We started off today by visiting the Kansas Oil Museum in El Dorado. It was a lot like the ones we visited in Bakersfield, CA and Titusville, PA. It told the story of the oil and gas industry in Kansas that actually began before the Civil War. Many of the wagon trains that passed through the area used oil from seeps to lubricate the wheels of their wagons. Kansas is in the top 10 oil producing states and produces about 2% of the total. The museum has a great outdoor display of working antique oil equipment including drill rigs, steam engines, derricks, pump jacks, and types of buildings typically found on a production site. There was also a small collection of restored trucks used for transportation of oil and a 1950 Ford F-3 pick-up that carried explosives used in the fields. El Dorado was a typical oil boom town in the 1920’s and a part of it is reproduced on the grounds of the museum. The hour spent was worth it.
Tornadoes are significant natural events in Kansas. El Dorado was hit by a tornado in 1958 killing 13 people. The town erected a memorial in Graham Park where the tornado struck that tells the story of the relief efforts provided a Mennonite church group from the nearby town of Greensburg. When Greensburg was hit by a huge tornado in 2007, the folks from El Dorado were able to provide help in the recovery and return the assistance they received in 1958.
Sue has been wanting to eat at a Sonic Drive-In almost since we started the trip. I think every town in the midwest has a Sonic, either open or closed, but our timing is never right for lunch. Today we passed one at lunch time so we stopped. There was no room for Winnie so we walked over and sat at a table outside.
On the way to Dodge City, we passed through Kinsley, KS. It’s advertises itself as “Midway, USA”, the half-way point between New York and San Francisco, exactly 1561 miles each way.
Kansas farmers have used windmills for years to pump water and to generate small amounts of electricity. A new use for windmills to generate electricity on a utility scale has been established over the last 5 or 6 years in the area of Spearville, the City of Windmills. The 80m tall towers dominate the vista on the west side of the town.
We arrived in Dodge City and will stay at the Gunsmoke Travel Park for a day as there are some things to do in town.