I’ve been waiting patiently….

I had written up a little (?) post about our road trip here to Colorado Springs, but was waiting until I could upload my quazillion pictures to finish up the post. Two weeks later and it doesn’t look like I’ll be able to access my photo posting website :-(. But I have been able to get a sampling of the pictures up-loaded, so I’m going ahead with that old post. Since I wrote it just after we arrived here it’s a little dated, but I’m sure you’ll get the drift! Here goes –
Back to the beginning…OK – so it’s not actually the beginning, beginning, but let’s just say the beginning of the week! (now it’s actually back to the end of last month!)
No one can ever say there was nothing to do in Branson. From outlet shopping, golfing, amusement parks, putt-putt courses, beautiful lakes and a wide variety of shows, if you have the money, you can sure keep yourself busy! We chose the, ahem, thrifty route – staying at the Radisson compliments of a local resort who tried valiantly to sell us a time-share type program. We stayed strong and resisted the temptation. We joined friends who blessed us with comp tickets for a fun show (Baldnobbers). We enjoyed the natural beauty of the lake and even toured the local fish hatchery where they raise the thousands of trout that keep the fishermen at the surrounding lakes happy. We stayed away from the stores with the exception of BassPro – where Gary used the gift cards that came with our resort promo and bought himself a fly fishing pole. It was his long over-due birthday present :-). Now we just have to make sure he uses it!

Wilson’s Creek National Battleground
Before we even settled in at Branson, though, we drove a little farther north to Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield. I confess that three Civil War battlefields is about my limit. But it does help to understand the history of the area, so here’s a quick history lesson. Wilson’s Creek Battle was fought on August 10, 1861 and was the FIRST major battle of the Civil War in Missouri (and was actually the third major battle of the entire war) which was having a hard time deciding what side it wanted to be on. The battle was brief (5 hours) and deadly (almost 25% of the Union Soldiers were killed or wounded, 12% of the Confederates). While the Confederates counted it as a victory, it left them battered and weary, and they later suffered a significant defeat at Pea Ridge just over the border in Arkansas (remember Pea Ridge? That was the largest and most decisive battle of the Western Civil War). And then the last major Western Civil War battle was fought in Prairie Grove (yep, we did that one too!). All of these battles were over and done with by December of 1862. After the Battle at Prairie Grove the war turned guerilla in nature. And that is the Stephanie’s Short Version of the Civil War west of the Mississippi!

After we did Wilson’s Creek, we had a fun dinner at Lambert’s Café – home of the Throwed Roll. A good meal, and lots of fun to boot. The flat tire we had after Wilson’s Creek was not so fun, but these things are all a part of life – right?

Westward HO!
We picked up the house at the dealer in Springdale (where she was greased and lubed and had had her brakes checked. We’re headed towards the Rockies, don’t forget!), and pointed her WEST! Whoohooo! We made it as far as Enid, Oklahoma – west of Tulsa. I was going a little crazy with my camera what with every inch of road being new and all – and I’ve compiled them into a whole set of On The Road to Colorado pictures. (um, that will have to wait) Here are just a couple-
We were incredibly excited to see our very first Mesa. It was almost like a gateway to the West for us and fortunately had a nice pull off so we could do a little exploring.

We made a couple of other tourist stops along the way – The Plains Indian and Pioneers Museum in Woodward, OK. , Fort Supply Historic Site which is actually located on the same grounds as the local penitentiary, state mental hospital and work training center! (Talk about multi-use zoning!), and the Pioneer-Krier Museum in Ashland, Kansas. (Krier was a local “hero” who was a professional stunt/acrobatic pilot. There is an entire building dedicated to his “stuff”. The Pioneer part was a little bit of everything. It was almost like they sent a memo out to the entire town to donate anything old that they had! It was very eclectic – and fun!)
We passed a field of majestic windmills and our first Feed Yard. Quite a contrast!

The road went on and on…

And it finally led us (Wednesday night) to
Dodge City

City of Boot Hill, Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, Long Horn Cattle, and wildest of the frontier towns.

We took the Trolley Tour which was very informative, toured the museum and Boot Hill (right in the middle of town), and checked out some of the other local points of interest – Feed Yards (and more Feed Yards), the oldest house in town, the Daylight Donut Shop for breakfast, and the No.1 Steakhouse for dinner! (Hey, we are in Kansas – didn’t we HAVE to have steak for dinner?)

Friday we continued along the Santa Fe Trail route on our way to Colorado Springs. There is a spot not to far outside of Dodge City where you can still see the wagon wheel ruts from those pioneer/trade wagons. When I stood there, looking out onto the prairie, I couldn’t imagine how a pioneer wife would have felt with that huge expanse before her.

I was glad our own Conestoga Wagon has nice paved roads to drive on and a toilet we can use even if we’re driving down the road!

We made a stop at the Kit Carson Museum in Las Animos, KS, which was very full of local artifacts. There wasn’t actually that much that had to do with Kit Carson, but apparently most everyone in town had something that was old and interesting!
Our final stop was at Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site Located near La Juncta, CO.

A very interesting (and well done) reproduction of an important trading/stopping place along the Santa Fe Trail.

WE MADE IT! We are tucked safely in our little spot at Glen Eyrie, which is a part of http://www.navigators.org/us/.

So that brings you up-to-date to two weeks ago! 🙂
I’d post more, but Gary’s chomping at the bit to get to the Tackle Shop (remember that new fishing pole?). There is a fly fishing retreat here this weekend, and he’s going to be able take advantage of some of the fishing instructions. How cool is that???

Gotta go!

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