Day 9: More Driving!!

Trip Start Sep 08, 2005
Trip End Sep 25, 2005

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Flag of United States  , Colorado
Saturday, September 17, 2005

Today bore an uncanny resemblance to yesterday. We did cover a whole 350 miles today, which is an excellent accomplishment. Especially when we consider that we go farther in an hour than the settlers taking the Santa Fe Trail (which ran along most of our route today) could in three days.
We started out of Wichita late-ish, but made excellent time, stopping only in (historic) Dodge City, KS, to see what was left of the rough-ridin' old west town. The answer is not a heck of a lot, but after cruising the museum gift shop we decided to get back on the road and keep truckin' rather than pay yet another admission. The main industries in the western Kansas and southeastern Colorado high plains are wheat, other grains and plant-oil crops, and cattle. Many of the cattle are being moved to large feedlots, which mar the otherwise bucolic landscape and smell to high heaven. Even the meat packing plants have better odor control.
The other small detour we made was to see some of the wagon wheel ruts left from the Santa Fe Trail. It's incredible to think that these traces were made over a hundred years ago, and are still visible. We also saw our first tumbleweed and our first coyote, firmly establishing that we are now in the Southwest.
We plan to continue the mountain branch of the Santa Fe trail into New Mexico and reach Albuquerque, just south of Santa Fe, by tomorrow evening. We'll be staying there with Winkie's sister for a few days and exploring the high desert country. The weather remains fair (though a little hot heading west into the afternoon sun at times), and we were surprised at the constant wind rushing across the plains. We could imagine ourselves exposed to the wind all day while traveling on foot or horseback. We are traveling in comfort at a congenial time of year, and admire Native Americans and settlers who lived and traveled in harmony with or despite the elements.
So far our mom-daughter travels have been pretty amicable, despite the generational differences of what constitutes an early start to the day. The main disputes have been over what type of music to play during the long hours driving. Winkie is getting a good education on alternative/indie rock, and Julia likes some classic rock and tolerates world and other fogey music. It's dueling i-pods sometimes, but that's what earphones are for.
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