Day 5

31 May

Maybe I can get back on schedule. Today is mainly a drive across the high plains to Denver. We did make one early stop for the Methodist Book Club. We stopped at Valley View Cemetery in Garden City, Kansas and placed a flower on the graves of the Clutter family.

From Garden City we drove over higher and higher (the GPS has an altimeter) and plainer and plainer plains. The roads are great. A two lane highway is as fast as an Interstate. Slower cars and trucks pull over onto wide shoulders and let those of us going faster pass. There is really very little traffic out there. We saw jack rabbits and antelope; the eerie windmills of yesterday are popping up more frequently.

The towns are mostly small and far apart, but they all deserve a look. Hugo, Colorado is a case in point. There was a town banner than had the name, Hugo, and the head of a pirate. I don’t know. On the outskirts off town, suburban Hugo, was a bold sign that proclaimed, “Selling cold beer for thirty years.” The store was Hugo Liquors and the cold beer sign was just in front of a school crossing sign.

Before we entered downtown another sign read, “Point of Interest Ahead.” In downtown Hugo another sign read “Point of Interest” with an arrow pointing to the blank wall of a closed business. I don’t know.

In contrast, Kit Carson, Colorado, has a nice town museum with several rooms full of stuff, some of it advertising Kit Carson (the town) as far back as the late 1800’s. There is a small house with four glassed in rooms with Victorian era furniture. Across the street are all sorts of antique farm machines and an observation tower made from rusted pieces of metal.

Overseeing this memorabilia is Ruby Gibbs, museum volunteer and High Plains rancher. She told us that Kit Carson had lived briefly in the area and had been involved in various Indian negotiations in the early 19th century. Book Club members may recall Carson as a character in Death Comes for the Archbishop. I hope Mrs. Gibbs sees this entry; I told her I would write the museum up.

We made Denver around 1:30. Crowds and traffic bad but not like Atlanta. We checked into the motel and then went to Dinosaur Ridge. We walked up the trail for about a mile and saw dinosaur footprint fossils, the fossilized remains of a mangrove swamp in the side of a mountain, along with numerous other fossil beds in Dakota Sandstone. It was a nice walk with fossils I’ve never seen. We also saw some Western wildflowers and a couple of odd birds. I hope the other members of the Greater Calhoun Marching Society are doing their walks.

We’ll cross the Rockies tomorrow.

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