Wednesday, September 19, 2018

ROAD TRIP #history #SweetAmericanaSweethearts

Have you ever experienced that road trip where you have to get there and get back, and have no time to stop and visit the history that is flying by? Recently I did just that on my way to the Western Fictioneers Convention in Oklahoma City, OK. So, I've decided to write a post about what I wished I'd had time to see. At least with some research, I can share what might have been. 

Heading south on Interstate 25 through Colorado I passed Pueblo, Trinidad and went over Raton Pass. All three are part of the Latin American Heritage of Colorado. I know Bat Masterson was city marshal of Trinidad, and Pueblo had its beginnings as a commercial fort. Raton Pass was an early crossing on the Santa Fe Trail. (for more on Raton Pass Raton Pass History)

Capulin Volcano
I headed east along the northern part of New Mexico and Texas.  As anyone who knows Texas, they have so many wonderful historic markers along their roads. Some day I'll read most. Of course the route also took me by Capulin Volcano National Monument. (more on this volcano can be found here: Capulin )

Historic Marker - Texas
Hitting Oklahoma City, I had the chance to visit the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum and so what they had on display. The rest of the time was spent with other Western authors and listening to their shared expertise. 

Leaving I headed north toward Dodge City. I drove through the lands that the Indians made their own after being driven to the area. I traveled part of the Chisholm Trail. 

In Kansas, I saw the sign for St. Jacob's Well. I had no idea what it was until I did a search. Pretty interesting. St. Jacob's Well

Of course, who hasn't heard of Dodge City, Kansas. The end of the trail drive. The wild and woolly west with Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson and all the others who passed through the town. 

Once I made it to Highway 50 heading west, I was traversing The Santa Fe Trail and Scenic and History Byway Auto Tour Route. It is a lonely stretch of road, but what a time to take in all I'd missed along the way. (Santa Fe Trail- Mountain Route)

Marker in Coolidge, KS
I drove through Syracuse and Coolidge, Kansas. There was something about that area that drew me to it. In fact it was the only place I stopped to take a photo. Since it was Sunday, there was nothing open. When I did some research, I found out why. (Hamilton County Kansas) For those who would enjoy deeper research (Bibliography of Hamilton County) For some history on Coolidge, which from what I understand was a wild place in the 1880s. (Coolidge History) The one thing I really loved, from the site "Coolidge has a city ordinance that prohibits women from riding naked on horseback. Yes this is left over from the late 1880's indicating the wild west issues that occurred with Trail City (headlined in the 1880's as the wickedest town in the west) only two miles away." 

I wondered what the travel would have been like for those who traveled the Santa Fe trail to trade with those businesses in New Mexico. What was it like for Zebulon Pike as he explored the region at the behest of the government? Looking at the land and its features, I wondered at the cattle drives as the made their way north, looking for water, going up and down the rolling land of Northern Oklahoma and Southern Kansas. The twelve hundred plus miles I drove in two day, how long would it have taken a man or woman on horseback? What of the towns that began as someones dreams, some of which grew and others that faded or are just barely holding one?

So the next time a Road Trip comes up, I may have to take a few extra days and stop along the way.  What would your dream trip be?

Building in Coolidge, KS

In the novel "Josie's Dream", Josie travels from her home in Iowa to the plains of Colorado in search of the place she will call 'home'.  Here is a short excerpt:

Breathing deeply of the independence she felt, Josie reached down to pick up her cases. Looking around, Josie took in the small town. It was just as she had dreamed, the main street with its business buildings standing like sentinels to keep the town safe, help it grow. Houses, some with fences, some without, ringed the outer reaches of the area.
Since corresponding with Dr. Harriett Leonard, a past student of her medical school and dear friend, despite the difference in age, Josie had been dreaming of coming to Colorado. Dr. Leonard had offered to let her work at the Spa in Manitou Springs where Harriett was the proprietor, but Josie wanted to create a practice in a smaller town, where people really needed her.
Now here she was in Kiowa Wells, on the eastern plains of Colorado just a few miles from the railhead at Kit Carson. Her biggest obstacle now was finding a place to set up her medical practice.
Despite his reservations, her father gave her a medical bag, equipped with the basics. “Something to remind you of this commitment, your Hippocratic oath,” were his parting words.

Her parents, though still in Iowa, were in her heart. Still, she knew it had been time to leave. While others of her friends were getting married, she had gone to medical school, her path clear to her.
Josie's Dream (Grandma's Wedding Quilts Book 9) by [Raines, Angela, Quilts, Grandma's Wedding, Americana, Sweet]
Amazon e-book purchase here

Doris Gardner-McCraw -
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History
Member of National League of American Pen Women,
Women Writing the West,
Pikes Peak Posse of the Westerners

Angela Raines - author: Where Love & History Meet
For a list of Angela Raines Books: Here 
Photo and Poem: Click Here 
Angela Raines FaceBook: Click Here


  1. As usual, Doris, you provide such interesting reading that makes me want to jump in the car and go there. I hope on your next trip you do take a few extra days to explore the history of the area. Imagine the blog you'd write from that research! When we drove from Alberta to New Brunswick and then returned, stopping in Niagara Falls, there was so much to see we just couldn't do it all. We said we'd come back, but so far that hasn't happened, we just made a beeline home with four young boys and school starting soon. Some day is a word I've often murmured.

    1. Thank you for the kind words Elizabeth. Bucket List is also a phrase I say often. I do hope you do get back to Niagara Falls. There is just so many beautiful and historic places waiting to be explored. Doris