2017 Western Spring Fling travel blog

Salina sunset

The sun has slipped below the horizon

Prairie church

Sunset along a gravel road

Winnie waiting in line for a shower

Our route to Council Grove

The roads to Council Grove

Main St. Council Grove, KS - the Old Santa Fe Trail

Madonna of the Trails

Winnie at Site 007 at Santa Fe

Sunset on Council Grove Lakes


We left Salina on Friday, but not without a problem. Since we were right next to a Blue Beacon Truck Wash, we decided it was about time for Winnie to get a shower. She hasn't been washed oaths trip and was muddy, cruddy, and the fort was covered with dead grasshoppers and bug splats. The wash was uneventful and Winnie looks pretty good all cleaned up. When I went to hitch up the Fit, I found there was a pin missing from the tow bar where it attaches to the car. I thought I had a spare, but was proven wrong when I looked for it. I drove back to the KOA and searched the site of rah pin, but couldn't find it. I looked along the road between the KOA and the Blue Beacon and again no luck. I started looking on the iPhone for RV or trailer parts stores and found one a couple of miles away in Salina. I left Sue in Winnie and drove to the store. They didn't have the right size and just as well because I left my wallet in Winnie and couldn't pay for it anyway. They suggested an Ace Hardware down the road, but before going there I had to drive back to Winnie to get my wallet. When I finally got to the Ace Hardware Store, I was in luck because they had just what I needed. I bought 3 of them, I replace the lost one and 2 spares.

With the Fit hitched up, we headed toward Council Grove, KS for our next stop at the Santa Fe Recreation Area on the Council Grove Lake, a Corps of Engineers impoundment. Santa Fe is one of several parks on the lake developed for camping, fishing, boating, and water sports. It's really a nice campground with wide, level concrete pads, a picnic shelter, a barbecue grill, and picnic table. The sites have electric and water but no sewer so it will be a challenge to last 5 days without dumping. We'll see. Even without sewers, if this is an example of Corps campgrounds we'll be trying a few more, especially at $11/night with our Federal Senior Pass.

We saw a Madonna of the Trails statue in Council Grove. These are a series of monuments dedicated to the spirit of pioneer women in the United States. They were commissioned by the Daughters of the American Revolution and installed in each of the 12 states along the National Old Trails Road, which extended from Cumberland, Maryland, to Upland, California. We've seen all but four in our travels. Most of the ones we've missed are in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. We'll have to get to those when we are back on the East Coast.

Since we got a late start, we decided to go into town for dinner rather than cook. We ate at the Hays House, the oldest continually operating restaurant west of the Mississippi. It was built in 19857 by Seth Hays, a great grandson of Daniel Boone and sits on Main St. which was once the Santa Fe trail. We didn't see any wagon ruts on Main St., but there is a historical site near town where they can be seen. I don't think we'll be visiting it though. Since we are in beef country that's what we had for dinner. I had a 12oz prime rib and Sue had beef brisket. It was delicious. They had fresh peach pie and I got a piece to go. It was the best I've had in a long time even though it flipped upside down in the container on the trip home.

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