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Day 35 – Saturday June 2nd: Following the Western Cattle Trail

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<– Day 34 – Friday June 1st: The Route of Confusion | Day 36 – Sunday June 3rd: Leaving The Plains –>

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Hanging out with a local in Dodge City. It seems I wore the right shirt today.

Day 35: We spent Saturday driving north from Clinton, Oklahoma, to Garden City, Kansas. Unbeknownst to us most of the day, we were roughly following (from Clinton to Dodge City) an old cow drive trail called the Great Western Cattle Trail. Our route:

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On Saturday, we drove from Clinton, Oklahoma, to Garden City, Kansas.

Western Cattle Trail (and the other major trails):great-western-cattle-trail

We began the morning with one last Route 66 task: visit the Clinton Route 66 Museum. The outside of the building was cleverly done as a vintage-looking Route 66 motel:
2018-06-02-clinton-route66-museum01Inside the lobby, we found signs, a car, gas pumps, and other items.

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To enter the museum portion, it costs $7. Once paid, visitors enter through a set of doors. Among the sights that greet visitors is this large map showing Route 66, along with some early history of road as it relates to Oklahoma. The museum claims that Oklahoma has more original road than any other state. That certainly seemed like a legitimate claim given the length of the road within Oklahoma..

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The remainder of the museum was divided up into time periods. Prewar and war years focused on the road as a delivery mechanism for goods at a time when there were no interstates.

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Short, narrow halls lined with newspaper front-page excerpts acted as transitions between the time periods.

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As the interstate system expanded, tourism became more of the life-blood of Route 66.

2018-06-02-clinton-route66-museum7By the 1960s and early 70s, some folks were making home movies of their travels. The museum has obtained some of those movies and plays them on a screen that rests atop the back of a station wagon.

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Overall, we enjoyed the museum. It’s got enough history, photos, and good organization to make it worth a stop in our opinion. This is my final goodbye from Route 66. Time to head north.
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Before leaving Clinton, we decided to get a couple latte’s, assuming (it turns out incorrectly) that there wouldn’t be much caffeine north of Clinton. With a little help from Yelp, I found Strayhouse, a coffee shop with a barn feel. They made excellent coffee.

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From Clinton, we ventured north on Highway 183 against some strong headwinds. After about an hour of driving, feeling we were in the middle of nowhere, we came upon Gore’s Phillip 66 Travel Plaza that included a bistro, a coffee house, and a Sonic burger. We were surprised.

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Plenty of Gore’s merchandise:2018-06-02-gores3

Those are some large containers!

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Back on the road, soon we passed through the town of Woodward. There, I spotted a mural on the side of the local museum, the Plains Indians & Pioneers Museum. We stopped to take a photo. On a whim, I looked up the museum and learned there was no charge for admission. So, we decided to check it out. Inside the lobby, we found some more murals.

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There was filled with a series of dioramas that discussed the American Indians (by law, the docent had to tell us that the new term for Native Americans was now American Indians). Of course, the history of the western settlers followed.2018-06-02-woodward-museum5

We didn’t linger inside the museum as long as we might have, as half of it was closed for a local TV show.

By the time we left the museum, we were behind schedule. We had discussed going to Dorothy’s House in Liberal, Kansas, but decided to head straight to Dodge City, Kansas, as we figured, since it was an old western cattle town, that it held more potential.

When we arrived at downtown, we were optimistic. There was a boardwalk on front street, welcome signs, and more.

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It was 3:30pm on Saturday afternoon when we hit the boardwalk. We were surprised to discover that a) most of the businesses were closed (a couple Mexican places and three ice cream places were open) and b) the boardwalk was empty of tourists. Disappointed, we looked for fun elsewhere.

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To amuse ourselves, I tried roping some wild cattle. I did my best to channel everything I’d learned from Will Rogers on Friday. Unfortunately, the ‘cow’ was too much for me. I failed.2018-06-02-dodgecity2

So I took up some cards with Doc Holliday. I laid down my cards and was ready to walk away with my purse of coins, but then Doc went for his gun. However, once I explained that I was Mr. eWillys, he calmed right down. I even sold him a poster.2018-06-02-dodgecity3

Just to be sure that Mr. Holiday didn’t have a change of heart, we jumped in our jeep and headed out of town for Garden City, Kansas, where we spent the night.

On Sunday, we plan to visit Monument Rocks, then head west for Denver, where we’ll meet another of my distant cousins for the first time.

<– Day 34 – Friday June 1st: The Route of Confusion | Day 36 – Sunday June 3rd: Leaving The Plains –>

 

2 Comments on “Day 35 – Saturday June 2nd: Following the Western Cattle Trail

  1. Glennstin

    Another view of The Mother Road: This is from The Nash Car Club in 2004 showing a recreation of how conditions on Route 66 were in 1937 during the worst part of the dust bowl years. Using a 1930 Nash restored to replicate it’s 1937 condition, follow 50 days on the entire route. If you thought Alaska or Rust was tough, remember this was done 14 years ago. It reads from bottom to top.

    http://www.nashcarclub.org/b_mckay.html

  2. David Eilers Post author

    Looks like an interesting journey. Ann and I talked about what it must have been like to drive through Oklahoma at 25mph, then camping at night. Sounds miserable.

    Driving to Alaska wasn’t tough for me (I spent most of it in an air conditioned jeep). What was tough was organizing photos and writing about it each evening. That was exhausting!

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