I headed west Thursday morning on I-70 to go rock hunting. As I entered I-70 at Auburn road the fall colors were worthy of a picture.
It was a beautiful fall morning but the weather forecast was for strong winds from the north. I hadn't gone far and the winds began to increase and by the time I arrived at Salina for fuel they were really blowing. At Salina I went west on old 40 highway which is K-140. I came to Brookville and I believe this is the old hotel made famous with the great fried chicken they used to serve. The Brookville Hotel is now in Abilene.
I came across this old farmstead and you wonder about the people that used to live there.
I found my first rocks at Mushroom Rock Park.
There was a windmill just over the hill.
Actually there were two!
More of the scenes and rocks.
This park is located south of a town that used to be Carneiro which means "sheep fold" and was founded in 1882.
I came to Kanopolis which is home to Ft Harker.
They also have a Drive-in theater, something you don't see much of anymore.
The Ft Harker museum was not open.
For more information about Ft Harker go here:
I ate lunch in Ellsworth home of Ft Ellworth.
I headed west out of Ellworth to near Wilson then came south to Holyrood. Some scenes along the way.
I came to Cheyenne Bottoms and rode around in there on the rough wash boarded roads.
There were quite a few birds but since the wind was so strong it was not a great day for viewing.
There was lots of dust in the air.
This dry wet land was where most of the dust was coming from.
There were some wildflowers growing.
I went to the Cheyenne Bottoms visitor center and spent a little time then headed into Great Bend as I a had a motel reservation there. After I got checked in I decided to look up a niece that lives in Great Bend. Their place was easy to find and Holly had just arrived home from work and her husband Bryan Gilliam was also there so I had a nice visit with them.
On Friday morning I awoke to a cool crisp fall day and no wind! I headed northwest on K-96 to Rush Center, then north to LaCrosse. I went west on K-4 through McCracken and turned north on K-147 towards Cedar Bluff State Park. The water was deep blue and not many trees around. The Smoky River flows into the lake.
I then came to my second "Rock" along the Smoky.
This is a BOD marker that marks the Butterfield Overland Dispatch a stage coach line that ran from Atchison to Denver.
There are many markers along this trail and most are close to the Smoky River on the north side.
I went a few miles north on K-147 and found a good gravel road heading west. By looking at the map it should be 9 miles west to 283 hwy. Just before I get to the highway I see this church.
A closer view.
Now Castle rock is west and by looking at the map and some information I had I should go a couple miles north and find a sign pointing west. I didn't find it so I went south and came to the Smoky so I knew it had to be north. I went back to that church and there was a good road on the north side of it so I headed west. Now here's where things get a little sketchy. By looking at the map Castle Rock is half way between Collyer and Quinter, only about 15 miles south. So I am coming in from the east and start to see some rock formations.
They don't get close real fast and I wonder if I can get to them. This is the Badlands of Kansas!
I go as far west as I think I should then went south a mile or so then west again the first chance I get and come to this sign. Now this is the sign I thought I was going to find by the church.
So this is the road going in from the south.
I stopped here to check out the the trail ahead and decided to walk to the top. Good choice!
Deep ruts a steep incline. Four wheelers had been going up.
My third rock, Castle Rock from above.
View looking up.
I pushed the bike back down the hill a ways then took the trail to the left. It is not for the faint of heart. Had I walked down it a ways I probably wouldn't had ridden down but once you start you are committed. There were deep ruts and wash outs. One trail would end and you had to turn on the other to avoid complete wash outs. My bike sits high off the ground but I bottomed out several times. I made it down though.
And so did the bike!
The first pictures were taken from up there.
Castle Rock up close.
Prairie and Kansas Bad Lands.