Friday, June 02, 2006

June 2, 2006
Big road trip today. Ed LeRoy met Rob and me at the Wichita Hyatt at seven this morning and we had a nice breakfast ($32 biz account) in the lobby restaurant, then we hit the road and landed in Caldwell, Kansas at nine. It's about an hour south of Wichita on the Oklahoma line. This is the home of Henry Newton Brown and I wanted to see the place he took off from, when he and a deputy faked like they were going to Texas to hunt outlaws, then snuck across the Cherokee Outlet and tried to rob the Medicine Lodge Bank. I wanted to see the landscape, smell the air, and feel what they felt. Thanks to Kay Kuhn at the museum, Rod Cook and Colin Wood I got a good insight into the historic cattle drive town. Plus it's wheat harvest time and these huge John Deere combines ($250,000 behemouths) were rolling down the streets getting ready. They looked like the alien machines from Spielberg's War of the Worlds, throbbing and lurching to and fro. Kay's family still has a farm east of town and she told us, "a team from North Dakota was coming to town to cut them out." Such local slang is so odd, amazing, and I enjoy it.

From Caldwell, we drove to Medicine Lodge where we got the town tour from three local historians. Local rancher Dillman Ash (great name!) drove Rob and I out to his ranch to see firsthand the canyon the outlaws were trapped in as they tried to make their way to the Gyp Hills. It really puts everything into perspective. I totally get it now. The canyon they were trapped in, is virtually ride-out-proof. There is no way they could have escaped. When you read it, your mind can't imagine it, but when you see it, it totally makes sense.

From Medicine Lodge, we shot across the Gyp Hills, and Kansas took on a whole different configeration. It's not all flat, but canyons and red rock, spread out in a big, uninhabited area about ten miles wide. Hard to believe but it's true (Kansas ain't all flat!).

Landed in Meade at about seven, got to the Dalton Hideout and met all the gunfighters and participants for the weekend. Most know me from True West and the Westerns Channel. Big deal. Glad we are here. Ate dinner at the Lakeway Hotel, in the dining room, took a photo of the human dog, "Cuma," and came up to my honeymoon room (206) to post this.

On Thursday night, Ed took us out to eat at the Texas Roadhouse in Wichita. Place slammed. A very successful chain with dancing waiters and waitresses. Had a filet and two margaritas. Ed bought ($140 plus tip).

Speaking of road warriors, Deena called from Portland to tell me she found a great restaurant called "Mothers" where the food is fresh and homemade. Check it out Northwesterners.

Big day tomorrow and the parade. I'm the Grand Marshal. Kind of nervous about it. More later.

"A day's work is a day's work, neither more nor less, plus a night's sleep and due leisure, whether a painter or a ploughman be."
—Old Vaquero Saying

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