September 23 took me through the rolling, forested hills of a far neighbour: southwestern Kansas. I find going through Dodge City, Garden City and their siblings to the west is the quickest way to get to Colorado from Oklahoma. I drove up through the Cimarron Valley, out of Enid and into the Jayhawk State, rather than going through the Oklahoma Panhandle, as I did last time. The Cimarron River was running a tad low.
Soon enough, I was marveling at the Red Hills of Kansas, south and east of Dodge City.
Medicine Lodge is the first community in a series of Kansas towns which figured large, in the story of the settlement of the West.
The centerpiece of this area, though, remains the domain of Marshal Matt Dillon and Wyatt Earp: Welcome to Dodge!
The Marshal was real,
and he had a little jail.
Everything else that is necessary to a viable community was also there- including school and church.
Old Dodge City’s commercial area was as lively as that of much larger towns back East. The pharmacy had, relatively speaking, a selection reminiscent of WalMart or CVS.
The saloons and restaurants were numerous.
In addition to the lawmen, even animals found their way into Dodge City lore.
Dodge City had a small Town Green.
Today’s Dodge is as upbeat and modern as any place in the USA. The philosophical mien of this town is self-reliance, as indicated by this meme on the wall of a local coffee house, Cup of Jones.
I like to be nice to people, but there is something to be said for the person who wrote this. I was soon to sit down with one of his/her kindred spirits, who is also one of my best friends.