June 16, 2018
Off the road just around 2pm.... distance-wise we might've been able to travel westward another hour or two but the cross-wind was making driving a struggle and very tiring. We left our camp outside of Topeka early, driving into Topeka to check out the State capital building. The building was readily found this time, not like in Littlerock, Arkansas.
Shortly west on the interstate, one of those brown signs, you know that ones I've talked about in the past, lured us off the interstate onto Scenic Byway - Native Stone Scenic Byway. Well, it was prettier than the interstate but we could not figure out why the name, Native Stone. After about a 40 mile drive we turned off to read an historical marker that explained it. When the law came in abolishing open ranges, the government offered to pay 40 cents per rod (16 1/2 feet) of stone fence built and maintained. There had been little evidence of these stone fences during our drive until this stop.
Back on the interstate, we moved westward and the wind picked up. A billboard declared Abilene the best small town to visit per the Smithsonian Magazine. Off the interstate we ventured on Buckeye where we pulled to the side of the road shortly for the passing of a funeral procession. A police vehicle led the procession which was followed directly by a horse-drawn carriage with clear windows showing the casket inside, draped in the American flag with flowers on top (never seen such a sight). A lengthy procession of vehicles followed.
A stop at the Visitor's Center offered suggestions of what to see in Abilene and a brief history lesson. Aside from being the place Dwight David Eisenhower considered home, having been raised there from before his second birthday, and the home of the Presidential library and museum, Abilene was the end of the Chisholm Trail. Cattle barons would buy the cattle down in southern Texas for $3 a head then they would have large cattle drives brought up to Abilene where the cattle would be sold for $30 a head and put on a train to move them east. This brought wealth to the area so it isn't any wonder that we saw a number of beautiful mansions and mansion-like homes.
More interstate driving until the wind grew too tiring. We settle on a park in Russell, Kansas. The wind is still blowing strong and with memories of the Wizard of Oz (Dorothy lived in Kansas) I feel a little stress and do hope the wind calms down just a little bit.