Today began a solo camping trip that will extend through the end of July. Day one was a hot 400 mile slog west down the non-inspiring lanes of I-70. My first real destination is Denver, 600+ miles from home. An overnight in Goodland is a prudent alternative to a 12+ hour marathon drive while towing a trailer.

These days most folks only see a hint of Goodland as they zoom past the outskirts on the Interstate. Not much there except that a sharp eye might catch a glimpse of a very curious piece of art that towers in the distance.

I am camped at the Goodland KOA, located on the east side of Goodland, along less traveled US-24.

One might say that this is the backyard of Goodland. One might also incorrectly assume that there is not much to see here. Back to that piece of art…

In 2000, Canadian artist Cameron Cross approached the trade group, Sunflowers USA, with the idea of recreating VanGogh’s painting, “3 Sunflowers in a Vase” in Goodland. The proportions would be breathtaking; the painting would be 24 feet by 32 feet (VanGogh’s original was not even 2’ x 3’), and it would sit upon an 80 foot tall easel, the largest in the world. $150,000.00 was raised and the completed work was dedicated in 2001.

Continuing my 2+ hour sojourn I came upon a number of other notable finds:

In the 1950’s and early 1960’s Studebaker Motors of South Bend Indiana produced the “Hawk” in a number of variant forms. It was a design ahead of its time and from a styling and engineering standpoint it rivaled Chevrolet’s Corvette and Ford’s Thunderbird of that era. This lonely (1956?) model sits waiting for a tender heart and deep pocket to restore it’s former glory. Price unknown.

A few blocks later I encountered the equally forlorn (1951?) Hudson Hornet.

This was a low slung beast of a car weighing in at nearly 2 tons, and featuring what was then the largest 6 cylinder engine in the world. Capable of speeds in excess of 100 mph and featuring excellent handling, the Hornet was perhaps America’s first muscle car.

Known for it’s sturdy strength, if not its speed, was the depression era McCormick-Deering 10-20. This example likely dates to around 1928.

There was more…

How about a 28hp 1948-53 Allis-Chalmers WD in tricycle configuration parked next to a 1955 Ford Sedan Delivery Wagon…

Finally, central Kansas is known for its ability to produce food. Signs along the highway tout that each Kansas farmer feeds over 155 people.

Walking down a dusty road I found evidence that production (in this case corn) far exceeds the ability to market or deliver that commodity.

Literal mountains of grain lay near concrete silos already filled to capacity. Some of the grain was covered against the elements, but some was not.

Tariffs? Over-production? Distribution problems? I do not claim to know, but over 40 million Americans live in poverty… 1 in 8 Americans are deemed “food insecure”. There is something wrong with this picture.

Peace everyone. Pete

20 thoughts on “The Backyard of Goodland, Kansas. July 2, 2019.

  1. Will Tomlin says:

    My grandmother’s family (farmers) moved to Goodland for a few years around 1940, before moving back just before WWll.

  2. Babe Wiley says:

    What a shame, Peter! The uncovered grain can’t even turn into silage, but in my day, wheat wasn’t used for silage anyway. Good gosh, what a waste. I noticed driving to church on Sunday that the corn crops along the road, for those who were fortunate enough to get their fields planted before our record-breaking rains started, the corn far exceeded the old adage, “knee high by the 4th of July” as it is 5′-6′ most places I saw. A boon to those lucky farmers for winter feed this year; to the others who flooded or washed out, their cupboards are bare this year. Back in the day when we had 10,000 acres leased in Wyoming and ran Hereford cow/calf pairs, the farmer’s luck equated to how much we paid for winter cow cake (feed pellets).

  3. Sounds like an adventure for sure. Enjoy.
    Steve and I started our train trip to Boston yesterday, we are now picking up and letting off passengers in Erie PA. We are two hours behind in schedule. Looking forward to the 4th in Boston.

  4. Pauline Schloss says:

    So happy to see you are writing–there is no better way to look into where you are and what you are doing. I know it will be an eventful trip. Keep your eye on the road, be safe and stay well.

  5. Pete,

    Very interesting. Think about this; with nearly unlimited time for your trip, you could increase the value of your travels if you follow this one rule:

    “Do not drive the slab unless it is unavoidable for a practical purpose”

    The slab is, of course, interstate highways. Try coming back on US-40 or US-50 or old Route 66, or any number of state highways. Take that from an old back roads traveler.

    Cheers, Steve

  6. Tom Grimaldi says:

    The Hudson Hornet reminds me of “Doc Hudson” from the 2006 Pixar film “Cars”, voiced by Paul Newman. Like you, Doc Hudson was wise beyond his years. Have fun!

  7. Loved the pictures of the cars… you can almost picture them in their glory eh? Or … perhaps … in a Steven King novel! But what I LOVED the most about this post (after of course your writing) was the post from Mom – she is so great!! She makes me smile every time she writes!!

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