Monday, May 21 – Dodge City

Dodge City was a kick.  It has Boot Hill, Bat Masterson, Wyatt Earp, Long Branch Saloon,

The Dodge City trolley tour bus

gunslingers, cowboys, cattle drives, Indians, buffalo, and they make the most of it all.   We took a trolley bus tour, which took us out to Fort Dodge, which was one of a series of forts set up to protect travelers on the Santa Fe Trail which went from Franklin, Missouri to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and I think beyond.  Fort Dodge is now a residential community.  The bus took us past many cattle feed lots outside of town, although there were not that many cattle there.  A strange sight was a dead cow lying along a fence.  It gives credence to stories about how cattle are treated in this situation.  I was sorry I just missed getting a picture of it for the record.

The whole town was originally completely lawless, except when a marshall would be hired to clean things up for a while.  When the marshall left, or was killed, the town would revert to its old ways.  When the Santa Fe Railroad arrived, the area north of the tracks became civilized, but in the south it was Dodge City as usual.

The reason Dodge City became so successful originally was because Texas longhorns hosted a tick that produced Texas Fever.  Cattle were prohibited from entering tick-free

Store fronts in old Dodge City

eastern Kansas, forcing the cattle drives west via Dodge City.  Eventually, the entire state was off limits to Texas cattle, ending Dodge City’s heyday.

We then explored the shops of a reconstructed Front Street with its wooden sidewalk, and many original artifacts.  In back of the shops was the actual Boot Hill, with wooden “tombstones” that were not so authentic.  There are the true stories of who was buried there, including Alice Chambers, the only woman and the last person to be buried in Boot Hill.  She died of a scalp infection.

The most surprising statistic for me was that at the peak of the gunfighters time, in 1875,

Boot Hill

I think, there were only 30 gunfights in all of Texas and Arkansas that year. Apparently, they were all well documented and publicized at the time in local newspapers.  At this time of year there are not many of us tourists.  But I can imagine at the height of the season, there are reenactors everywhere, staging gunfights and whatever, on the hour. all day long.

It was time to head for Unity Village where the spiritual headquarters of the Unity movement is located.  As board president of Unity San Diego, I, and Teresa, were interested in visiting there so we have two nights planned there, as we did for the Grand Canyon.

We have been mystified by the way Miss Nuvi, our Garmin GPS navigator operates.  More often than not, when we need to switch from one highway to another in the middle of a town, she routes us through a series of small streets rather than directly from one to the other.  It reminded us of how this very same GPS unit behaved in Spain.  We would be on a highway from one city to another, and it (she) would tell us to take an exit part way along.  We knew it was wrong so we ignored it (her).  One time, just to see what would happen, we took the exit.  We were rounted through wonderful small farms and vinyards only to be put back on the same highway one or two exits down the road.  We never did figure it out.

Sean and Taylor at the Great Wall Super Buffet in Great Bend, Kansas

Along the way we came to Great Bend, Kansas and encountered the Great Wall Super Buffet.  It was the best Chinese buffet we have ever had.  Mussels with a light cheese sauce, real crab, delicious shrimp dishes (tails off), and many other wonderful selections.  It was hosted by Sean, whose sister owns the place.  We got into extended convesations with him and our server, Taylor.  We asked him how big was the Chinese population in Great Bend.  The answer: 5.  Taylor had a complicated family history which I will not attempt to retell.

Flashing lights behind me.  Sure enough, I was being pulled over for speeding again.  “How are you doing?” he said.  “Not so good, I guess”, was my answer once again. He said he clocked me at 75 with a speed limit of 65 and let me off with a warning.  I thanked him and said, “I imagine I’m not supposed to ask you this, but how much leeway do you give drivers over the speed limit?”  He danced around the issue a bit, but he eventually left the impression that he wanted to say about 5 miles per hour.  I still think it is ten.

We arrived at the Unity Village Inn at about 10 pm which was a lot better than early in the morning as we had done for the past two days.

I worked on this blog for a while until it was time for bed.

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