High Plains Drifting

I had more time today, so I could do a leisurely drive through Kansas and the Texas panhandle.  I took the little roads and sometimes I was the only one on them. The day was perfect, cool, but with a warm sun. The panhandle is high, sometimes as much as 3500 feet.  One reason I was enthusiastic about visiting the Texas high plains was that they are similar to the planalto – the South American high plains where Brasilia is located. Above are pronghorn antelope.  There were dozens of them just standing around. They are supposed to be the fastest animal alive over more than a short sprint. I don’t know. They weren’t running.I thought of running out there after them, but what if they didn’t run?

Above is Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz in Liberal, Kansas. They evidently have some kind of pageant. The names in back of the statues are previous Dorothys.

Above and below are cows at the watering hole. I thought they looked very picturesque, iconic with the old fashioned windmill pumping water. It was very quiet, so also imagine the squeaking of the windmill and the mooing of the cows on the empty and quiet plains.  I took a picture from a distance. As I walked up for a closer look, they all came to me. They were very friendly animals. The solid rust red stuff in on the little hill in the background is milo, or giant sorghum. I saw a lot of it on this trip. It ripens to that color. They use it as a feed crop on the dry plains, much like farmers use field corn in the East. I didn’t know that either, but an old man explained it to me. He also said that it was a very good year in the panhandle – more rain than usual. It still seemed dry to me, but the milo was pretty.

Below is the Texas state line, just a line on a map with no geographical feature to mark the change. I suppose lots of state lines are like that, but it seems more true here where it is so flat and featureless.

Below are mammoth bones found locally. They are now in the Museum of the High Plains. Admission is free and the guy running the place is extraordinarily friendly. He told me that they use the buildings for wedding receptions and community events and that the museum survives on that income as well as from the generosity of visitors. I bought a T-shirt and made a donation. 

Below is Lake Meredith. It is seasonally bigger or smaller. My photo didn’t properly catch the colors, but it was very attractive. Take my word. 

Finally, the picture below speaks for itself.  What’s the country coming to if you cannot take your gun to the hotel even in Texas.  Seen from another perspective, interesting that they need a sign.