Junction City, Kansas to Alma, Nebraska
We left Junction City this morning and as we left town we passed miles and miles of federal land that belongs to Fort Riley; home of the Big Red 1: America’s First Infantry.
All week long, everywhere we went we saw strong, healthy First Infantry soldiers, all wearing that iconic Big Red 1. It made me proud just to be among them. Junction City is a real Army town. One day we went to lunch at the Family Buffet (best Chinese buffet we have been to in a while!) and there happened to be a gathering, an award luncheon for about 40 or so Big Red 1 soldiers. They were a joy to watch. Lunch over, when we went to pay our bill there was a problem with the restaurant’s credit card machine that caused a huge line of people, mostly infantry, waiting to check out. We stood in the middle of the crowd….surrounded by camouflage…in fact, I think we were the only ones who were visible! Anyway, everyone waited patiently and motioned for us to go first when the problem was corrected. They were all so young and vital…..I was afraid for them……knowing that they’d be the first to go to the next hot spot in the world.
Driving west, we followed Kansas Route 24 – a great road that takes you through northwest Kansas farm land. As we traveled we began to see the first real signs of the old west. Small towns have that “false front” western look and acre after acre of cattle. But the highlight of our trip, just before we headed north toward Nebraska, was a stop in the small town of Cawker, Kansas to see The World Largest Ball Of Twine.
The ball was started by Frank Stoeber in 1953 – just something he decided to do. Today it weighs 17,886 pounds and contains approx. 7,801,766 feet of sisal (whatever that is) twine. His motto was: “Thrift + Patience = Success”.
As I was admiring this large ball of twine, a woman who was sitting near the ball studying it quietly said, “Ya know….there is a bigger ball now. It’s in Europe”. Well thanks a lot for spoiling my visit! I left hoping that the lady did not burst more bubbles by belittling what poor Frank Stoeber had done.
Our next tourist stop was in Portis, Kansas to visit the memorial of Melvin “Tubby” Miller. Tubby is the animator behind the Looney Tunes legend: Porky Pig! The memorial was erected by Warner Bros. Inc., in appreciation for a job well done. Sorry to say it wasn’t really picture worthy.
We passed into Nebraska and had no trouble finding our home for the next week. We are camped at Methodist Cove on Harlan County Lake near Alma, Nebraska. This is an Army Corps of Engineer park so rates are low for seniors….only $10.00 a night for a very nice 50-amp waterside site.
Thanks For Riding Along,