Sunday we took a little tour of the two lakes around Council Grove, and then headed toward Hutchinson. But first, a stop in Cottonwood Falls, the Chase County seat, made famous (not as obscure?) by William Least Heat-Moon in his book, PrairyErth. In any case,they have a wonderful old courthouse that was finished in 1873 and is the oldest county courthouse still in use in Kansas. We stopped at the Emma Chase Cafe for Sunday dinner. Eventually we came to Hutchinson where we spent a couple of days and nights with JoAnn and Roger. Roger and I had a nice visit to the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center. They have a wonderful collection of rocket and space items, including some backup Russian satellites they were able to procure. There is very detailed information about the WWII German rocket program. Also have an SR71 "spy plane" there. I recommend it for a few hours, more if you have several days.
Tuesday it was off to Herndon. We took a side detour east of Hays to see the Cathedral of the Plains in Victoria. Claim is that when it was completed in 1911, St. Fedelis Catholic Church was the biggest church west of the Mississippi, seating 1100. Then on to Hays for lunch and a brief visit to Ft. Hays State University where I was granted a BS degree 50 years ago. Whew! Didn't recognize much, but here's what was the girls dorm, as I recall, Agnew Hall, with some updating, I'm sure. Further along I-70 we stopped at a rest stop where they had this plaque showing Kansas trails and other historical spots. Arriving in Herndon we stopped by to see Joan and Don, then went on out to see Rachel, Sarah, Ben, Cindi, and Kyle. (Now, we actually went off to Nebraska to stay with Kent, but I'm not skipping to Nebraska yet.)
Next morning we came back down to the Herndon area, first taking a drive through the countryside. Amelia spotted a ring-neck pheasant in the ditch. I saw him and immediately pulled out my camera to try to get a picture, but he had ducked through a fence into a field and all I got was his head sticking up. Then, he flew and I lucked out with a quick picture of him (not a great picture, but all things considered, I think it's pretty good!). Then on to the Franke Springs area, about a mile east of where I was born and raised (I guess they are the Grafel Springs, now), and they have put in a picnic table and some other refinements. Here's a shot of the pasture, and another with Amelia in view. Many years ago (maybe 15?) I took what I thought was a very nice picture of life, death, and renewal. I went back to the same spot. It still shows the same thing, I guess, but it was a nicer picture when the background cedars were smaller. Speaking of death, I also came across the remains of a deer, and here I am with the head and four-point antlers. After lunch we did some more touring with Don, particularly the Evangelical Cemetary. Then, with a final shot of Don we headed back to Nebraska and Kent's home.
We headed for Colorado. At lunch time we met Joan and Kaprice in Ft. Morgan and had a very nice visit and caught up on all of Joan's family. Joan joined us for a farewell picture, also demonstrating she wasn't sleeping either (sorry Joan, I should have taken another picture of you and Kaprice, but ....). Then it was off to the Denver airport where we caught the big bird back to Tucson. We had a great trip, even though we didn't get to see everyone we would liked to have seen.