Let’s see…where were we before I napped for the winter? Ah, yes…heading for the great Mississippi…the sometimes blue dorsal aorta of the mid-west. At this point, I must tell you that the weather had definitely improved, not a drop of rain or need for windshield wiper. Here’s a view of the highway from my point of view: Heavy traffic, right? I could have slept in the road.
See? Blue skies forever. As we drove, the southern Illinois landscape became rather flat, and there weren’t many homes along the way. Did everyone move to Chicago?
If I remember correctly, I may have napped until the other guy woke me as we were about to cross the Mississippi into Saint Louis, MO. I’m going to offend some when I say that the experience was less than favorably anticipated. Poor East Saint Louis. If you’re listening, city fathers, a few more meaningful road signs might help uninformed travelers better negotiate your traffic puzzle. We found the only way to get down to that famous arch, but I liked the view of this bridge from below even better.
I was getting hungry, and the Princess was too, so we drove until we got to Kansas City, MO. We asked some local contractors, sitting in their pickup, where we could find the best eats. Though laughing when they saw me, but without hesitation, they directed us to Arthur Bryant’s, a world famous place for something called Bar-B-Q ribs. For some curious reason, they and the Princess didn’t want to talk about what she and the other guy wanted to eat. When I went inside, the patrons gave me some strange glances. Perhaps they’d never seen such an attractive Warthog.
Nevertheless, I had a delicious order of smoked beans and tasty fried potatoes while the Princess and the other guy gnawed on some dark, burnt bones. What’s that about? I suppose it’s a matter of taste, but I’ll never understand human’s interest in Bar-B-Q ribs. Life is full of puzzles. Anyway, I took a picture of the other guy chomping on bones so people would believe this strange tale.
Then we were off across Kansas, headed for an overnight in Wichita to rest up for the drive to Dodge City. There’s a name to stimulate imaginations…Dodge City…the one time frontier capital of the USA. I was so filled with anticipation that it was almost difficult for me to sleep. Almost, but not really.
The next day we were on the road early after a sumptuous breakfast. Pecan waffles are so delicious!
Well, what can I say about Southern Kansas? It’s even flatter than southern Illinois. There was rarely a bump in the roads. Old prairie lands stretched to the horizon with an occasional farm now and then, but miles and miles between. Here’s a sight; a farm long gone to seed. See the two vultures on the roof? Think I was about to stroll around rubber necking? Not on my life.
An hour later we pulled into Dodge. I checked the shine on my boots. There are still dozens of train tracks next to the highway and the sounds of locomotives. You know, this was once the hub of the cattle industry out west. The trains shipped the cattle off to Chicago and other big cities too far away from the open range. Big business back then. Mostly tourists now, sort of a old west fantasy land for wanta-be cowboys .
Everywhere I looked, men were swaggering like they were the baddest cowpokes around. Their women companions? Tired, too hot and too bored. We checked out the older parts of town and wandered through buildings that once echoed with the sounds of real cowboys and maybe even gunfights. The other guy took a picture of the Princess and me outside of the Long Branch Saloon. I wonder what happed to Sheriff Matt Dillon and Miss Kitty?
Most of the boardwalks were deserted. Maybe folks heard I was coming to town and got out of Dodge. It was hot, so I went into the Long Branch for a beer. The place was cooler inside and the barkeep a nice young fellow. I swear, he asked so many questions. Haven’t people seen a Warthog before?
Ever try to hit a spittoon from the bar? I did. Nice sound.
After my beer I went into the bank to get some change. No idea where the tellers went. Maybe they had the day off? I gave up waiting after a few minutes.
An if that wasn’t bad enough, these guys wanted to get rough. They didn’t stand a chance when I went for my guns. Good for business, though. The undertaker had a couple of caskets to make.
Well, the barkeep asked me to give the saloon a tune, so I took a seat at the piano. No sooner had I begun to sing and play, everyone seemed to suddenly have somewhere they had to go. People really are strange. Go figure.
The barkeep clapped. I guess a one-person audience is better than none. Even though he heard me play, I couldn’t get a word out of this guy. Real closed mouth. Guess he was selling cigars. Business must have really been bad.
Well, boys and girls…it’s that time of day again. Nap time…after I get something to eat. I promise to get back to you soon, and finish this exciting adventure. Until then,
I remain, as always, your most humble hog.