For the second time in two years, Grandpa G rode in the Motorcycle Cannonball Endurance Race (click here for the 2014 event) which took him through the heart of Kansas. Half way across the country, riders are given a full “rest” day of no riding (the joke was repeated though that little rest was had, given everyone was working on their bikes to maintain the ability to continue riding…) that was timed to take place right here in Kansas. The rest day was in Junction City last time; this time it was in Dodge City. We made the easy drive down there to spend a few days together and couldn’t have had a better time. Auntie Natasha joined us which made it all the more memorable for all of us.
On the way to Dodge City on Saturday, September 17, we stopped at Mushroom Rock State Park, a fantastic little 5-acre state park (the smallest state park in Kansas!). Here is it seen from above — the park straddles the gravel road with “mushroom” rocks found both north and south of the roadway.
Later in the afternoon, we arrived in Dodge City. We located the bike – Number 19 – before tracking down Grandpa G.
Grandpa had Dodge City Sheriff’s Deputy badges for each of the girls:
Later that evening, we ventured over to some railroad tracks behind our dinner location (a fantastic Mexican restaurant in Dodge City) to place some pennies on the tracks in the hopes they’d be flattened over the weekend:
Much of Sunday, the bike was receiving repairs, including rebuilding the clutch:
We ventured to a nearby park for a picnic. This squirrel participated, retrieving one of our discarded apple cores and racing away with it:
We returned to find our flattened coins later that day!
Sunday morning, Grandpa G, along with all the other riders, departed Dodge City westbound through the fog…
…but not before a quick photo op:
Before leaving town, we again visited the tracks and retrieved a few more coins:
A wind farm northeast of Dodge City:
On the return drive Sunday, we detoured to spend a few hours at the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve north of Strong City, KS. Wow – what an incredible site! We only had a short time to spend there, but it was enough (1) to know that we’d return for a longer visit another time, (2) to enjoy a picnic on the lawn of the main house, and (3) for the girls to, for the first time, become Junior Rangers through the National Parks program. And the girls made a great new friend – Park Ranger Graves. They couldn’t get enough high-fives from him.
The tour of the main barn was fascinating — complete with 18-inch thick limestone walls. While it was open to the outside, and it was around 90 degrees outdoors around 2pm, it was at least 10 degrees cooler inside.
Completion of the Junior Ranger booklet; earning their badges: