Found Traveller Treasure in Garden City.
I’m moving like molasses today. Another dreary rainy one,
Headed into Main Street, Garden City and had a fresh from the oven cranberry orange scone. Friendliest staff ever – they gave me the willies. What do they want?
Took a wet walk on Main Street. Smells like cowshit. Wet cowshit.
I visited the “Family Bookstore”, not what I was expecting . Gave me the Jesus, Mary and Joseph willies. Comatose in the corner I spotted Hank. Concerned, I put a mirror to the owners mouth. There was a slight misting on the glass, some life, but he was safe in good hands, safe with his beliefs. I didn’t buy anything and tiptoed out.
I found something to see, The Garden City Zoo, I’m the only idiot here today. I bet it’s great when you can see animals,. It’s a decent sized property, entry is free unless you decide to drive through.
I did eventually see two wet Buffalo and two wet cougars and a wet ocelot and a wet takin and two wet camels and ducks and a wild wet Asian horse,
Mad dogs and Irishmen….I’ve a hole in me right boot.
When I first talked of embarking on this trip I was asked by a couple of friends if I was going to see the Worlds Biggest Ball Of String. Do people really think me that ridiculous? Of course knot.
But here was the real reason for a drenched hour in the Zoo, The Finny County Historic Museum did not open until 1pm, I needed to kill time. I was going to see the Worlds Biggest Hairball.
The mega 50 pound plus hairball plucked from the stomach of a cow, is perched on a classy brass spittoon .
I stroked it, it feels like velvet . There was hand sanitizer right by so I felt encouraged to give it a quick rub. I couldn’t help myself, I gave it anoter gentle backhander. Silky.
Synthia Preston very generously gave me a tour of the surprisingly interesting museum. She told me the story of the notorious Fleagle gang, the first criminals ever convicted with fingerprinting after a number of bank robberies and murders, back in the 1920s. The windscreen the offending print was found on is on display, including print. The Fleagles saga is such a great story I’m surprised it has not been told more broadly.
Synthia has worked for the historical society for many years. She will be playing Annie Fleagle, the matriarch, at a graveyard re-enactment performed every year around Halloween.
The exhibit also has the story of the Clutter family and their murders, including the bloody boot used in conviction. Perry Hickok and Perry Smith were convicted of the killings in 1960 and were the last people hung in the State.
One of the surviving Clutter daughters visited the museum last year and gave her blessing. She was away at college when her family was massacred.
Recently a member of Synthias family , while taking one last look through a trunk , they were about to garbage, found an original photograph of Wyatt Earp, Brad Masterson and the whole crew I’m reading about. Synthia took my address to mail me a copy and also gave me a free copy of the $24 book on the Fleagle crime spree.
She was possibly the nicest person I’ve met on this trip and I now take back everything negative I had to say about Kansas. I’m a cynical asshole.
Drove the hour to Dodge City , practically getting washed off the road by the passing trucks on the other side of the road. Nothing to see along the road besides gigantic silos and acres of cattle. Everywhere smells of cowshit.
Arrived in Dodge and pulled in to Boot Hill, the original Dodge City graveyard, so named because the first murder victim dumped there was buried with his boots on.
The museum covers the history of the region and the decline of the Buffalo. Dodge was considered the wildest of the Wild West towns, a real center to American history and legend.
They had a dedicated Gunsmoke exhibit with memorabilia and an old TV on loop. One for dear old Mum, but I preferred Arness as The Thing ( though the Carpenter remake is better, with Kurt Russell, who also played Wyatt Earp in Tomstone – excellent thread).
Among other things, the western town includes histories and photos of the lawmen, villains and vagabonds of the late 1800s; gun and handcuff/manacle collections; Branding irons; saddles and stirrups; original artifacts from the businesses of the time; and original guns owned by some of the historic characters. They still have the original jail from 1865.
And a church and I wasnt struck by lightening.
It’s the best of the Westen museums I’ve visited, by a long shot.
Dennis, the manager of the establishment, recommended I see Fort Dodge and Greensburg and Witchita on the way to Oklahoma City. Dennis, is a 45 year resident of Dodge, originally out of Western Kansas. His Mom, now 100, remembers the days when Dodge still had horses on the streets. Dennis wrote me up a big list of places to see. Couldn’t have been nicer.
Popped in to Red Beard and young Abe made an excellent cappuccino. Abe works as a gunslinger at Boot Hill during tourist season , he once shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.
Checked in to another Best Western, which is kinda reminding me of the hotel that Chigurh has the shoot out in No Country for Old Men, so great. They have ear plugs laid out on the desk in the room which I suppose should be disconcerting.
Drove to Central Station Bar and Grill for a steak, it stays open Kansas late. It was hopping for Monday Night Football (in Spanish ). The filet mignon was mediocre.
It really does smell of cowshit around here.