Sunday, May 22, 2016

Miles and Miles of Kansas

Finally we had a decent day for touring.  We took the truck because we had about 12 miles of dirt road through the Smoky Hill River valley  to get to Monument Rocks.  This is Kansas' first National Natural Landmark and one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas.  Some of these rock formations, also known as the "chalk pyramids," are more than 50' tall.

They are made up of layers and layers of mud and tiny shells.

Signs of life

Note the tree line in the distance

Close-up of that tree line--a ranch in the trees along a creek.

That's the thing about Kansas.  You can be driving along for miles past nothing but wheat and grass and then up pops something like that line of trees,

a helpful road sign,

a chalk basin dropping away into the distance,

a mesa,

a feedlot that stretches on forever,

a huge oil refinery,

a stretch of fence topped with old boots,

or a museum.

 The gallery, "conveniently located in the middle of nowhere" bills itself as a Kansas fossil museum, art gallery and gift shop with US & international fossils.

Owners Chuck Bonner & Barbara Shelton live next door.  The gallery is one open room with museum exhibits and art gallery pieces intermixed.

Chickens and ducks

Museum restroom--two holes, no waiting.

And fossils they have.  Chuck and Barbara are fossil hunters.  They found all of their fossils within 30 miles of their place.

Chuck is the artist.  I like this castle--it looks 3-D.

Friends have some of their arts for sale also.  bathtub claw foot gator had fossil teeth.

Excellent carving

The end of our tour took us to the tiny village of Russell Springs.  Twice a year Russell Springs overflows with visitors for the Butterfield Trail Ride (over about 10 miles of the trail) and Old Settler's Day festival.

 Once a stop on the Butterfield Stage Line, it became the Logan County seat in 1887 with the erection of this splendid courthouse.  It is a 2-story, Renaissance-style building of stone and brick with a mansard roof, and is 60'long, 50'' wide and 45' tall.  Inside the doors is a foyer with smaller rooms on three sides and double staircases leading upstairs.  The center of the second floor was the courtroom with four offices on the perimeter. When the county seat moved to Oakley, the local historical society, with artifacts contributed by area residents, opened the museum one year after the courthouse closed. 

Among the hundreds of items, I found some unique things such as this mustache cup with an overhanging lip to keep your coffee off your 'stach.

Taxidermied bald eagle and red eagle.

Emboridery?  Yep, when it is exquisitely done by a 9-year-old.

Graduating class of 1--Also featured are the superintendent and a sponsor.  12 was the biggest graduating class.

Wedding dress--I was on my knees when I took this pic.  I'm 5'2";  the shoulder of this dress was about 6" below my shoulder.  

Who knew Kansas had diamonds?  The diamond was clear.  The dark spots in the stone are the setting showing through.

Who says armadillos are useless?
There actually was info about the Butterfield Trail in this museum but that info is available online.

I hope this was not too long, but we did cram a lot into our 100 mile round trip.

Moving day tomorrow,

Louise and Duane

1 comment:

Paul and Marsha Weaver OCT. 17, 2009 said...

Isn't it amazing how some of the natural wonders are just out there in no-where land. Beautiful.

You are right. That was a very helpful no

What a very strange museum.