I figured that I should stop at the geographic center of the contiguous US since I was driving through Kansas. Right? Right? Right. It was only an hour and a half out of my way, after all….
After leaving that stop, I followed 36 to visit the Hollenberg Pony Express Station. It was another of those relatively inexpensive, short museums that is perfect for a stop on a road trip. Mr. Hollenberg had a really good setup. For the time that the Pony Express was running (only 18 months, apparently), he had the Pony Express, the wagon trains (California and Oregon trails), military (for the Civil War), and…something…I forget what the last group was. But assuming he could keep up supply, the demand was walking straight past his door. He had a smithy, a garden, the stable of horses for the Pony Express (and a place for changing riders when the route was modified for that).
There was a sign posted that said that people often slept in their wagons. I did a rough measurement of this wagon and it was about 3 feet wide, 15 feet long, and 1.5 feet high. With all of their belongings in the wagon with them, I had a hard time imagining where they would sleep. It wasn’t exactly roomy…and taking all their stuff out just to sleep seemed like a lot of work.
I asked the girl who was manning the desk about it and she said that, just like people now, people then had a variety of ways to handle the logistics. Some people would pack their belongings in crates and make a relatively flat layer to sleep on. Some people would use the wagon to support a cover (like a canvas) like a tent – either from the side like a modern camper or over a jacked up tongue. She also said that some people who took the trails wrote back to family members and told them not to pack boxes because they were so heavy, but put things in sacks instead. We both laughed at the thought of what a lumpy bed that would be.
I have to say, in spite of what people say, I thought Kansas had its appeal. Sure, it’s not Colorado, but neither is it Florida (hi, Grandma!)….
I made it all the way to Illinois, so I thought I had a pretty good chance of making it home in one more day’s driving.
There are more pictures here.
The following are the posts in this series:
- Traveling West
- Activities at the Ranch
- Wildlife at the Ranch
- Las Vegas with Dad
- Jean’s Promotion
- Visiting Jean & Family
- Return to the Ranch (Friday)
- Return to the Ranch (Saturday)
- Teturn to the Ranch (Sunday)
- Return to the Ranch (Monday)
- Nevada and Utah
- Utah and Colorado
- Colorado, Kansas, Missouri
- Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Home