Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Thanksgiving adventure in Southeast Kansas

This year, after spending Thanksgiving with my family, we decided to go camping (possibly for the last time during 2009) at Elk City Lake, near Independence, KS and sightseeing in and around Coffeyville, KS (just north of the Oklahoma state border).

Map picture

Thankfully, the weather cooperated and was sunny and unusually warm until a cold front roared in Saturday night.  Click on any photo below to go to the rest of my photos of a particular area.

First, toured the actual Army fort located at Fort Scott, KS.  It’s a beautifully preserved historic park with much more “history” than I’d ever heard about.

Then we looked at the birthday place of Harry S. Truman in Lamar, MO before heading west into Kansas. It was a well-kept house and yard and currently decorated for Christmas.  Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to go through the house because we wanted to make sure we had enough time to make it to our ultimate campground by evening.

Next, we stopped to see Big Brutus,in West Mineral, KS, which was at one time the largest digger in the world.  It sure is THE BIGGEST piece of equipment I’ve ever seen up close.

We finally arrived at Elk City State Park a few hours before sunset and set up camp near camping friends Larry (Mountainborn) and Betty.  They were camped there while workkamping at the huge Amazon.com distribution center in nearby Coffeyville, KS, We all spent a great evening talking around a roaring camp fire.

The next day, we drove to Coffeyville, KS to tour the Brown Mansion and the Dalton Gang Museum.  The Mansion was gorgeous, even without being decorated for Christmas like it was for our visit.  I understand how no one lives in that size house without having servants to keep it CLEAN!  Wore me out just looking at it.

Driving home Sunday, north into a very strong head wind, we stopped by John Brown’s Cabin & Museum in Osawatomie, KS.  Years ago on our way from VA to Gettysburg, we drove across Harper’s Ferry, MD where John Brown was captured and eventually hung.  Seeing this cabin where he spent time sort of connected the dots for us.

We barely made it home barely before winter roared into town with frigid temps and several inches of snow. We’re still hoping to make one more camping trip before 2010 arrives, but it all depends on the weather.

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