OKLAHOMA!

We haven’t been in this state since 2019! Looking forward to spending 9 days here. On a side note, I love musicals with a good story. West Side Story, Anna and The King and Oklahoma come to mind. Warren tolerates my requests to stream them and even finds himself enjoying them. So tonight, OKLAHOMA is my choice of course! My senior friends and family will remember the many great songs.

https://youtu.be/kGXu0j6QDJ8

Cemetery Geocache

We set out from our VERY isolated campground in Kansas to locate a Geocache at a country cemetery. It was a couple miles down the road on a very steamy afternoon so we took our scooters. Time for some fun and time for some reflecting on how fleeting life can be.

I had spotted the location but he wanted to try. 😁
We find them inside posts occasionally
Nice little cache 🧡
The scooters saved us from a long hot hike
ZOOM ZOOM
Many old broken headstones
A lonely spot
Heavenly directions

Paper Moon 1973

The comedy Paper Moon was filmed in a couple of the small towns we visited last week. We were able to locate two film locations in Wilson, Kansas. We had never viewed the movie so we streamed it last night. Delightful comedy.

Interior hotel scenes were filmed here
Black & White filming set the right “tone”
Wonderful period piece
This grain elevator next to the tracks was used too. My photo was taken from a vantage on the tracks. The station and car would have been on the left.
As it appeared in the movie.

Time to Move On

Coffee and PJs on a chilly morning
Red Whiskered Clammyweed at our outdoor room.

Time to move on to the border of Kansas and Oklahoma for a few days on our way to see dear family in Texas. We sure have enjoyed the peaceful blue lake with a variety of boats passing by.  Our perch above the water made a perfect viewpoint in the cool of the morning and evening. Daytime temperatures got up in the highest 90s so we relished the sanctuary of our RV much of the day. Our couple tourist trips required hats, sunscreen and plenty of water. A pretty severe drought has the land parched. Bless those early settlers and native people of this land! At least we haven’t dealt with  blizzards, grasshopper plagues, floods or tornados.

BOWL Plaza

This was just plain quirky fun! The coolest public restroom ever is located in Lucus, Kansas. I pictured only a tiny sample of the mosaics in the place. This artsy little town was full of surprises!

Toilet whirlpool in foreground
Where has she taken me now?
Studying the art in the whirlpool
2018
Lobby Bottle Art
Exit
Award 2014
Ladies Room
Mirror selfie
Cherub
Tea Cup
Aqua Blue Owl
Photographer
Gentleman’s Room
Guy stuff?
Dragons
Match Box Cars
Robot Toys
No Sniveling!

https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/bowl-plaza

https://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/33788

Grassroots Art Gallery

Another weirdly wonderful place in Lucus, Kansas. This self- taught and ingenious Midwestern artist’s exhibit was strangely interesting. Made us smile! A couple samples of what we saw. Pull Tabs and Maps.

Worlds Largest Souvenir Plate
Good one!
Pull Tab Car
Motorcycle fascinated
Thousands and thousands of tabs
Cool
Paper art dresses made from book pages, maps, wallpaper etc
Kansas map 18th century gown
Sleeve ruffle detail
Topeka
His motto 🤣

Garden of Eden

One man’s expression of his political and religious beliefs. S.P. Dinsmoor started building The Garden of Eden in 1907 at the age of 64. For 22 years, he fashioned 113 tons of cement and many tons of limestone into his home and garden. He opened his home to guests, conducting tours of his home and garden until his death in 1932. It was placed on The National Register of Historic Places and has more than 10,000 visitors annually. Per his wishes, he is encased in a glass topped coffin in the mausoleum with a desire that his remains be viewed by the public. NO, we chose not to enter the crypt of the retired school teacher, Civil War Veteran, farmer, Populist politician and sculpture. See the links below for more in depth information on this quirky site in Lucus , Kansas.

Entrance and start of tour
Adam and Eve
Oh Dear😂
Some very pretty spots in the garden
Checking out a humorous self portrait
S. P. Dinsmoor
Trying to read the messages
Nice
Native People
Angel above slain Cain
S. P. Dinsmoor final resting place
Her name was Francis A Journey, by the way
🍓
Tiered strawberry garden
Laundry house

https://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/2103

http://www.gardenofedenlucas.org/self-guided-tour

http://www.gardenofedenlucas.org/

Worlds Largest Czech Egg ❤️🖤🤍💛

I drove down to Wilson, Kansas which has a strong Czech heritage. A quaint little place where I enjoyed an egg hunt all over town! It took 50 volunteers, 2,000 hours to paint the huge design on that giant egg.

City park
❤️
🖤
💛
.
.
.
.
.

http://www.kansastravel.org/wilsonkansas.htm

https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/worlds-largest-czech-egg

Stone Fence Posts

We couldn’t help but notice all the stone fence posts along the byways in this part of Kansas. Miles of them! Trees were scarce in pioneer days but Greenhorn Limestone was plentiful. I have included several links and even instructions if you want to try your hand at making these. 😉

Along every byway in this area
Miles and miles of post rock fences
At the boat ramp in our campground
Used for all sorts of construction in the past. I pulled over somewhere out in the prairie when I spotted this old building and windmill.
This way?

https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/old-tobias-water-tower-and-jail

Old water tower and jail in Wilson KS. Another use for the limestone
I peeked thru 😳
Was a little startled!
Hotel used in the movie Paper Moon was also in Wilson
Modern usage
“Feathers” placed in drilled holes
Marks left by process used to split open the stones

https://geokansas.ku.edu/post-rock-country

https://www.kshs.org/kansapedia/post-rock-cutting-kansas-folk-art/16558

https://www2.ljworld.com/news/2010/may/24/limestone-fence-posts-are-sculptors-medium/

Post Primer:

• Greenhorn limestone formed tens of millions of years ago as the skeletal remains of coral and other organisms settled to the floor of interior seas then covering Kansas. Look for fossils and petrified wood on the surface of post-rock.

• Each post weighs between 250 and 450 pounds and is 8 to 12 inches thick and 5 to 6 feet long.

• Settlers hauled cut posts with teams of horses pulling a sled or wagon.

• Post holes were a minimum of 18 inches deep and set 15 to 30 feet apart.

• A 160-acre farm required some 360 posts and 40,000 feet of wire.

AND HOW-TO:

With slight variations, the “plug and feather” technique used
to create stone fence posts is one stonemasons have employed since the days of ancient Egypt. The method, described below,
is also known as “plugs and wedges,” “feather and wedges,” 
“wedges and shims,” “pins and feathers” and “feather and tare.”

1. Drill a row of holes into the rock some 6 to 8 inches apart.

2. Drop into each hole two half-round metal shims (aka
“feathers”), each bent at the top to keep them from slipping
into the hole.

3. Drop a wedge (aka “plug”) between each pair of shims.

4 Pound the wedges in succession with a hammer until they
emit the same telltale tone.

5. The next hammer strike should split the stone along the row.

6. Repeat until you’ve crafted a four-sided post.

Red Rocks and Sunset

We may never leave this spot
💙
Red Rock formations around the lake
Red Rock and Sunset
Glorious
Too lovely for words 🧡

We took a evening stroll around the campground at sunset. Down to the swim beach and boat dock. I’m so glad we chose the west view of the lake for our camp site. Lake view all day and sunset each night.

https://www.onlyinyourstate.com/kansas/ks-rock-formations-wilsonlake/

Cliff Dwellers

We arrived at a new park in Kansas on Wilson Lake. We are delighted with our site! Sometimes it’s hard to tell what you will get even with online pictures and descriptions. Shade is at a premium in this part of the state so our little green trees are perfect. We have a nice breeze, gorgeous landscape above the blue lake and wonderful cliffs dropping off just behind our RV. We will have a wonderful view for sunsets these next 6 nights and a big sky with no light pollution for star gazing. Lots to see in the small nearby towns too. What’s not to love?

Need those clouds for spectacular sunsets
Lovely shade 💚
View from our back yard
Oxtongue growing in the rock crevasse
Red Whisker Clammyweed 😂 In the Caper Family
From further up the hill
Red rock formations add a different color
Sunny is sitting pretty above the lake

Reading List 📖

I usually keep 2 books going at once. I download an Audible book for my daily walks. I seem to walk farther with something to listen to (if the scenery doesn’t keep me entranced.) Then I have a library of Kindle ebooks to read when seated . Often I have a 3rd hard copy that I couldn’t resist at a visitor center. History, diaries and memoirs are my favorites. I love trying to understand how people think and why they do the things they do in life.

This week I’m reading a wonderful memoir by former Nasa Engineer Homer Hickam. This is the 3rd in a trilogy about growing up in a WV mining town. The writing is very engaging. He has written numerous fiction and non fiction. All that I have read are very good.

Highly recommended 🧡

The book I have on Audible this week is a 2nd in a series by William R. Forstchen. One Year After is a post apocalypse tale of what could be after EMP / Nuclear war. Set in Black Mountain, NC. The writing is done in such a way that the characters seem very real. A gripping cautionary tale for sure and one that I pray to God never becomes real.

Chilling 💔

And this, I picked up at the Nicodemus Visitor center. I have already scanned it and can’t wait to start reading.

So good!

WPA in Hill City, Kansas

I drove over to this small town for gas and spied unusually green stone buildings and a city park. All I can find out is that they were constructed in 1937 by The Work Progress Administration. The stone is green quartzite quarried locally. So lovely and different. Link included to a short video about WPA.

https://youtu.be/wlQmOOBfYWo

City Hall
Creek bridge
Fireplace, tables and benches in a beautiful design
Grandstand and audience seating
Another view of grandstand in this lovely park
Pavilion and restrooms
Chimney of pavilion
Interior shady and green

Ernestine’s BBQ

After touring Nicodemus, I saw an open sign at Ernestines! I bought a jar of BBQ sauce for our Veggie Chik Nuggets, some potato salad and baked beans to take home for lunch. “Ernestine is a descendent of the Williams family, one of the first to settle in 1877. The family had a long culinary history that Ernestine used and created a bbq restaurant. 5 years before she passed, she and her niece, Angela Bates, collaborated and re-opened the bbq restaurant, and developed her sauce to that it could be sold everywhere. The sweet, smoky and a bit spicy flavor is what people say is the best bbq sauce they’ve ever had”. A link to another blog about BBQ related visit to Nicodemus and a link to Ernestine’s mail order site ( if you aren’t in Kansas)

Ernestine is gone but her BBQ place and sauce live on!
Located a block over from Nicodemus National Historic Site

https://adrianemiller.com/bbq-research-historic-nicodemus-kansas-edition/

https://www.nicodemushistoricalsociety.org/nicodemus-kansas-historical-society-products-for-sell/q3riluowhfdwwd3tqv9zzymut7rr51

Nicodemus

This historic site was the first African American town on the frontier after The American Civil War. 300 settlers arrived in 1877 to the newly platted town of Nicodemus. Life was hard on the prairie but these folk were tough and their faith kept them strong. Imagine arriving from the lush green of Kentucky and other more eastern states to find the only building materials for homes was sod.  They persevered and built a community that thrived for many years. When the railroad passed them by, a slow decline began. The National Park Service and the few residents of present day Nicodemus are working together to preserve the five remaining structures from the early years. I had a wonderful conversation with Ranger LueCreasea Horne at the visitor center located in the town hall. We spoke of the her family history in Nicodemus, our RV travels and how alike we all are, black and white and every other color in the spectrum. She envisions one day that these buildings can all be restored to their original stone facades. She is the great-granddaughter of one of the original citizens and is duly proud of her heritage. Descendents arrive each year in July to celebrate their ancestors. This town swells from 20 to over 200 for the 3 day event. I got all my steps in today walking the small town streets to locate the buildings. Links below to a very good video and information on the historic site.

LueCreasea’s great great grandfather is the young man farthest left in the photo near her shoulder
LueCreasea’s great grandfather on left
Beautifully restored town hall
A place to gather now and in the past
Storyboard telling about this home, hotel and post office
The building is in great need of restoration
Beautiful stonework being uncovered as work begins
1940s in front of the Old First Baptist Church
First Baptist Church built 1907
An old water pump I spotted in a vacant lot
AME Church 1885
Reverend Wilson 1950s
Stonework covered in plaster
Red carpet out for visitors
Silhouettes near church
Promised Land was exaggerated quite a bit
Early days
Bless her 💔
Free to farm and earn his own way

https://youtu.be/8xHHMNRm8Sw

https://www.nps.gov/nico/index.htm

Kansas!

I always pick up free state travel magazines at welcome centers or park visitor centers. Now I have a few places to visit that weren’t even on my excellent radar.

We are camped at Webster State Park in the middle of the Kansas Plains on a beautiful reservoir
Just a few miles down the road from us!
This will be neat to see!