Search for Mahatruck

The search for the Mahatruck     Nov 2017

This journey was a result of having the need for a compatible truck that was in better shape than the existing experiment truck a 1986 Ford Ranger,  For the experiment to proceed the quest for this holy grail or golden fleece took place on Craigs list.  The winner was in Loma Colorado some 600 miles away.  Requests for people to accompany me were a failure, so I decided to go by myself with a homemade tow bar and bring it back as any Ulysses would do.

November 5   A Sunday I leave with no fanfare early in the morning in Verde the amazing 1996 Ford Ranger now with over 250,000 miles and an engine with only 50,000 miles that I installed myself this summer.  This vehicle runs on gasoline and propane which I fill myself.

My course is plotted to avoid hills, particularly the Continental Divide.  From Hot Springs west to Casper Wyoming and then south across the great divide base which only reach’s some 7,000 feet in elevation.  Thru Craig, Meeker and then head west again from Rifle to Loma.   I have never been down some of these roads and the new country was enticing.

My first stop is the old town of Jireh Wyoming.  All thats left of this once prosperous town is the cornerstone from Jireh University that the town was founded around.  Like so many endeavors full of promise in the West this one did not survive the onslaught of economic, environment or political issues that confronted it.  I think Josh should have attended that University!!!

Making phenomenal time I passed up Independence Rock, Devils Gate and Meeker Massacre with the promise that I would stop in the return leg.  i had forgotten how beautiful Colorado was and how much I missed it.  Amazingly I drove the entire 600 miles and got to Grand Junction at dark.  This is a feat I did not think I was capable of in my old age!!

I celebrated with the all you can eat buffet Golden Corral.   Mostly ribs and mashed potatoes.  I of course overate.  I selected a budget hotel near the restaurant.  This hotel to me seemed more of a flophouse for the unfortunates from the surrounding states that come for the legal marijuana.  There was lots of coughing in the parking lot LOL.  What a shame these people have to go to a different state to do what they should be able to do in their own home.  I felt pride for the the people of Colorado and an economy that is booming as a result of their wise legislation.

November 6

Had to wait till the Bank opened to secure cash for the upcoming transaction, then on to Loma.   Don was waiting for me having visited on the phone several times and him holding the vehicle for me trusting that I would actually come.  Don is of the same ilk as myself, Old hippie vets with common law wife and Libertarian beliefs.  We got along instantly.  The truck was everything he had told me and we made the transaction.  Don and his wife have a house in Mexico where they spend the winters and Shery had already left, Selling the truck was the last thing for Don to do before he headed out.  He is a dirt farmer from Illinois and he proudly showed me his new tractor —John Deere of course.  Don was recovering from a growth on his petuitary gland.  The VA had basically dismissed it till he went to a private Doctor who verified its existence and recommended immediate surgery.  After removal it has been healing and he is slowly recovering.  We had to remove the bumper to get my tow hitch on.  It was a pleasant time, Don made coffee and we talked on so many subjects.  We became friends.  It was hard to part but the day was passing.  He wanted me to call him and tell him i made it home alright, and he really meant it.

I got used to pulling the Mahatruck, sometime it would fishtail me but followed nicely with a maximum speed of 50MPH, much slower on the hills.   I actually made good time even on the climb to Meeker.  it was hard leaving the 60 degree sunny weather along the Colorado River.  The higher i got the cooler and cloudier.   i stopped at Meeker the site of the Meeker Massacre.   Here in 1878? just a short time after the Battle of the Little Bighorn the Ute tribe had made treaty with the U.S. They loved their ’Shining Mountains” and Their reservation was huge in the Rockies.   The place for their Reservation interaction with the U.S. was on the banks of the beautiful White River where Meeker is now.   Long story short-and its a long one- The Utes killed Their agent Nathan Meeker and 10 male employees at the reservation,  They took his wife, daughter and some other women and over the next 23 days raped them repeatedly.  They attacked a relief force and killed 14 more soldiers and wounded many.  Finally turning themselves in.  For this violation of the Treaty the U.S. ended the treaty.  In the succeeding treaty a vast portion of the former reservation was taken away.

On to Craig a coal mining town and heart of the Elk hunting in Colorado.  There were many hunters out and the chances of getting a room remote so I headed to the next town of Braggs Wyoming.   By the time I pulled into town it was getting dark and snowing hard.  I got a room and bought a Hungry Man TV dinner at the store and cooked it the microwave.

7 Nov

I awoke to Fog and cold but the snow had not accumulated and the roads seemed dry so off I went.   It got progressively worse with ice on the road, making for a white knuckle drive slow and easy to the interstate and then to Rawlins for a well needed break and senior citizen breakfast at Denny’s!!!   The roads even on he interstate were not looking good and I waited to see what would happen.  Predictions of sunny weather to the north made my decision and I headed into the Great Divide Basin.  They were right and the sun came out and the roads made for wonderful driving.

This is a long lonely road till you get to the Sweetwater river and the route of the Oregon Trail.   I stopped at Devils Gap and the site of the infamous Cove where so many Mormon travelers perished of hunger and cold due to their getting a late start for their journey and an early winter.  This land is not forgiving in that aspect.   Next stop was independence Rock., the half way point on the Oregon/California trail.    Here the celebrated the 4th and wrote their names on the rock-today considered graffiti and against the law.   Somewhere on this rock I had found what I believed is the name of my ancestor Levi Luallin 1849 on his way to the Gold Rush.

Next was Casper  named for Lt Casper Collin’s killed by the Cheyenne and Sioux near the Platte Crossing.  His somewhat suicidal mission which no one else would take was to lead an assistance force to aid the wagon train they knew was coming.  They also knew the Natives were gathering in huge numbers nearby and in a bad mood after the Sand Creek massacre in Colorado.

Lt Casper’s mistake was when he heard one of his men calling for help as they fled the wave of warriors he went back.  He looked more like a porcupine from all the arrows that his body received.  Ft Collins Colorado is also named for this very honorable and selfless man.

At this point I felt sure i could make it home tho it would be close to darkness,  I do not drive in the dark due to not having lights on the tow vehicle, my night vision and most importantly the crazy amount of wildlife on the road at that time.  At Manville I made a poor decision to take the faster route home thru Lance Creek and not to Lusk.  By the time I got to Lance Creek it was dark and deer and antelope were everywhere.   this is why I always carry a tent and sleeping bag with me!!

Lance Creek is a small town,  There is a closed gas station,  A Post Office and what appears to be a bar/cafe.  I stopped at the Post Office and the door was open to the P.O box area.  It was lit and Heated!!!!!!!   I walked over to the Bar and the door was open but no one inside.  As I was looking at pictures a woman with her granddaughter came in.  We visited for awhile and I told her my situation,  I asked if maybe I could just sleep on the floor in the bar for the night.  She wanted her husband to make the decision so we continued to pleasantly visit about the town.  When her husband came in I introduced myself and told him my story and request.   His non reply and the awkward silence told me he was very uncomfortable.   I  relieved it by simply telling him I would sack out in the Post Office.   It was going to be bitter cold and I was glad for a warm place to crash, and very tired.   One Rancher came in to get his mail and I told him what I was doing.   There is absolutely no cell  phone or internet  in this town and I knew that Rajni would freeek out when she did not hear from me.    If another vehicle pulled up I determined to ask them to take my information and call Rajni on a land line to tell her I was alright.

A vehicle did pull up,  it was the Sheriff, or a deputy.  We visited and I told him what I was doing.  He responded that the Post Master had called and did not want anyone sleeping in the lobby.  I asked if I could talk to the Post Master and explain my situation but he said no.  I asked if he could somehow make contact with my wife and tell her I was alright.   He graciously said he could and radioed his dispatch with the information.  Randy (his name) reflected on my situation and said if I wanted he would follow me the 27 miles back to Lusk where i could get a hotel.   The caviat is he had other obligations of picking up the ballot boxes around the area since it was election night and would not be able to do it for awhile.  I said Okay.  After he left I waited and waited and then finally made the decision to sleep in my truck.  Later on in the night he did show up but still had other places to go.  I told him thanks, just go about your duties and I would just spend the night in the truck.  It was indeed a cold one.

I got up in the morning and worked on getting my 60 year old bones in motion.  70 more miles and I would be home!!   As i was getting ready to leave the Proprietor next door drove up in a truck and cattle trailer.  He opened the window and gave me a cup of hot coffee and an old hot dog.   He remarked, that i slept in my truck. I told him someone reported me, the the Sheriff demanded that I leave the Post Office. To which he replied it was not him.

I remarked that it was unfortunate that the atmosphere of fear has changed the way we deal with each other.   He agreed and then went into a long intense diatribe about the former administration and how he had not liked it.  That in Obama he saw it as the reason a lot of it.  I asked him if he was a bible reader and he said yes.   I referred him to the passage  “perfect love drives out fear”  He responded positively and asked how can we do that?  I told him i don’t know but that he is a good man and thanked him for the coffee and hot dog.

Home to the waiting Mahatma.  Always good to be home.

 

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South in 16

South in 16           https://sdasdona.wordpress.com

http://rajni1love.wordpress.com

Mar 17,18

17

Walked out of the camper in the morning to 4 large white tailed deer, the tackling of pheasant and the gobbling of Turkey.  The  American Prairie is indeed one of the richest habitats of all the earth.  It is the bread basket of the world, it is my favorite place.

We have been traveling on the California/Oregon/Pony express road for quite some time.  This historic route was guaranteed to be a safe passage by treaty with the Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapahoe by treaty, to Americans traveling on it.  Truth be known the Americans broke that treaty, but only because the tribes had violated their part on a massive scale.  This of course is never mentioned when the “native americans”  whine about losing their land.  The amount of people violated, killed and stolen from by the heathen is recorded to some extent but the total amount will never be known.

1864 INDIAN RAIDS

During the Civil War many regular troops were withdrawn from Plains military posts to fight in the east. The Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapaho, seizing this opportunity, attempted to drive white settlers from their land.

Beginning on August 7, 1864, the Indians made concerted attacks on stage stations and ranches along the Oregon Trail, hitting nearly every settlement for 400 miles from Julesburg to Big Sandy. Travel ceased for two months.

The most severe attacks were along the upper Little Blue River where about 100 people were killed. Several died at Oak Grove but others escaped and Pawnee Ranch was successfully defended. At “the Narrows” the Eubanks families were attacked and seven killed. Mrs. Eubanks, two children and Miss Laura Roper were taken prisoner and held captive for months. Teamsters were killed, wagon trains burned and ranches were smashed or burned. Settlers fled east to Beatrice and Marysville or northwest to Fort Kearny on the Platte for protection.

Troops and local militia companies attacked and drove back the Indians in the battle of the Little Blue on August 17, 1864. Major raids ceased but skirmishes continued through the fall.
Civil War Centennial Commission
Historical Land Mark Council
Nebr. 14, north of Nelson
Nuckolls County
Marker 28

We left the trail at Kearny and headed into the Sand Hills.  This is a remarkable feature of the Plains.  Vast expanse of stabilized sand dunes covered in grass, it is the sponge that soaks up the water for the Ogallala aquifer.  It is incredibly sparsely populated except for cattle.  We stopped at Butch’s Salvage yard near Sumner NE.  This place will make any red blooded man’s socks go up and down and mouth salivate!  Butch let me just look around and take the dog too.

Our final nite stop of this glorious adventure is the Heaven known as Arthur County with the only town being Arthur.  The trip from Arnold NE to Arthur is a must do thru the heart of the Sand Hills.  Arthur County has only 500 people and the town only 150.  Camping is free in the park and all dogs in town are off leash.  The kids will come up and visit with you and the internet is free if your close enough to the library.  In town is a cabin built by Buffalo Bill Cody and the North brothers who were calvary officers in the 5th Calvary.  They had all been together on the campaign to save the survivors of the Cheyenne raid into Lincoln County Kansas.  They caught up with Tall Bull and his tribe in eastern Colorado.  Susanna Alderdice who was pregnant had witnessed all her children killed and she and her nursing child were taken.  When the child kept crying they just whacked its head against a tree to kill it.  Along with her was Maria Wiechel whose husband had been killed.  They were both gang raped over and over.  Maria was German and could not speak english but Susanna left notes and things like her shoes to let the army know she was still alive.  When the Army closed in, Tall Bull crushed Susanna’s skull with a tomahawk and shot Maria.  Maria survived and gave birth to her half breed child later on.  Just another story of the depredations of the native americans on helpless people.

Mrs O made a terrific meal on this St Patricks day! She is the best ever.

18

We left Arthur after discovering I had not brought the cat box in the camper.  He chose to pee on my cloths!!  The stretch between Arthur and Hyannis is one of the most scenic of the Sand Hills.  This country is vast and because it is sand dunes there is no distinct drainages but plenty of lakes.  This is the Home of Mari Sandoz who wrote Cheyenne Autumn, the epic tale of the Northern Cheyenne escape from Oklahoma back to their favored northern plains.  Her story follows Dull Knife and his surrender to the U.S. Army after their rampages across Kansas.  It was one of the largest hunts in history.  The group that followed Dull knife ended up at Ft Robinson south of the Black Hills and it was not a very good ending.  Few know of the group that followed Little Wolf.  His group went into the Sand Hills and the Army could never find them.  To this day no one actually knows where they camped.  As their story goes a huge herd of Elk came into their camp and they were able to kill enough to provide food and shelter for the winter.  In the Spring they continued unmolested back to the northern plains.  Their descendants live to this day on the Northern Cheyenne reservation in Montana.

We stopped for lunch in Bingham.  There is  a little house for sale there and I called to get info. HMMM.  We cruised into Hot Springs and 70 plus degrees of sunshine.  Turning the water on there were a few leaks, it must have gotten so cold the residual water in the lines froze!  Its good to be home.

South in 16

South in 16 https://sdasdona.wordpress.com
http://rajni1love.wordpress.com

Mar 15,16


15
It was good reuniting with Dave and Jo my friends from Lincoln county Kansas. The tree in the yard next door to them is registered as the largest Bald Cyprus tree in the State. They were in the process of cutting it down and it was neat to see the large slabs of the trees being cut for table tops. I took a picture. Jo is a 4th grad teacher in the public schools and was interesting to hear her prospective on the various education issues.

It was on to Lawrence the place of my mothers family. The Jacksons homesteaded early on in the Manhattan Kansas flint hills area near LaClead. Rajni and I have been out there and camped. Some Cheyenne buck introduced his DNA into our family blood line nefariously. It could have been Kiowa or Pawnee who knows, they tried to forget. Don’t get me wrong, I hold no grudges, I don’t think I am special, and I certainly don’t expect apology or renumeration from the descendants of the perpetrator. What I really feel is we are all Americans now E Pluribus Unum, in many one. Time to move on.

My Grandfather,found work with the Railroad and went to Lawrence. There, he and is wife were provided a box car to live in. My mother was born in that box car and delivered by the indian woman next door. For the first 12 years of her life my mother and her two brothers and parents lived in a single bay of the box car with a curtain to make two rooms. She told me many stories of that time. The house they bought on the right side of the tracks on Ohio Street is still in the family and my Aunt Jean who turned 90 lives there. We pulled into the front yard to spend the night.

We took My aunt and my cousin out to dinner and stayed up talking till late.

16
Down the street a couple of blocks from Jean is a ravine that leads to the Kaw River. Here Hugh Cameron built an elaborate tree house that he lived in. He was born in 1826 and lost his job as a professor back east for being an abolitionist. He came to Kansas in 1854 and was a judge. He fought in the civil war and returned to Lawrence where he wrote a journal for the working man which failed. At the age of 55 he stopped cutting his hair and he would walk all the way to Washington every presidential Election to watch the inaugural Ceremony. He was exhumed many years after his death and reburied in Arlington Cemetery with honors.

We headed north and west traveling thru the Kick-a-Poo tribal lands and the fine city of Horton. With a sigh we left Kansas and headed for Kiowa Nebraska. Kiowa Nebraska is a ghost town established in 1873 with the Post Office closing in 1903. Even the County Road Supervisor could not tell me on the phone the exact location. We found a historical maker mentioning it just east of Deshler. Declare has free camping with hook ups in the City Park. We parked and while I was walking around I struck up a conversation with an old man in his pick up truck. Turns out he was born in Kiowa and told me the location near the little Blue River not far away. He said his family had homesteaded in the that area. The Kiowa were notorious long distance raiders and the town was named for a skirmish with Kiowa near the river. We decided to go there and camp. The townsite is completely gone now but there is a sign showing the location of the buildings. Nearby is the old cemetery and that is where we decided to camp on a breezy spring evening. After looking around, dinner and dark the sheriffs deputy showed up and asked what we were doing. Apparently the neighboring farmer had called. We told him and he left. This is the last of our quest for the cities of Kiowa. We head home on the morrow with joy in our hearts.South in 16           https://sdasdona.wordpress.com                                              

                              http://rajni1love.wordpress.com

Mar 15

15

It was good reuniting with Dave and Jo my friends from Lincoln county Kansas.  The tree in the yard next door to them is registered as the largest Bald Cyprus tree in the State.  They were in the process of cutting it down and it was neat to see the large slabs of the trees being cut for table tops.  I took a picture.  Jo is a 4th grad teacher in the public schools and was interesting to hear her prospective on the various education issues.

It was on to Lawrence the place of my mothers family.  The Jacksons homesteaded early on in the Manhattan Kansas flint hills area near LaClead.  Rajni and I have been out there and camped.  Some Cheyenne buck introduced his DNA into our family blood line nefariously.  It could have been Kiowa or Pawnee who knows, they tried to forget. Don’t get me wrong, I hold no grudges, I don’t think I am special, and I certainly   don’t expect apology or renumeration from the descendants of the perpetrator.  What I really feel is we are all Americans now E Pluribus Unum, in many one.  Time to move on.

My Grandfather,found work with the Railroad and went to Lawrence.  There, he and is wife were provided a box car to live in.  My mother was born in that box car and delivered by the indian woman next door.  For the first 12 years of her life my mother and her two  brothers and parents lived in a single bay of the box car with a curtain to make two rooms. She told me many stories of that time.  The house they bought on the right side of the tracks on Ohio Street is still in the family and my Aunt Jean who turned 90 lives there.  We pulled into the front yard to spend the night.

We took My aunt and my cousin  out to dinner and stayed up talking till late.

16

Down the street a couple of blocks from Jean is a ravine that leads to the Kaw River.  Here Hugh Cameron built an elaborate tree house that he lived in.  He was born in 1826 and lost his job as a professor back east for being an abolitionist.  He came to Kansas in 1854 and was a judge.  He fought in the civil war and returned to Lawrence where he wrote a journal for the working man which failed.  At the age of 55 he stopped cutting his hair and he would walk all the way to Washington every presidential Election to watch the inaugural Ceremony.  He was exhumed many years after his death and reburied in Arlington Cemetery with honors.

We headed north and west  traveling thru the Kick-a-Poo tribal lands and the fine city of Horton.  With a sigh we left Kansas and headed for Kiowa Nebraska.   Kiowa Nebraska is a ghost town established in 1873 with the Post Office closing in 1903.  Even the County Road Supervisor could not tell me on the phone the exact location.  We found a historical maker mentioning it just east of Deshler.   Declare has free camping with hook ups in the City Park.  We parked and while I was walking around I struck up a conversation with an old man in his pick up truck.  Turns out he was born in Kiowa and told me the location near the little Blue River not far away.  He said his family had homesteaded in the that area.  The Kiowa were notorious long distance raiders and the town was named for a skirmish with Kiowa near the river.  We decided to go there and camp.  The townsite is completely gone now but there is a sign showing the location of the buildings.  Nearby is the old cemetery and that is where we decided to camp on a breezy spring evening.  After looking around, dinner and dark the sheriffs deputy showed up and asked what we were doing.  Apparently the neighboring farmer had called.  We told him and he left.  This is the last of our quest for the cities of Kiowa.  We head home on the morrow with joy in our hearts.

South in 16 https://sdasdona.wordpress.com
http://rajni1love.wordpress.com

Mar 15
15
It was good reuniting with Dave and Jo my friends from Lincoln county Kansas. The tree in the yard next door to them is registered as the largest Bald Cyprus tree in the State. They were in the process of cutting it down and it was neat to see the large slabs of the trees being cut for table tops. I took a picture. Jo is a 4th grad teacher in the public schools and was interesting to hear her prospective on the various education issues.

It was on to Lawrence the place of my mothers family. The Jacksons homesteaded early on in the Manhattan Kansas flint hills area near LaClead. Rajni and I have been out there and camped. Some Cheyenne buck introduced his DNA into our family blood line nefariously. It could have been Kiowa or Pawnee who knows, they tried to forget. Don’t get me wrong, I hold no grudges, I don’t think I am special, and I certainly don’t expect apology or renumeration from the descendants of the perpetrator. What I really feel is we are all Americans now E Pluribus Unum, in many one. Time to move on.

My Grandfather,found work with the Railroad and went to Lawrence. There, he and is wife were provided a box car to live in. My mother was born in that box car and delivered by the indian woman next door. For the first 12 years of her life my mother and her two brothers and parents lived in a single bay of the box car with a curtain to make two rooms. She told me many stories of that time. The house they bought on the right side of the tracks on Ohio Street is still in the family and my Aunt Jean who turned 90 lives there. We pulled into the front yard to spend the night.

We took My aunt and my cousin out to dinner and stayed up talking till late.

16
Down the street a couple of blocks from Jean is a ravine that leads to the Kaw River. Here Hugh Cameron built an elaborate tree house that he lived in. He was born in 1826 and lost his job as a professor back east for being an abolitionist. He came to Kansas in 1854 and was a judge. He fought in the civil war and returned to Lawrence where he wrote a journal for the working man which failed. At the age of 55 he stopped cutting his hair and he would walk all the way to Washington every presidential Election to watch the inaugural Ceremony. He was exhumed many years after his death and reburied in Arlington Cemetery with honors.

We headed north and west traveling thru the Kick-a-Poo tribal lands and the fine city of Horton. With a sigh we left Kansas and headed for Kiowa Nebraska. Kiowa Nebraska is a ghost town established in 1873 with the Post Office closing in 1903. Even the County Road Supervisor could not tell me on the phone the exact location. We found a historical maker mentioning it just east of Deshler. Declare has free camping with hook ups in the City Park. We parked and while I was walking around I struck up a conversation with an old man in his pick up truck. Turns out he was born in Kiowa and told me the location near the little Blue River not far away. He said his family had homesteaded in the that area. The Kiowa were notorious long distance raiders and the town was named for a skirmish with Kiowa near the river. We decided to go there and camp. The townsite is completely gone now but there is a sign showing the location of the buildings. Nearby is the old cemetery and that is where we decided to camp on a breezy spring evening. After looking around, dinner and dark the sheriffs deputy showed up and asked what we were doing. Apparently the neighboring farmer had called. We told him and he left. This is the last of our quest for the cities of Kiowa. We head home on the morrow with joy in our hearts.

South in 16

South in 16           https://sdasdona.wordpress.com

http://rajni1love.wordpress.com

Mar 13,14

13

Yesterday we drove thru the Kaw and Kansa tribal lands.  The great State of Kansas is named for this tribe.  Last night we camped where the greatest assembly of plains tribes in history took place in Medicine Lodge Kansas.  This gathering in 1867 was an attempt to bring about a peaceful existence on the great plains.  The site was

The particular medicine lodge, mystery house or sacred tabernacle from which the Medicine Lodge River received its name was in reality an arbor-like shelter of tree trunks and leafy branches which was erected by the Kiowa people for the celebration of their annual sun dance in the summer of 1866. It was located in the valley of the Medicine Lodge River, several miles below the present town of Medicine Lodge, which is at the mouth of Elm Creek. In their own language, the Kiowa people called this stream A-ya-dalda P’a, meaning “Timber-hill River.” [8] The Kiowa had considered the site sacred due to the high content of Epsom salts in the river.[

The U.S. government concluded that all hostilities could be averted if such a peaceful settlement took place.  The treaty was signed by many headmen of the tribes but required consent from a percentage of all males.  It was never ratified by either the tribes or congress.  Using Plenary power “which is controversial” the U.S. proceeded to define and implement policy to assimilate and  reduce the tribes land holdings.  Subsequent lawsuits by the tribes have not reversed any of these actions but have granted large sums of money in compensation.  

There are many fascinating stories of this event and each year a pageant and peace Pow Wow is held to recall it.  I attended one year and it was a large event attended by many tribes and Americans.  

The clash of cultures on not just the plains but all across the continent are filled with injustice on both sides.  It is a torturous history and should never be forgotten.  Where we are now and what we hope to be in the future are what is important.  No one alive today had any part in the scenario that took place generations ago.  YOU CAN NEVER GO BACK, not in relationships, not in lifestyle, anything.  There is only forward.  And Forward we went!  Traveling east we enjoyed the town of Winfield.  Next was Dexter where Helium was discovered.  Just east of Dexter we decided to investigate a large blank area on the map going north.  This is amazing country and all on gravel roads.  Rajni saw two mating bald eagles, lots of deer and a fighting pair of mail pheasant.  We ended up on the Fall River damn campground and we were the only ones there.   The towns of Kansas are remarkably similar in that the main street is the center of town and all commerce is found there.  From the large to the smallest berg to drive down main street is to get a feel for the town.  And everyone waves at you like they have always known you.  Truly a momentous day for all involved.  

14 

We intend to make it to Ft Scott near the Missouri border.  My family history is short but quite interesting.  Any one with the name spelled Luallin is descended from a couple that came from Wales via Tennessee to Arkansas.  Here the husband died leaving the mother with a daughter and 7 sons. She moved her large family to LaClede County Missouri, the date 1849.  The oldest son Levi left for the Gold Fields in California to make a fortune and come back and take care of his mother.  We have two letters written from him an then nothing was heard from again.  Rajni and I went to the place of the last letter in the Goldfields of California and looked for his grave but never found it.  I believe I found his initials in Independence Rock in Wyoming on the Oregon trail.  When the civil started the 6 remaining sons were split in loyalty like the state of Missouri.  Four went to fight for the north and two for the south.  Only the two that fought for the south returned home.  My Great Great Grandfather, the youngest son was one of those.  He was captured and imprisoned as a POW.  When his mother heard of it she went to see him, but was refused.  Along the way back home she perished along the way and her grave was never found.  My GGGrandfather never forgave the north for that.  He and his brother settled in the Lebanon area.  I still have kin there.  The four brothers that fought for the union cause all were either KIA or died of wounds.  I at one point contacted the national Archives to find out about them.  They sent me some information which we don’t have with us, but some may be buried at the national cemetery at Ft Scott.  Perhaps they will have the information there.       

Cold in the AM.  We headed out, along the way I took a wrong turn and the Mahatma was disgruntled by the change in extra time and mileage.  I remind her that the serendipitous hand of fate has brought us to the sighting of the Bald Eagle pair and things of that nature.  Another lesson on the road to enlightenment.

Ft Scott is well preserved by the NPS.  It was free and it was amazing how much the mahatma did not know about Kansas.  To keep the country balanced in the Slave vs Free states Congress legislated that it was by popular vote by citizens when a new terrritory or State came into the Union wether it be slave or free.   Kansas was being settled and Abolitionists and slave holders flocked to the state to vote it one way or the other.  The contention became brutal with murders and threats such that The name Bleeding Kansas was coined.  The abolitionists were called Jayhawkers and the slavers bushwhackers.  On prominent abolitionist named John Brown took his sons and some followers and attempted to capture the U.S. Armory at Harpers Ferry VA.  His intend was to arm slaves in open rebellion against their masters.  The Officer sent to quell the bring justice was none other than Robert E Lee.  John Brown and his sons were hung but the event incited the Civil War.  There is a museum to John Brown but we did not have time to visit.  There were no record of my ancestors in the cemetery but they suggested Mound City.  

Next Stop the Mine Creek Battlefield.  This was the largest engagement of the civil war in Kansas.  It was also perhaps the last and maybe largest Calvary battle.  In 1864 a smaller force of some 2500 union routed a confederate force of 7000.  Primarily due to the superior weapons then issued to the Union Calvary that could be reloaded easily on horseback while the Rebs had old muzzleloaders.   The battle was hand to hand in many cases.  This is where at least one of the Luallin brothers and maybe two died and perhaps one wounded.  On the same battlefield the two youngest brothers probably faced them.  Many were taken prisoner among them my GGGrandfather.  I wondered if they knew their brothers were on the other side of the field, did they see them?  It is an American story.  We went to the set apart cemetery dedicated to the dead of the battle field at Mound City.  My relatives are buried in un named numbered graves there. 

Last stop of the day Ottawa to visit old friends from Lincoln county Kansas.  Dave and JoAnn I have not seen in years and it was a wonderful reunion.  We went out to eat and camped in front of their house.  Jo came to Ottawa to get her degree from Ottawa College.  The town and College named for the tribe that lived here.  The land for the College donated by the tribe and to this day if you can determine you are of Ottawa lineage you can get your degree free!  

South in 16

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http://rajni1love.wordpress.com

Mar 11,12

11

We said goodbye on a rainy morning to our dear friends Paul and Gail.  We stopped in Pahooska on our way to the Tall Grass Preserve.  This is a town of many firsts.  This area was Osage country and when oil was discovered fortunately, the tribe had retained mineral rights despite a great deal  of surface land being sold to non tribal members.  The Tribe became the richest group of people in the country.  Many americans tried to woe Osage women into marriage and have them put into the will.  Mysteriously many began to be killed or victims of accidents.  The FBI is some ways was formed for the purpose of investigating this.  The perpetrators were caught and in prisoned.  Another first is it is the birthplace of Boy Scouting!!  It seemed like a nice town that is on the upswing.  The museum was free and very well done.

Just to the north is the Tall Grass prairie preserve.  It is the Nature Conservancy that has purchased a large ranch and has put buffalo in the pasture.  We only saw one but being back on the prairie was enough for me.  This is where I feel at home, and it was a wonderful feeling.    Late in the afternoon we decided to camp for the night on the tall grass.  We pulled into a cemetery out on the prairie and made sure we could get the sunrise from our window.  The wind is blowing and it is very cold.

12

Woke up to a hoary frosty fog.  A wondrous beauty to be sure.  Today we should be in Kansas, the greatest state.  We are so close now I think I can see it in the distance.  Spending the night in a cemetery holds no issues for me.  It is a place where people come to remember and the SOM is primarily one of love.  It is a place that feels safe and peaceful.

In Blackwell Oklahoma we stopped at Dons Cafe for some lunch.  Where else can you get a t-bone steak, mashed potatoes, green beans and a salad with hot roll for $12.95 ?

When we left the cafe Mrs O noticed we had a flat tire on the truck.  Everyone tried to be helpful.  The owner even went to his house and got his portable compressor.  There is no shops open in Blackwell on Sunday but there was in Ponca City 16 miles SE.  I found the last plug I had in the tool box and plugged the hole on the truck and we set off.  The source of our salvation, none other than Walmart the evil corporate giant.  They patched the tire for $10 and we shopped for the chord I needed and more tire plugs.  I even got another DVD out of the bargain bin and a free cupcake!! Rajni on the other hand would not purchase the cashews we needed because they weren’t GMO free.  When we got ready to load up we discovered the dog had eaten all my donuts!!! With mixed emotions, and the delay we headed to Kiowa Kansas the second to last of our important mission to visit all the Kiowa towns in the USA.  At exactly 4:20 PM Central Standard time we crossed the line into Kansas and the city limits of Kiowa!!  What can it all mean??  We were overcome with joy and stopped to take photo’s.  This whole experience will be referred to as the Blackwell incident in history.

Kiowa is the setting for one of the Woman’s movements first triumphs  Prohibition!! When they got the right to vote they voted in Harding because he “looked like a president”  which is so very important.  Then they stopped the manufacture and consumption of alcohol by amending the Constitution???  This of course gave us the mob and filled the jails along with murder strife and just about everyone becoming a criminal.  Thank God they came to their senses and it was repealed.  I wonder what they are up to now.

There is free camping in the city park with electrical hook ups in Medicine Lodge up the road, as well as a grocery store for donuts and GMO free cashews.  We made before dark and settled into the comfort that only comes from being in Kansas.

 

South in 16

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http://rajni1love.wordpress.com

Mar 9,10

9

A wonderful day with the West family. Unseasonably warm according to Paul we went into Tulsa to the Grieson (sp) Museum of Native America.  This Oil tycoon devoted a lot of his money and life to collecting and assimilating art and artifacts of the natives of this continent.  Most fascinating to me was the art of  a Crow indian by the name of White Swan.  He was one of Custer’s Scouts and participated in the Little big Horn Battle with Major Reno.  He was shot two times and hit in the head with a tomahawk.  His drawings of the battle and account were fascinating.  He was given a pension for disability resulting from his wounds.  The other two amazing things were the actual life mask of Abraham Lincoln of his face and hands, and the the most accurate sculpture of George Washington.  Both of which I took a picture of.   We also visited the giant golden Oil driller statue honoring the roughnecks that pioneered the industry.  The last stop was the giant praying hands of Oral Roberts University.  All a must see in Oklahoma!!   I also learned from Paul, who worked for the Department of Energy that my conception of that government agency was all wrong. I actually thought it was about energy and discovery and promoting new forms.  The mission and purpose of the  DOE is to produce and retire our nuclear arsenal!!  We went out to eat and then spent the warm evening gazing at the huge thunderhead that was passing over with a lightning show that beats any fireworks.

10

I went for a run from Pauls house with Kiowa.  In Pauls neighborhood they don’t leash their dogs and amazingly there has been no altercations.  Kiowa is in heaven.  Its the leash principle that applies to dogs and humans.  Constraint and control of freedom produces naughty behavior.  We ran to the Arkansas River not far away.  I sat there by the river on a nice sandy beach knowing that some of the water flowing by me had come from clear back in the rocky mountains of Colorado in places i have frequented and camped many times.

We all went hiking on a local nature trail and along the river in Tulsa in the afternoon.  This reunion has been very fine and long overdue.  Catching up on each others lives and remembering our adventures in the Army has been rewarding.  Paul helped me fill out the questionnaire for Mayor.  Life is good.

South in 16

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http://rajni1love.wordpress.com

Mar 7,8

7

A banner day, we left Texas!!  We certainly had a good time and enjoyed the tremendous diversity from West to South to north.  However, I was always on alert to the police state and the incident with the no seat belts was unsettling.  We crossed the Red River and I took my seat belt off.

We made our way to Kiowa Oklahoma to visit and take a picture.  Oklahoma in this southern part is quite hilly and forested.  There is definitely a different flavor here in so many aspects.  The way the towns are, the highways.  This State is the home of several eastern tribes that were relocated long ago in the trail of tears.  We were primarily in the Choctaw section for most of the day and the Creek towards the end.  Without speaking with anyone yet it certainly appeared that assimilation was farther along here.  The towns and cities names reflect the this.  These tribes have benefited from the oil drilling and you won’t find any “water protectors”  They have their own pipelines rigs and rails and know their importance.   The DAPL protest was never about water anyway.  The State license plate has an indian and the words Native America on it.  On the other hand Oklahoma’s legislature still believes pot is a gateway drug and that there are only two political parties Republican and Democrat.  The plethora of churches and christian advertisement may have something to do with that??

We headed to Broken Arrow to visit Paul and Gail West but the old man got tired and it got dark so we pulled over in Boynton.  This town is almost gone, not a store left. The Bank is empty and most of the houses are falling down.  We pulled next to what appeared to be the old school gym.  I walked next door to talk to a man I saw out to make sure he was cool with us staying the night.  His name is Michael Goodow.  Not only did he say it was alright he invited us to camp on his land of which he owned the whole block. He offered us to use the water and plug into his electric.  He told me a good deal about his life and about the town.  He had grown up here but left.  He got involved dealing drugs in Phoenix for the Mexicans.  He did 20 years in prison, changed his life and returned.  His gracious  kindness to us is testament to a redeemed life.  He has chickens, goats, fruit and nut trees,  5 horses and 300 head of cattle.  He and his wife even invited us in for a meal but we had already eaten.  I wanted to get a picture of him in the light but he is leaving early of a morning to the sale barn.  If we did not have other plans I would have loved to accompany him.

8,

In the morning Kiowa and I went for a run around town.  Apparently , at one time there was a brick factory but I could not find it.  The large building next to where we camped is an old armory and the brick and stonework on it are splendid.  I also found the old train depot also a fine old building now almost covered in vines.  The old railroad grade i followed for awhile is also heavily overgrown.  A nice rails to trails project now all but impossible.

We made it to Broken Arrow.  The reunion with Paul after over 23 years was great. We have both so much to catch up on.  We were in each others weddings and our adventures while in the Army are legendary.  We will stay for a while and re acquainted.  That evening we attended the Church of Christ which Paul and Gail are members and I was a member for most of my life.  It was a nice time and the memories of my youth growing up in this sect were sweet.  The C of C only sings acapella without instruments and it is a sweet sound, at least most of the time.

Paul explained to us some of the history of Oklahoma.  This state was once a group of tribal areas made up of those that were sent on the trail of tears from the East.  When Statehood was desired it was required that the land be parceled out to individuals as private property opposed to held in trust with no private ownership like the Lakota in South Dakota.  Some of the tribes wisely kept the mineral rights of all their lands however and it has served them very well with royalties being dispersed among all the tribal members.  The surface rights being bought and sold both to other tribal members or non tribal members such that the State is no longer distance reservation any more.  Sadly,  many of the tribes were slave holders and after the civil war they were required to free their slaves but they put them on the tribal rolls.  Today with the pie getting smaller they are systematically voting off the descendants of the freed slave from the tribal rolls cutting them off of their share of the royalties.  In the end its all about money for every culture.