Route and the Trail


Garden City, Kansas

Of course, Garden City has a huge grain elevator.  Guess what?  So does every other town in Kansas.  You'll soon tire of taking pictures of them.

Garden City has a tidy little downtown district.  I'm sure it would have looked much nicer under clear, sunny skies.

Just south of the railroad tracks on US 83, you'll find Finnup Park, which has two claims to fame.  First is the Lee Richardson Zoo, which is free, and second is the huge municipal swimming pool.  At 2.8 million gallons, Garden City claims that it's the world's largest free, concrete, municipal swimming pool.

After you've left town, headed east, a funny thing happens.  As you're driving through the relatively level land, you come to a brief rise in the landscape--probably no more than a 50-foot elevation gain.  As you're climbing this "hill", you see a sign that says something like "Scenic View, Next Right".  When I saw this, I thought that once I reached the top of the hill, there would probably be a dramatic drop-off on the other side, and I'd have a view of miles and miles of prairie.  I anxiously awaited the viewpoint, and when I arrived...

...this was the view.  A cattle feed lot.  I stepped out of my car to make sure I wasn't missing something (which was dangerous, since "next right" meant a wide spot at the edge of US 50).  The smell hit me instantly!  Cows stink, and a lot of cows in a very small space really stink a lot.  Suddenly I realized that I was standing on the edge of a busy road, in the freezing cold, breathing some very foul odors, all to enjoy the "scenic view" of a feed lot! 

What fun... and only about 400 miles more to go to Missouri. 


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Dave Lindsley in Tucson says, "Hey, I just learned of your site, and I've been really enjoying it. I grew up in far SW Kansas (SSE of Johnson City -- always referred to simply as 'Johnson' when I was a kid). I attended college in Hutchinson and in Emporia, so I was a frequent traveler on many of the road you mention, and several of your sights are (ahem, or "were") familiar landmarks for me, years ago. And it's not only the KS sites, either -- I recognize things from Colorado, and I expect to see familiar spots when I check out your Arizona trips! What fun!

But I think you may have gotten some of your notes confused. Regarding the big cattle feed lot on Highway 50 in Kansas, you describe it as being just outside the east side of Garden City, KS. In fact, I believe it is east of Dodge City. Quite clearly, I remember the hill you describe, and I remember my first time looking out over all those cattle. I don't know, but my suspicion is that the feed lot was substantially larger in the 1970s, when the sign was erected. At any rate, I have probably driven that stretch of highway well over one hundred times in my life, and although I can't be certain about a feed lot east of Garden, I can say absolutely that there is a large one just east of Dodge.

I hope this is useful information, and I hope you continue with your very interesting website. Thank you very much for creating it!"

Follow-up: I checked the maps, and I'm pretty sure the feed lot is just east of Garden City, since the pictures I took come just after the ones I took in Garden City, and just before Dodge.  That said, Dave is right: there is another feed lot east of Dodge City on Route 50.

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