Abilene Kansas – the home of the Chisholm Trail, land of cowboys and cows. It is a tiny little town, I didn't see any cowboys or cows. I did talk to a guy who had 200 head though – don't know if that counts. Lucky for me, the Eisenhower Presidential Museum and Library had just opened a new exhibit about the Chisholm Trail and the cattle drives. One year, 600,000 cattle came through Abilene. Wild Bill Hickcock was a sheriff here and John Wesley Hardin was a deputy sheriff. I learned all about cowboy fashion, a subject that I guess I was woefully ignorant about. This was an exhibit well worth viewing.
I have a fondness for Presidential Library. They have a tendency to make men very big and wonderful no matter how little they might actually be. I, in no way, mean to imply that Dwight David Eisenhower was one of those little men. We all know who I am probably referring to and we will just leave it at that.
I watched the obligatory movie about Eisenhower's life and then I toured his boyhood home. He was one of seven boys and since there were no girls, Ma Eisenhower made sure all her boys could cook, clean and sew. Eisenhower wanted to go to the Naval Academy but ended up at West Point where he fell in love with tanks. He was an infantry guy through and through. The museum was really heavy on Eisenhower's war experiences, I suppose rightly so as he was the Supreme Commander of the Army and was in charge for the D-Day invasion.
|This house was actually considered to be on the wrong side of the tracks in Abilene. I think it is lovely.|
I found the exhibits about his Presidency to be much more interesting. Maybe that was because I lived through those presidential years and the war was before my time. Eisenhower's years were the Cold War years, the fifties. The years where we all learned that in case of nuclear attack, we huddle under our school desks and put our hands over our head. The museum touts the fact that one of the primary accomplishments of his term was the fact that he kept the peace.
I found the exhibits on Mamie Doud Eisenhower to be eye opening. Who knew that she was named one of the ten best dressed women in the nation not once but ten times. And those bangs – don't get me started on her bangs.
|Picture from the web|
Across the street from the Eisenhower complex was the Greyhound Hall of Fame museum. As you enter this museum, you are greeted by Gary and Ginger, the two resident greyhounds. Such sweet, gentle creatures. The museum was almost totally about greyhound racing – sort of a soup to nuts discussion about racing. They showed the greyhound breeding farms, the training and then the actual racing. I would have liked to see something more about the greyhounds themselves – their temperament, how they do as pets – the day to day type of things.
|Old Gary is in the back - he really couldn't be bothered. Ginger was much more the socialite|
So far on this trip, it has been three days of rain – solid rain. I can travel in the rain, but winds – not so much. The forecast was for gusts building up to 40 miles an hour during the day. I got up at 6:00 AM – yes, you read that right. My one troublemaker tire was low again, but luckily I was right across the street from Bob's Tires. I swung over there and they diagnosed my issue – my stem extender was loose. Tightened it up, filled with air and I'm on the road.
|My site at Covered Wagon RV Park - charming......not - but great wifi.|
I drive for three hours and get to Larned, Kansas. I am really glad that I didn't have to drive any further than that – the winds were getting strong enough to knock you over. I had planned to stay at Camp Pawnee, a small county park, but with the three days of rain and parking on the grass, I was worried that I would sink in and have to be pulled out. Besides that, there was only one other camper there and first impressions was that I would not be comfortable there. So, I ended up at an overpriced parking lot in the Rodeway Inn. It was good for the night, although totally lacking in charm.
I was here to visit Fort Larned. Fort Larned is a national site – a fort from the late 1800's. It's sole purpose was to guard the Santa Fe Trail. Typical Fort, Typical Junior Ranger Book. The rangers were wonderful here – when I told them I had a dog with me, they said I could bring her in to all of the buildings. They were breaking the NPS rules!!!!! They were Alt Rangers!!!!! They were fun to talk with about a variety of conversations everything from Fort Larned to Nazi war trials and prisons.
|Check out those clouds|
I wandered on down the road. Perhaps I should say that as of right now, Oklahoma has my award for having the worst roads in the nation. I've been down the east side and also the west side of the state and the roads are atrocious. Although, I do have to say that there is not much to see in Oklahoma so it became a great sport to weave down the highway avoiding the massive potholes that occur every few feet.
|Yup - this is Oklahoma folks|