WHAT! PRAIRIE DOGS AREN'T EVEN DOGS?



MONDAY

TRAVEL DAY
STOP #201



Today we traveled 119 miles north/northeast and arrived at our second Kansas State Park camping location. This time we are at Prairie Dog State Park in Norton, KS.

After getting setup on our new site the neighbor came out of his motorhome to say hello. I noticed he and his wife had a pretty elaborate setup all around their campsite. They have a short fenced in area to keep their small dog corralled, a handfull of bird feeders, some metal yard art and a satellite dish for TV.

Also on their site was a small SUV and a 17 foot motor boat. Quite a bit of stuff for a 14 night maximum visit. I mentioned that to him and he told me they were renting their space by the month, for the entire camping season, April through October. I didn't know that was even an option! By purchasing an annual camping permit there are a limited number of sites in each Kansas State Park that are reserved for long term visitors.

When we slow down on our journey I'll have to check into that, it is at a very affordable rate.

Our campsite at Prairie Dog State Park

Thanks to our neighbor spreading bird seed all over the back of his campsite each day, we have pretty much a non-stop view of wild turkey out our rear window.



TUESDAY - One thing we've learned is if the weather is nice, get outside and get the sightseeing done while you can.

Keep in mind, we've never seen a real prairie dog, but today was the perfect day to go in search of them! It was sunny, with no winds and mild 65 degree temperatures.

All of the prairie dogs found here in the park are of the Black Tailed Prairie Dog variety. This is the most common of the prairie dog species and are found all over the midwest United States as you can see by the range map on the left.

Even though a young prairie dog is called a "pup", they are actually a ground squirrel and not a dog at all.

Prairie dogs are highly social, living in large groups called “towns”. They co-operate to share food, protect their burrow and often groom each other.

When group members meet each other they exchange a prairie dog kiss, or nuzzle. Prairie dogs act together to ensure each others' safety by "barking" out warning calls when an intruder is near.

We witnessed this activity first hand while we were quietly taking the following video and photos. They weren't happy with us at all because we were inside of their town boundaries.

"Barking" out the warning call,"There are intruders present!"


A field full of prairie dog burrows creating their "own town".


A couple of curious onlookers.


Tricia zoomed in on this male ring-necked pheasant hiding in the tall grasses nearby.



FRIDAY - We are off to town to take care of a few errands and do a little sightseeing.

First up is a one of a kind gallery which is located in the small nearby town of Norton, KS. It occupies the hallways and conference room walls on second floor of the First State Bank building located right on Main Street. It's dedicated to the candidates who were defeated in each of the U.S. Presidential Elections.

There is a framed portrait and short biography of each of "the losers", spanning from the first election all the way to the most recent. It's called the "They Also Ran" Gallery and was an interesting find and well worth the admission price, FREE!

It was created in 1965 by the then bank president and was designed in a way to generate some much needed tourism in the town. Today it is maintained by a very enthusiastic bank employee who was happy to take us upstairs and explain the history of the gallery and her efforts to keep accurate and current information available.

As you can see in the photo the biography for defeated President Trump hasn't been written yet! Wonder why that is?

Next up was the usual tasks of obtaining gasoline and groceries. On the same block of Main Street as the bank there were two restored gasoline service stations. I couldn't resist the opportunity to get ROVER into a couple of photos in front of the pumps.

Imagine my surprise when I pulled into the second station and saw there were a couple of women inside. Apparently it is currently being used as a mortgage and title company. I just waved and slowly pulled away. I wonder how often that happens to them? Damn crazy tourists!

Also on our list for today was going to be laundry, but we Googled looking for a laundromat in town and there was only one choice. It was very poorly rated and very expensive. We can wait another few days until we get to our next stop.

Last on the list for today is groceries! As usual in these small towns there is usually only one option on where to shop. Fortunately this town's grocery store had a nice selection of fresh produce, fruit and vegatables. We were able to find everything we needed for the next week.



SATURDAY - Well it's time once again to break into my stash of gourmet sodas for another exciting episode of:

"SATURDAY SODA SAMPLINGS"

Say that three times fast!

Today's soda selection is distributed by Route 66 Sodas of Wilmington, IL. It is their Lime flavored variety and to tell you the truth it's not much different from tasting a Sprite or 7-UP. Even though those two drinks are called "lemon-lime", this tastes the same.

I'm going to give this week's soda one thumb up, for taste, but also one thumb down for being generic. Definitely not worth the $2.49 a bottle I paid to basically get a 7-UP.

Let's hope next week's flavor steps up to the palate! No that's not a typo.



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THE LAND OF DOROTHY AND TOTO



MONDAY

TRAVEL DAY
STOP #200

"The Sunflower State"
is our 30th visited state

HERE'S A FUN FACT ABOUT KANSAS

It was once illegal to put a scoop of ice cream on cherry pie.





Today at 11:48AM we crossed into the state of Kansas, the 30th new state for us and the first new state in exactly 1 year, 1 month and 3 days.

It's been a long time coming! Tricia finally gets to place a new piece to the wooden puzzle on our refrigerator door. The states you see exploded off to the left hand side are states we intend to visit this year.

30 DOWN 20 TO GO

Anyway we have arrived here at Campsite #110 at Historic Lake Scott State Park, Scott City, KS for a week long visit. On Wednesday we expect our friends from Denver, CO to come join us with their brand new 30 foot Classic Airstream. We met them down in Texas last February while visiting the Padre Island National Seashore and have kept in touch ever since.

Campsite #110 at Historic Lake Scott State Park in Scott City, KS

Sunrise here at Historic Lake Scott State Park



FRIDAY - Today we are all set to go sightseeing! And this time when I say WE, I mean Katherine, John, (Luca and Lacey-their two dogs), Tricia and myself. We all loaded up into Katherine & John's big red Ford F350 and headed out.

First stop was Monument Rocks National Natural Landmark. It is located on private property, but is open to the public during daylight hours. These 70 foot tall rocks have refused to be worn down over the last 80 million years like everywhere else in this region.



MONUMENT ROCKS
NATIONAL NATURAL LANDMARK



Our first glimpse from a mile away of the seventy foot tall formations.
Five foot tall Tricia shows you just how large they really are.
A peephole in the softer upper layers of the chalk-like rock.
Notice the wide crack above the peephole. Someday, hopefully not today, that is going to collapse.
A view of the peephole from the roadway that runs around the perimeter of the rocks. Notice the second group of formations in the background.
This second group of formations is similiar and yet entirely different.
It contains chimney like formations along the upper levels.
Even the birds have figuered a way to use the formations for their nests.


Next up on our tour is the Buffalo Bill Cultural Center. There is a double lifesized bronze statue out front of Buffalo Bill on his horse, aiming his trusted gun at a buffalo.

Once a prolific hunter of buffalo, he later in life became a driving force in the conservation efforts to save the species from extinction.

After visiting the Cultural Center we grabbed a quick lunch and visited two fossil museums.

The museums housed some very interest finds that were all located within thirty miles of the museum. For those who don't know, Kansas is in the dead center of the Lower 48 States and was once covered by an large inland sea.

Most of the fossils are aquatic in nature, but they did have some larger mammoth bones and some unique flying reptile species on display. Very cool if you're like us and into that kind of knowledge.



SATURDAY - Well it's time once again to break into my stash of gourmet sodas for another exciting episode of:

"SATURDAY SODA SAMPLINGS"

Say that three times fast!

Today's soda selection is distributed by Boots Beverages of Bryan, TX, just like the Caramel Apple Soda from Episode #1. However today's flavor is Dewberry Soda!

From what I've been able to find out a dewberry is like a small blackberry that grows on a vine that remains close to the ground. It has a very similiar taste as a blackberry and with that said of course I'm a big fan.

So to recap, so far that's three sodas, three entirely different flavors and three big thumbs up for taste! Could it be that I was able to pick six sodas and all of them will turn out to be winners? Only time will tell.



SUNDAY - Our sightseeing endeavors today will bring us to the Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park, which is located just seven miles from our campsite in Historic Lake Scott State Park.

Badlands are described as a type of dry terrain where softer sedimentary rocks and clay-rich soils have been extensively eroded by wind and water. This area of Kansas certainly falls into that description.

Here are a few photos from our 2-1/2 mile hike through the state park trails today.


As an added bonus after the hike I located our Kansas geocache near the entrance to the parking lot, bringing our total to 30 finds, one in each state.

John even decided to give geocaching a try and found his very first geocache. I wonder if geocaching will become a new hobby for he and Katherine during their travels?


Tomorrow we will move to our second stop here in Kansas.

Anyone else want to see some prairie dogs? We do!



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Until next time

TWO PEAS