Kansas Travel Blog

Chronicling changes to KansasTravel.org and Keith's exploration & photographing Kansas restaurants, attractions, museums, festivals and art. Contact him.
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Saturday - July 1, 2017: After spending the night in Wakeeney, we drove on to the Homestead Ranch for the Great Western Cattle Drive which is presented each Independence Day weekend. At one time, the free event was held in Goodland, but it was moved to the Ranch in 2015.

We reached Goodland for the cattle drive in plenty of time and sat in a field in lawn chairs while Laurie Klemm, in period dress, explained about life in the 1800s and what we were getting ready to see. About 6 cowboys brought the cattle in to the well near where we were sitting. The lead cowboy was in character as he talked about bringing the cattle through on their way to Wyoming and the hardships along the way. After the reenactment, we watched a real cattle drive down the street as they moved the cattle from this field to another one. There was a herd of buffalo in the field next to where they were moving the cattle which we also got to photograph. 

After the cattle drive, we went on into Goodland for lunch at the Butterfly Cafe at the Goodland airport. We sampled the grilled chicken sandwich  and a cheese burger. The prices was quite reasonable and the food was good, if not outstanding. Butterfly Cafe is known for pie and the apple pie we shared was the best part of the meal.

After lunch, we went to Crazy R's Bar & Grill to find the owner to talk to him about a gas station he had restored that we had stumbled across on a previous trip. When we asked about Rod Cooper at the bar, we were told he was grilling in the kitchen, but "stick your head in" and see if he can talk to you. Rod was busy cooking, but willing to talk while he worked. He told ne about the history of the White Eagle Gas Station which he restored and other projects has done.

Linda waited for me at the bar and ended up having a very nice chat with a family sitting nearby. One of the women at the table was best friends with Rod's wife and she ended up texting her to come down so we could see the inside of a house Rod had restored. Less than 5 minutes later, the wife was at the bar, relieving her husband in the kitchen, so he could go show us the Gulick-Cooper House, which was one of Rod's earlier projects. 

It was an amazing house that had originally been a doctor's home and office. Rod has done lots of work inside and outside, as well as to the horse barn behind the house. In the process, he had discovered all sorts of the doctor's equipment and other medical supplies, which he has nicely on display within the house. Fully furnished, if he didn't find it in the house, he filled in with other antiques he already owned. It was nicer than many museums, but was a passion of love and is not open to the public except by invitation.

On the way out of Goodland, we stopped to take some photos of Rod Cooper's newest project, a three story home which was moved to Goodland from St. Francis, Kansas, about 30 miles away. 

We look forward to seeing the progress on this new home over the years.

From Goodland we traveled fort to Monument, Kansas and the south toward Lake Scott State Park, photographing anything of interest along the way, including small towns, murals, abandoned buildings, landscapes, animals, whatever. We drove around the lake taking more photographs and then on down to Scott City. We had a few minutes before our dinner reservation, so were driving around when we noticed an old car at the gas pumps of another restored gas station we had photographed on a previous trip. There were two men talking and we thought there was a good chance one was the owner. Sure enough, after one left, the other man went inside, so we stopped and were able to get more information about the restored station and meet its owner, Mark Burnett.

We had supper at the Majestic Theater Restaurant, a very elegant restaurant in an old theater in Scott City, Kansas. The menu was limited to three appetizers and 6 main dishes. We had grilled shrimp and ribeye. They came with a salad, bread and the choice of a starch. The salad had a delicious blue cheese dressing and the fresh bread was so good that it was hard to stop eating it. Both dishes were quite good.

We went on to spend the night in Garden City.


Great Western Cattle Drive - Goodland, Kansas Great Western Cattle Drive

Gulick-Cooper House - Goodland, Kansas Gulick-Cooper House

2200 University of Kansas basketball wins Bertrand Home - south of Monument

Mark Burnett - Scott City Mark Burnett

Majestic Theater Restaurant - Scott City, Kansas Majestic Theater Restaurant

Sunday - July 2, 2017: I was a awake early, so I visited Holcomb, Kansas on my own, photographing the former Clutter family home from a distance and a few other locations related to their deaths in 1959. That was incident which was dramatized by Truman Capotte in the novel and movie, In Cold Blood.

After picking up Linda, we visited a few Garden City locations, including the historic Windsor Hotel, Valley View Cemetery, Finney County Courthouse and the Transportation Partners and Logistics LLC railhead at Garden City with tens of acres of windmill parts waiting to be moved and assembled.

On our way to Dodge City, we made several brief stops, with the first one being lunch at the Ingalls Cafe in Ingalls, Kansas (a town of 300) for lunch. The was a fairly long menu and we had the fried catfish dinner and a chicken fried steak sandwich. Both were good, but there was nothing to put this restaurant on our listing of Unique Kansas Restaurants.

From Ingalls we headed on through Cimarron and ultimately to Dodge City continuing to photograph whatever struck our fancy along the way, including another courthouse, churches, an old hotel and more. In Dodge City we toured the Mueller-Schmidt House, a stone home built in 1881, and the Liberty Garden, a memorial to 9-11, among other sites. We went from Dodge City up through Ness City and other small towns, eventually returning to WaKeeney. Along the way, we photographed more courthouses, churches, murals and other buildings. 

Supper was at the Western Kansas Saloon & Grill, housed in a former hardware store in downtown WaKeeney. Linda had the special (grilled pork loin with three huge new potatoes) and I had another ribeye steak.  There was only one server and service was very slow. We were planning on trying a dessert, but after waiting about 15 minutes to try to order one, we called it a night and returned to the the same Super 8 motel where we had stayed on Friday night.


Clutter Farm - Holcomb, Kansas Clutter Farm

Valley View Cemetery - Garden City, Kansas Engine headstone in Valley View Cemetery

9-11 Liberty Garden - Dodge City, Kansas Liberty Garden

Western Kansas Saloon & Grill - WaKeenetm Jansas Western Kansas Saloon

Monday - July 3, 2017: I was up early again and drove to nearby Colleyer, Kansas to photograph a church, water tower and unusual old storefront. Returning to WaKeeney, I took some photos on the courthouse square and caught some people putting up American flags for the 4th of July.

Back at the motel, I picked up Linda and we went to the nearby to the Trego County Historical Society Museum. The museum is closed on Mondays, but the Associate Director, Marjean Deines, met us and showed us around. The most interesting thing was a 15' x 50'  mural is being painted at the end of the museum's recent large addition.

We headed east stopping in Ellis for photos at Memorial Park, Mount Hope Cemetery, and an old truss bridge. Then on to Hays, Kansas where we photographed a number of statues and monuments.

We has lunch at Al's Chickenette, which opened in 1949. It had slid in recent years, but a new owner took over in 2013 and the food is now as good as the atmosphere. We ordered a gizzard appetizer and shared a 2 piece chicken dinner. It is another place which has become known for pies, and the peach pie was quite good.

After lunch, we photographed a beautiful old stone church in Catharine, Kansas, but it was locked up, so we could take any photo inside. The remains of Sacred Heart Church, a few miles east near Emmeram are rather striking. The 1901 stone church burned in 1988, years after the parish closed.

We tried to photograph two multi arch stone bridges, but couldn't find the one near Victoria, even though we followed exact directions, and gave up on the other when we found the road being grated and couldn't figure out how we would get around the grater.

We made it to Abilene, Kansas about 5:00 and checked into Abilene's Victorian Inn Bed & Breakfast. We had been in the room for less than 15 minutes when Linda's cell phone rang. It was our oldest daughter, "I'm about to ruin your vacation." Turns out she was in the ER with appendicitis. She had went to her primary care doctor who had run a test, diagnosed appendicitis and sent her to the hospital emergency room. Since she hadn't seen the ER doctor and we were over 2 hours away, we decided to wait till we had more information before deciding to head home. 

We went to supper in Detroit, Kansas at Midway Bar & Grill, whose owner had contacted us asking that we try out their hamburgers for consideration on our Kansas Best Burgers list. Linda has a grilled cheese and bacon sandwich with french fries. She didn't care for the fries, but really enjoyed the sandwich. 

I was going to order the Spicy Mushroom Swiss Burger (The Keegan) which is topped with habanero mushroom sauce and ghost pepper cheese, but the bartender scared me away, saying how very hot it was and that he didn't think I would enjoy it. So I went with the Midway Burger (two patties with bacon, grilled onion, mushrooms and Swiss cheese). It was good, but not at the best burger list. If there was a best grilled cheese sandwich list, theirs might be on it.

After supper, we went on to Chapman to do some more photography of the St. Patrick's Mission Church Memorial which was built with stones from a church was destroyed by a tornado in 2008. 

After returning to Abilene. We checked out of the B&B and returned to Johnson County.


Flag raising - WaKeeney, Kansas Flag raising

2200 University of Kansas basketball wins Pony Truss Bridge

2200 University of Kansas basketball wins Peach Pie

2200 University of Kansas basketball wins

bilene's Victorian Inn Bed & Breakfast Abilene's Victorian Inn

St. Patrick's Mission Church Memorial - Chapman, Kansas St. Patrick's Mission Church Memorial

Wednesday - July 5, 2017: We added a new page devoted to the St. Patrick's Mission Church Memorial in Chapman, Kansas which we visited on Monday evening.


Friday - July 7, 2017: We added a new page devoted to the Liberty Garden in Dodge City, Kansas, which is a memorial to the tragedies of September 11, 2001. Designed as a place of remembrance and solitude, Dodge City's Liberty Garden is meant to honor those people who were touched by the attacks on America.


Liberty Garden in Dodge City, Kansas Liberty Garden
Saturday - July 8, 2017: Here is another new page from a place we revisited last weekend, the restored White Eagle Gas Station in Goodland, Kansas.


Sunday - July 9, 2017: They seeded the sunflower fields at Grinter Sunflower Farm today and we have updated our page devoted to it, which is already being viewed 1-200 times a day. Come the end of August and early September, it is a beautiful and popular place.
Tuesday - July 11, 2017: We added a new page devoted to St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Liebenthal, Kansas, which was established in 1876 by German speaking Russian immigrants from the Volga region of the Ukraine in Russia. The construction took three years and the new church was dedicated on May 28, 1905. St. Joseph's had to be partially rebuilt following fires in the 1920s and 1960s. 

We also added new pages devoted to Bradley's Corner Cafe in the NOTO arts area of Topeka, Kansas and the Arthur Capper Memorial in Garnett, Kansas.


St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Liebenthal, Kansas St. Joseph's Catholic Church
Thursday - July 13, 2017: There was a beautiful rainbow this morning before the storm. The photo at left was taken in the early mooring at the Lenexa, Kansas Police Station.

The page devoted to the "Cathedral of the Plains" in Victoria, Kansas has been expanded and updated.

We left KC a little after 4:00 on Thursday, driving to Vermillion, South Dakota stopping for supper at the Blue Moon Bar & Grill in Hamburg, Iowa.

The bar & grill wasn't very busy and we tried the naked chicken wings, garlic cheese bread, chicken cordon bleu sandwich and a half haystack (beer battered fries topped with bacon bits and a blend of three cheeses). The haystack was a letdown, but looking at the menu as I write this, I see that it should have come with a side of horseradish sauce and wonder if they would have made all the difference.


Lenexa Rainbow

Blue Moon Bar - Hamburg, Kansas Blue Moon Bar & Grill

Friday - July 14, 2017: We joined a friend who lives in Vermillion to explore some of the more beautiful southeast South Dakota attractions, starting with side by side parks: Spit Rock State Park and Devil's Gulch, where Jesse James allegedly coaxed his horse to leap the ravine and escaped a posse. Devil's Gulch lacked the vistas I was hoping for, but Split Rock had a nice dam with a short waterfall.

It was just as well that we did those two two parks as first. They would have been a little anticlimactic after the next two.

Palisades State Park has the impressive 1908 Palisades Bridge and the stone cliffs which gives it its name, but Falls Park in Sioux Falls is very beautiful.

The falls in Sioux Falls were long surrounded with industrial buildings which I understand stole the beauty, but as those businesses have closed, the falls have been turned into a lovely park, with the few remaining industrial buildings becoming part of the atmosphere. The 1908 hydroelectric plant has even been turned into the Falls Overlook Cafe, where we had lunch.

After dropping our friend off at home in Vermillion, we drove south to Sioux City, Iowa to meet other friends for a rehearsal dinner and an evening of games. We spent the night at a Sioux City motel.



Palisades Bridge - Palisades State Park Palisades Bridge

Falls Park - Sioux Falls, South Dakota Falls Park

Saturday - July 15 2017: We drive back to Vermillion this morning, to pick up our friend again and see a little of the scenery along the Missouri River and the Nebraska / South Dakota border.

Our first stop was just outside Vermillion, the Mulberry Bend Overlook of the Missouri National Recreational River. This is part of an interesting 59 mile stretch of the Missouri, where the river is not rigidly confined and is more like it was historically.

We then drove upriver to Yankton, South Dakota, to photograph the Meridian Highway Bridge, a double deck, vertical lift bridge that formerly carried U.S. Route 81 across the Missouri River and is now closed to all but pedestrians and bicycles.

For lunch we traveled across the river to Nebraska to the Dam Fish Shack where I had an unexpected treat, fired perch.

We returned to Sioux City for my friend, Amy Perry's wedding. I had the honor of walking Amy down the aisle.



Mia Perry, Amy Perry, Keith Stokes Mia Perry, Amy Perry, Keith Stokes

Sunday - July 16, 2017: On the road back to Kansas, we made only one stop in Iowa, at Millers' Kitchen in Onawa, where we had to almost fight to keep the locals from jumping ahead of us in line for a table. I had the hot beef sandwich which Miller's Kitchen is known for.

After crossing back into Kansas at Atchison, we toured Muchnic Art Gallery, a Queen Anne revival house which was built in 1885. Several rooms are furnished as they were when the Muchnic family lived in the home. Others are used as galleries, classrooms or yoga studios. Like many Atchison homes, the Muchnic Art Gallery is allegedly haunted.

We went on to the nearby St. Benedict's Abbey & Church. The Abbey Church was designed by a student of Frank Lloyd Wright.

After photographing a few other locations on the surrounding Benedictine College campus, we drove south to Leavenworth, to Marfield Irish Pub. Although it was scheduled to be open, it was not and there was no sign saying why. Another customer showed up at the same time.

So we went to the other side of town to All Slabbed Up BBQ, where we had excellent burnt ends, ribs and fresh cut fries.


Muchnic Art Gallery - Atchiso, Kansas Muchnic Art Gallery

St. Benedict's Abbey - Atchison, Kansas St. Benedict's Abbey

All Slabbed Up BBQ - Leavenworth, Kansas All Slabbed Up BBQ

Tuesday - July 18, 2017: For supper, I visited The Big Que Barbecue in Kansas City, Kansas. I ate at Big Que a couple of times about 13 years ago, before the start of KansasTravel.org and was unimpressed. It seemed like it was time to give them another try.

I had a half chicken, one pork rib, baked beans and waffle fries. The beans, rib and chicken were all very good.

We also updated the page about Riverside Park in Halstead, Kansas, which was the principal location for the 1955 movie, Picnic, staring William Holden, Rosalind Russell and Kim Novak.


Big Que Barbecue in Kansas City, Kansas Big Que Barbecue
Wednesday - July 19, 2017: We had supper at Stagecoach Tavern in Overland Park. We ate there shortly after it opened and were disappointed, but it has been open for a few years now and we gave them another try. I ordered the hot chicken wings and Linda ordered pork chops, but they have dropped them and haven't updated the menu. SHe went with boneless chicken breast cooked the same way and was quite pleased with the chicken. My wings were quite as good. 

We will try them one more time when the menu is updated.


Chicken wings at Stagecoach Tavern in Overland Park Buffalo wings
Thursday - July 20, 2017: Added a new page devoted to St. Benedict's Abbey and Church in Atchison, Kansas, which is the local center of the Catholic Order of St. Benedict, a global religious community whose first members arrived in Atchison in 1858. The Abbey Church was completed in 1957 and serves the students of Benedictine College, which was founded in 1971 through the merging of St. Benedict's College for men (1858) and Mount St. Scholastica College for women (1923). 


St. Benedict's Abbey and Church in Atchison, Kansas St. Benedict's Abbey
Friday - July 21, 2017: We added a page devoted to the Trego County Historical Society Museum in WaKeeney, Kansas was dedicated in June 1975. The museum has grown twice - in 1997 when the Pleasant Valley School was moved to the museum grounds and in 2015 when a 7,200 square foot addition doubled the gallery space.

Our pages devoted to Strataca, the Underground Salt Mine Museum in Hutchinson, Kansas have had several things updated. The longer summer hours end on August 6


Trego County Historical Society Museum in WaKeeney, Kansas Trego County Historical Society Museum
Tuesday - January 24, 2017: We added a new page devoted to the Muchnic Art Gallery, which occupies one of the most interesting Victorian mansions in Atchison, Kansas. The Atchison Art Association uses the gallery to promote art through education, exhibits and outreach.

Our pages devoted to Strataca, the Underground Salt Mine Museum in Hutchinson, Kansas have had several things updated. The longer summer hours end on August 6.


Muchnic Art Gallery - Atchison, Kansas Muchnic Art Gallery
Thursday - July 27, 2017: This evening we tried a new Shawnee, Kansas restaurant, Sam's Southern Eatery. It is a small chain in about 9 states and this is their first Kansas location. The location has housed a number of different restaurants and bars over the years. 

I was disappointed that they had no oysters and didn't post a sign or tell people until they tried to order them. However the fried shrimp and fish were good and the grilled shrimp and fish were even better. The sides were less impressive, with the red beans and rice being the best of the lot.


Sam's Southern Eatery - Shawnee, Kansas Fried shrimp and fish
Monday - January 31, 2017: This morning was the ribbon cuttings for Lenexa's new City Hall, Rec. Center and Public Market. (The market doesn't open until September.) It is a major move for the city, as it pivots to orient farther west.

Our Haunted Atchison Trolley Tour pages have all been updated with info for the coming season. These are very popular and some tours are already full. Book soon.


Lenexa City Hall - Lenexa, Kansas Lenexa City Complex
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