California 2021:
Day 21 - Great Bend, KS


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California 2021: [Day 1 - Chicago] [Day 2 - Route 66: IL] [Day 3 - Route 66: MO] [Day 4 - Route 66: OK] [Day 5 - Route 66: TX] [Day 6 - Route 66: NM] [Day 7 - Route 66: AZ] [Day 8 - Route 66: CA] [Day 9 - Route 66: CA] [Day 10 - Los Angeles] [Day 11 - Los Angeles] [Day 12 - Palm Springs] [Day 13 - Joshua Tree NP] [Day 14 - Death Valley NP] [Day 15 - Las Vegas] [Day 16 - Zion NP] [Day 17 - Grand Canyon North Rim] [Day 18 - Toroweap, Grand Canyon] [Day 19 - Page, AZ] [Day 20 - Durango, CO] [Day 21 - Great Bend, KS] [Day 22 - St. Louis, MO] [Day 23 - Heading Home]

Saturday, November 20, 2021: Today would be our longest driving day of the trip, so we were up and out of the hotel by 6 AM, and got a quick breakfast at Burger King in Durango before heading east.
A little after sunrise, we started to see deer on the side of the road, but all attempts to photograph them turned out poorly. Here's another Chimney Rock.
There was much speculation as to what this will be. A bridge? Probably. A tunnel where they will install the mountain later? Probably not.
Maersk!
We followed the San Juan River into ...
... Pagosa Springs. We had been here before, almost exactly four years ago, back in 2017.
We drove through the edges of the San Juan National Forest, ...
... and enjoyed the last day of mountain scenery, ...
... even the snowy Wolf Creek Pass at 10,857 feet.
The snow on the mountains looked beautiful, and we were very happy that it was all old snow.
As we came down the mountain, we drove through a snowshed, ...
... and then a tunnel, ...
... and then alongside the Rio Grande River, ...
... as we passed through the Rio Grande National Forest.
As we approached South Fork, Colorado, we saw this old diesel-electric locomotive. It was built to operate in the rail switching yard for the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad in 1942, was eventually sold to a sugar company, and operated until 1994.
We stopped at a rest area, and Debbie took this picture of the wallpaper border in the women's rest room which was probably at least 30 years old. Someone evidently took pride in keeping the place looking nice.
Outside Monte Vista, we were excited to pass the Best Western Movie Manor and Star Drive-In, which was a place where we were thinking of staying until we realized that they didn't show movies during the winter season. There were two large drive-in movie screens positioned away from the hotel, and the rooms have large windows facing the screens so you can watch movies from the comfort of your room.
When we entered the town of Monte Vista, we saw this sign for a National Historic District. We'd seen several of these through the various towns in Colorado.
Leaving town, Debbie saw this building, which she recognized as a Carnegie Library. This one was on the National Register of Historic Places.
In Alamosa, we saw Denver and Rio Grande Western Locomotive No. 169 in Cole Park. It took part in the 1939 New York World's Fair, and then was moved here in 1941.
We were near the Great Sand Dunes National Park and could see the dunes in the distance, but we didn't visit them this time.
Fun fact: US-160 through Colorado was known as the Navajo Trail. Fun fact #2: not all photos turn out well.
This was our very last view of mountains.
In Walsenburg, Colorado, we stopped for gas and lunch at Carl's Jr., and then passed this great cafe sign ...
... and this cool art deco building with vintage fire trucks decorated for the holidays at Huerfano County Fire Department.
There were several interesting buildings in town, including the Huerfano County Courthouse building, built in 1904, ...
... and the Fox Theatre.
We were on the Santa Fe Trail, a National Scenic Byway that runs from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to Franklin, Missouri.
This locomotive once belonged to the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe railroad.
In La Junta, Colorado, we briefly crossed paths with US-50, and saw this shop named Junction 50 Galleria. Someday, we'll be back when we do an epic US-50 road trip.
What's this? We could understand a turkey running for its life on the side of a road, but a peacock? How strange!
We arrived at Bent's Old Fort, a National Historic Site that was a reconstructed fort and trading post from 1829.
We were here to see the Stephen Mather plaque, but it was outside the administration building, and this sign limited access to Authorized Vehicles Only. Debbie hates to break rules, ...
... but it's right there. We drove in quickly, parked in the mostly empty parking area, ...
... and got a good picture of the plaque. The sculputor's signature is completely cut off from the bottom of this one, which makes it one of the later, 1991, castings.
Down the road a short distance, there were markers for the Santa Fe trail donated by the Daughters of the American Revolution near this more authentic gate for the fort.
There's the fort, with a covered wagon out in front.
In Boggsville, we drove past the Bent County Courthouse building, built in 1889, on our way to see ...
... the Boggsville historic site where there was an official state of Colorado historic marker sign. Boggsville was established in 1866 and named after Thomas O. Boggs, who was the first settler here. Famous residents of Boggsville were Kit Carson, a frontiersman and wilderness guide, and John W. Prowers, a cattle rancher.
We crossed back over the Arkansas River, and Debbie burst into a round of "Arkinsaw! Arkinsaw! I jis' love ol' Arkinsaw! Love my pa! Love my ma! But I jis' love ol' Arkinsaw!" from the musical, "Big River." She did this every time we crossed the Arkansas River. Every. Time.
In Lamar, we stopped at the train station and Colorado Visitor Center. There was a group of teens and adults pouring lines of red sand along the sidewalk edges to decorate for the holidays.
Behind the building, locomotive No. 1819 for the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad was dressed in festive gear.
We were here to see Colorado's Madonna of the Trail statue.
Every statue has this panel on the base, honoring the National Old Trails Road, ...
... but the left and right sides of the base have text unique to the location. This one commemorates the timber industry on the Arkansas River and Bent's New Fort, later renamed Fort Wise.
The other panel notes the historical significance of Lamar as a place of shelter and a source of supply.
At Lamar, we turned north for a little while, heading down deserted roads, ...
... through fields empty except for the occasional oil rig, ...
... until we turned east again and crossed over into Kansas.
We were on Kansas Highway 96, part of the Western Vistas Historic Byway, which is designated for its areas of interest to geologists and paleontologists, wild west forts, and outdoor recreation.
The name of this ice cream place, Frigid Creme, made us laugh for miles and miles. Is it not quite icy cold? Just mildly cold?
We stopped at an empty rest area in Alexander, Kansas, right around sunset.
Just before 6:30 PM, we arrived at the Super 8 Motel in Great Bend, Kansas, our destination for the night. We checked into our king room and did a little bit of luggage consolidation since we only had one more night after tonight. Dinner this evening was tasty freeze-dried chicken risotto.

Day 22 >


California 2021: [Day 1 - Chicago] [Day 2 - Route 66: IL] [Day 3 - Route 66: MO] [Day 4 - Route 66: OK] [Day 5 - Route 66: TX] [Day 6 - Route 66: NM] [Day 7 - Route 66: AZ] [Day 8 - Route 66: CA] [Day 9 - Route 66: CA] [Day 10 - Los Angeles] [Day 11 - Los Angeles] [Day 12 - Palm Springs] [Day 13 - Joshua Tree NP] [Day 14 - Death Valley NP] [Day 15 - Las Vegas] [Day 16 - Zion NP] [Day 17 - Grand Canyon North Rim] [Day 18 - Toroweap, Grand Canyon] [Day 19 - Page, AZ] [Day 20 - Durango, CO] [Day 21 - Great Bend, KS] [Day 22 - St. Louis, MO] [Day 23 - Heading Home]

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