocean to Ocean Highway. I'll be going north on US 81, a primary US route which was the Meridian Highway as well being part of other roads. Then in Nebraska I'll head east on the Golden Rod Highway, which became US 136. In Iowa I'll drive parts of the Itasca Park Highway, then east on the Harding Highway and Blue Grass Road.


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