Summer 2017, Day 24: Brown vs. Board of Education NHS

The end of the world?  No, just a passing front here at Lyon Lake in Kansas:

Summer2017_Day24_001

We drove east to Topeka, where we visited Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site:

Summer2017_Day24_003

The visitor center is housed in a Topeka school that was all-black before the court case forced the school district to desegregate:

Summer2017_Day24_002

Summer2017_Day24_004

Summer2017_Day24_005

These signs are not period-authentic, as the school was all-black, then desegregated:

Summer2017_Day24_009

Some rooms were restored to their original appearance:

Summer2017_Day24_006

Other rooms now house exhibits:

Summer2017_Day24_007

Summer2017_Day24_008

Summer2017_Day24_010

20171009_173918

We continued east to Kansas City.  We had made arrangements to park at a synaogue for Shabbos in Kansas City’s Overland Park suburb, but it turned out that it had no exterior power outlets. With the forecast calling for humid conditions with temperatures in the low 90s, experiencing Shabbos in our RV under the relentless Kansas sun without air conditioning was unlikely to be enjoyable, so we made some last minute calls and were invited by Rabbi Mendy Wineberg to join his congregation for Shabbos at the Chabad of Leawood. Leawood is an outer suburb of Kansas City, and the Chabad of Leawood is the only synagogue that serves this area.

Also attending as guests were a family from Baltimore and a family from Brooklyn who were also in town to view this summer’s eclipse, which is now only two days away. The family from Brooklyn rented an RV in Kansas City and parked it right in front of the synagogue so they could carry their baby back and forth into the synagogue.

See the alternating light blue line on the trip map for today’s drive.

Summer 2017, Day 23: Barbed Wire Museum, Fort Larned NHS, Tallgrass Prairie NP

We woke up to a sunny day in the city park here in La Crosse, Kansas:

Summer2017_Day23_001

I called the police last night to confirm that we were in the correct spot and that it was legal.  I love how laid back rural America is:

Summer2017_Day23_002

We discovered that we parked next to a cluster of museums, all on the same property:

Summer2017_Day23_006 
We first visited the Barbed Wire Museum:

Summer2017_Day23_003

Summer2017_Day23_004

Barbed wire art:

Summer2017_Day23_005

This museum is surprisingly extensive:

Summer2017_Day23_021

Summer2017_Day23_012

Summer2017_Day23_013

Each variant of barbed wire in the collection is labeled with its patent number:

Summer2017_Day23_014

Summer2017_Day23_015

Summer2017_Day23_016

This wire was used in 1892 in Bodie, California to move power from a hydroelectric plant to the town.  It was the first attempt in history to transport power from the source to a distant destination.  It was thought at the time that electricity flowed like water, and if the wires did not travel in a straight line, the electricity would “spill out”.  The project was a success, and power flowed 12 miles to town, though the perfectly straight path of the power poles was unnecessary:

Summer2017_Day23_017

Summer2017_Day23_019

Summer2017_Day23_020

This nest was built by ravens out of strands of barbed wire.  It weights over 70 pounds:

Summer2017_Day23_022

A setup like this, a modified coffee grinder and grinding wheel, was used to create the first strand of barbed wire:

Summer2017_Day23_023

A fence stretcher:

Summer2017_Day23_025

Summer2017_Day23_026

Fence posts:

Summer2017_Day23_027

Summer2017_Day23_028

The barbed wire hall of fame, which honors barbed wire collectors:

Summer2017_Day23_029

Summer2017_Day23_030

Summer2017_Day23_031

Summer2017_Day23_032

Our next stop was the Rush Country historical museum:

Summer2017_Day23_007

Summer2017_Day23_033

Summer2017_Day23_034

Summer2017_Day23_035

Summer2017_Day23_036

Our third stop was the post rock museum:

Summer2017_Day23_009

Trees were scarce in the plains states, so fence posts were made out of limestone:

Summer2017_Day23_037

Summer2017_Day23_038

Summer2017_Day23_039

Summer2017_Day23_040

Summer2017_Day23_041

Our next stop was the bank musuem, in the closed bank building moved here from Nekoma, Kansas:

Summer2017_Day23_008

Summer2017_Day23_042

Summer2017_Day23_043

Summer2017_Day23_044

Summer2017_Day23_045

Summer2017_Day23_046

The last museum here was a one-room schoolhouse, also moved here from Nekoma:
 Summer2017_Day23_010

Summer2017_Day23_047

Summer2017_Day23_048

Summer2017_Day23_049

We continued east to Fort Larned National Historic Site:

Summer2017_Day23_050

The fort was built in the mid-1800s to protect traffic along the Santa Fe Trail from hostile Native Americans:

Summer2017_Day23_051

Summer2017_Day23_052

Summer2017_Day23_053

The visitor center was interesting:

Summer2017_Day23_054

Summer2017_Day23_055

This photo shows William Bent, one of the brothers who built Bent’s Old Fort, which we visited yesterday:

Summer2017_Day23_056

Summer2017_Day23_057

Summer2017_Day23_058

Summer2017_Day23_059

Summer2017_Day23_060

Summer2017_Day23_061

Summer2017_Day23_062

Summer2017_Day23_063

Summer2017_Day23_064

Summer2017_Day23_065

Summer2017_Day23_066

20171009_173900

Our last stop of the day was Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve:

Summer2017_Day23_074

The preserve protects and interprets the largest remnant of tallgrass prairie in America, which once covered over 170 million acres:

Summer2017_Day23_067

The preserve also protects a historic farm.  We visited with the horse:

Summer2017_Day23_068

Summer2017_Day23_069

Summer2017_Day23_070

Summer2017_Day23_071

Summer2017_Day23_072

Summer2017_Day23_073

We continued east to overnight at Lyon Lake, which allows free lakeside camping:

Summer2017_Day23_075

Summer2017_Day23_076

Summer2017_Day23_077

See the alternating light blue line on the trip map for today’s drive.

Summer 2017, Day 22: Bent’s Old Fort NHS, Amache, Sand Creek Massacre NHS, Monument Rocks

Good morning from Walmart:

Summer2017_Day22_001

Our first stop was Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site.  Like Fort Union Trading Post, which we visited on Day 10 of this trip, this fort was built in the early 1830s to facilitate trade with local Native Americans.  The current fort is a recreation built by the NPS, built out of adobe like the original:

Summer2017_Day22_003

The grave of a wagon driver:

Summer2017_Day22_004

Summer2017_Day22_005

Summer2017_Day22_006

Summer2017_Day22_007

Summer2017_Day22_008

Summer2017_Day22_009

Summer2017_Day22_010

The original fort had a variety of animals:

Summer2017_Day22_012

Summer2017_Day22_013

Summer2017_Day22_014

Summer2017_Day22_015

Summer2017_Day22_016

Summer2017_Day22_017

Summer2017_Day22_018

Summer2017_Day22_019

A peahen and her chicks:

Summer2017_Day22_021

Summer2017_Day22_022

Summer2017_Day22_023

Summer2017_Day22_024

Summer2017_Day22_025

Summer2017_Day22_026

Summer2017_Day22_027

Summer2017_Day22_028

Summer2017_Day22_029

Summer2017_Day22_030

Summer2017_Day22_031

Summer2017_Day22_032

Summer2017_Day22_033

Summer2017_Day22_034

Summer2017_Day22_035

Summer2017_Day22_036

Summer2017_JR_Badge_012

Our next stop was the Granada War Relocation Center, also known as Camp Amache.  Built during World War II in response to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Amache was one of ten Japanese American internment camps used to imprison over 100,000 US residents of Japanese ancestry, two-thirds of whom were US citizens.  This is the fifth internment camp we’ve visited:

Summer2017_Day22_037

Summer2017_Day22_038

Summer2017_Day22_040

Summer2017_Day22_041

It’s always sobering to explore these camps.  It’s frightening to think how quickly constitutional rights can be stripped away.

Only one building remains of the over 500 buildings once here, most of them barracks:

Summer2017_Day22_042

The foundations of the barracks remain:

Summer2017_Day22_043

Summer2017_Day22_044

Summer2017_Day22_045

Remains of the water reservoir:

Summer2017_Day22_046

Roads, now empty, extend in all directions:

Summer2017_Day22_047

Summer2017_Day22_048

Summer2017_Day22_049

Summer2017_Day22_050

The vault for the coop store is only building still standing:

Summer2017_Day22_051

Summer2017_Day22_052

Standing inside one of the barracks:

Summer2017_Day22_053

Summer2017_Day22_054

Our next stop was Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site.  It was here in 1864 that US Army massacred a Native American peace camp.  Most of the dead were women and children.  One of the survivors of the massacre, Chief Black Kettle, was later killed by Army forces at a peace camp at Washita, which we visited on Day 974.

The visitor center was one of the smaller ones we’ve visited.  It’s little more than a contact station, with no exhibits:
 

Summer2017_Day22_055

Summer2017_Day22_056

After walking the grounds and reading the interpretive signs, we continued east, crossing into Kansas:

Summer2017_Day22_057

Our last stop of the day was Monument Rocks, one of the Eight Wonders of Kansas:
 Summer2017_Day22_058

Summer2017_Day22_059

Summer2017_Day22_060

Summer2017_Day22_061

Summer2017_Day22_062

Summer2017_Day22_063

Summer2017_Day22_064

Summer2017_Day22_065

Summer2017_Day22_066

Summer2017_Day22_067

Summer2017_Day22_068

Summer2017_Day22_069

We enjoyed the changing light as sunset approached:

Summer2017_Day22_070

Summer2017_Day22_071

Summer2017_Day22_072

Summer2017_Day22_073

Summer2017_Day22_074

Summer2017_Day22_075

Summer2017_Day22_076

Summer2017_Day22_077

Summer2017_Day22_078

We continued east to overnight at a city park in La Crosse, Kansas.  See the alternating light blue line on the trip map for today’s drive.

Summer 2017, Day 14: Killpecker Dunes, Flaming Gorge NRA, Dinosaur NM

This morning, M and I got up before sunrise, unhitched from the RV and drove northeast to the Killpecker Sand Dunes, one of the largest living dune fields in North America.  We last visited here in 2010, but today I was here to fly my PPG over the dunes.  We walked around looking for a suitable launch site:

Summer2017_Day14_001

Summer2017_Day14_002

Summer2017_Day14_2_005

Summer2017_Day14_2_003

Summer2017_Day14_2_004

Launching here under ideal conditions would be challenging due to being at over 7,000 feet above sea level.  Winds were light and maddeningly uncooperative, frequently changing directions.  After a few launch attempts and numerous relocations to try to get lined up with the wind, I decided to pack it in as it was getting late enough in the morning that thermals could become a danger:

Summer2017_Day14_003

M brought his R/C car:

Summer2017_Day14_2_001

Summer2017_Day14_2_002

Summer2017_Day14_004

Summer2017_Day14_005

On the way back we could see Boar’s Tusk in the distance:

Summer2017_Day14_006

We reconnected with the RV and headed south, crossing from Wyoming into Utah.  Our first stop was Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area.  The BOR visitor center is at the dam that backs up the Green River to create the Flaming Gorge Reservoir.  A retired hydroelectric turbine is on display in the parking lot:

Summer2017_Day14_009

Summer2017_Day14_007

Summer2017_Day14_008

We drove on to visit the Red Canyon Visitor Center:

Summer2017_Day14_011

Summer2017_Day14_021

Summer2017_Day14_015

From the window of the visitor center, we could look down into the canyon:

Summer2017_Day14_014

We walked out to an overlook:

Summer2017_Day14_016

Summer2017_Day14_017

Summer2017_Day14_018

Summer2017_Day14_019

Summer2017_Day14_020

We continued south, and Trish made some coin purses as we drove:

Summer2017_Day14_010

We continued south and east to arrive at Dinosaur National Monument:

Summer2017_Day14_022

The main attraction of the Monument is the “wall of bones”, a layer of rock containing hundreds of fossils.  Over time, the rock layer uplifted and tilted, and it now 67 degrees from horizontal:

Summer2017_Day14_024

Summer2017_Day14_025

Summer2017_Day14_026

Summer2017_Day14_027

There were some exhibits as well:

Summer2017_Day14_028

Summer2017_Day14_029

Summer2017_Day14_030

Summer2017_Day14_031

Summer2017_JR_Badge_003

We continued south to a dispersed camping location just off the road:

Summer2017_Day14_032

Summer2017_Day14_033

There’s an open area across the road, so weather permitting I’ll try to get in a flight tomorrow morning.

See the alternating light blue line on the trip map for today’s drive.

Summer 2017, Day 13: Bighorn Canyon NRA

After a surprisingly quiet night at a local truck stop, we drove a couple miles to the visitor center for Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area:

Summer2017_Day13_001

Summer2017_Day13_002

Before the Bighorn River was dammed to form Bighorn Lake, boats like these were used to navigate the rapids in the canyon:

Summer2017_Day13_003

Summer2017_JR_Badge_005

We left the RV at the visitor center and drove north along the canyon to an overlook.  We could see the lake far below:

Summer2017_Day13_006

Summer2017_Day13_007

Summer2017_Day13_008

Our next stop was the trailhead for the ghost town of Hillsboro.  It was built as a homestead in 1903.  When gold mining failed to produce results, the homestead was converted to a dude ranch:

Summer2017_Day13_009
Quite a few buildings remain:

Summer2017_Day13_010

Summer2017_Day13_011

Summer2017_Day13_012

Summer2017_Day13_013

Summer2017_Day13_014

Summer2017_Day13_015

Summer2017_Day13_016

Summer2017_Day13_017

Summer2017_Day13_018

Summer2017_Day13_019

The old post office:

Summer2017_Day13_020

Summer2017_Day13_021

We headed back to the truck:

Summer2017_Day13_022

We continued south to the town of Greybull, where we noticed a number of vintage aircraft parked next to a rest stop.  It turned out to be the

Museum of Flight and Aerial Firefighting:

Summer2017_Day13_023

The museum houses a collection of military aircraft converted for use in firefighting:

Summer2017_Day13_024

This converted Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar sports a roof-mounted J34 jet engine salvaged from a Lockheed P-2 Neptune to allow takeoff from shorter runways:

Summer2017_Day13_025

Summer2017_Day13_027

Summer2017_Day13_028

Summer2017_Day13_029

Summer2017_Day13_030

Summer2017_Day13_031

Summer2017_Day13_032

Summer2017_Day13_033

We continued south through Thermopolis into Wind River Canyon:

Summer2017_Day13_034

Summer2017_Day13_035

Summer2017_Day13_036

We refueled in Lander and continued south to an overlook for Red Canyon:

Summer2017_Day13_037

We continued south to overnight at the Walmart of Rock Springs, Wyoming.

See the alternating light blue line on the trip map for today’s drive.