Gunnison, CO – Carthage, MO 5/12/13

The time has  come to push on from Gunnison.  After our morning chores Bev and I get off at the crack of  1PM.  I hope this gets better.  The toughest job our little motor home will have is climbing Monarch Pass.  We head out of Gunnison for the 11,312 ft. pass. We don’t go fast but we are steady.  We made it up with little effort and even dragged our little car.  From the top of Monarch, in the snow, I realized this was the highest point on our journey.  philmonarchpass  


Folks rarely lose it climbing up the mountain.  It is the descent that matters.  I did not want to try out one of those truck escape ramps.  20mph was going to be my max descent speed.  I had to pull over for other traffic a lot but we made it rarely using the service brakes.

We deflated our sleep number bed before the climb to keep it from exploding.

Before long we were in Salida heading east.  The Arkansas River Canyon was beautiful on the Sunday afternoon.

We could not find an easy RV park in Pueblo so we pushed onto La Junta.  We seemed to get the last 50 amp spot.  That electricity was starting to look more important as the temps were pushing into the 90′s.

Mostly long term folks at the KOA.  It was the only campground for 50 miles. There were only one or two other cars.  Everyone else drove a pickup.



During my shower this morning I had a revelation.  I noticed a few extra wrinkles and rolls of flab.  I started to criticize my old body but then I realized I was taking the wrong approach.  I decided to thank it for all of these relatively trouble free years.  It had actually done a pretty good job and my complaining about looking a little older didn’t do it justice.  Instead, I thanked it for its good work and was determined to try to keep it in a little better shape.

A morning walk and we were off at the crack of 10:30.  I guess we are making improvement.

We were back on US 50 heading for Dodge City, KS.  I grew up watching Matt, Doc, Festus, and Kitty. I  looked forward to seeing The Dodge House and the Longbranch.

Westen Kansas –  wide open spaces,  flat by all my standards, grain elevators, friendly people.  I grew up in middle America and forgot how nice it was.

When we pulled into the Gunsmoke RV park the pleasant lady at the counter was giving us our instructions and quickly said.  ”If you’re not out of here by noon tomorrow you ante up or you ‘get out of Dodge.’  That was an apparent game.  When you meet a stranger you see who can say those words first. I lost the first round.

There was a lot of open land around the park and we gave the dogs a chance to stretch their legs.



But the most interesting thing we learned was why the town, known for its cowboy heroes, had a heyday of only a few years.  It turns out it started when the Texas Longhorns first arrived enroute to the new railroad.   Prior to 1883 Abilene was the main cowtown.  But the Longhorns were plagued with “Splenic Fever” and the Kansas legislature kept imposed a quarantine on Eastern Kansas for the Texas Cattle.  Good for Dodge City until the fever continued with the cattle and the quarantine was extended to Dodge. That happened in 1884.  A short, colorful, time.

Anyone know what “Splenic Fever” is called today?   – Anthrax.


We ‘got out of Dodge’ by 8am.  We are getting better.

The plains of Kansas were relatively green with recent spring rains.  The flat land improved the gas mileage.  I was happy and around mid day getting hungry.  Towns east of Wichita were getting kind of scarce.  I was getting hungrier.  Bev is looking for a restaurant on “Trip Advisor.”  I would be happy with a Sonic burger.

The next town was Fredonia and Bev found the name “Stockyard Restaurant.” Worked for me.  It didn’t sound like a fish place.  We pulled off the Hiway and drove the couple of miles into town.  The name did not come by accident.  Before long we were pulling up next to the other cattle trucks at the Fredonia Stock yard.  We found he restaurant and the reason for all the trucks.  It was auction day.  Every Tuesday there is a cattle sale here.  We ordered lunch.  The special was the prime rib sandwich.  I asked our young waitress if it was a pretty good size piece of meat.  She looked at me kinda funny and said.

“Well, it spills out of the hamburger bun.”  That was good enough for me.

While we waited for lunch we went next door to the cattle auction.  This was my first.  It was fascinating.  2o or so folks sitting in the bleachers while the auctioneer and his confederate moved the steers though.

Fredonia Livestock Auction

Not many RV parks in South Eastern Kansas so we pushed on to the “Big Barn RV Park” in Carthage, MO.  This would put us close enough to Branson for an easy drive tomorrow.

With Bev’s help our arrival is benign.  Car battery dead as a doornail.  I tried my new jumper and it started right up.  Problem partially solved.  Off to Walmart for a battery charger.  It looks like this will be a nightly event.  Relatively inexpensive solution to a chronic problem.

The internet is “down” so thank you to Verizon for a cell phone ‘hot spot.’

Tomorrow we are off to Branson.





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