Forts, Zebras, Wind & More...

Another interesting and varied day was our Road Trip Day #7 and it all began at a Fort.

Out literally in the middle of nowhere, sits the Castle of the Plains. Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site features a reconstructed 1840s adobe fur trading post on the mountain branch of the Santa Fe Trail where traders, trappers, travelers, and the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes came together in peaceful terms for trade.



Congress declared Bent's Old Fort a National Historic Site in 1960 to tell the story of how the fort helped open up the west to the United States. The Fort sits on the Santa Fe National Historic Trail, a trail of international commerce. Trade brought white man, Plains Tribes and Mexicans together. Relationships developed and their lives were forever changed.
What's truly amazing about this place is that when William Bent left, the entire fort was burned to the ground. One guest, Lt. James Abert documented the fort in 1846. In the 1980s, the Park Service painstakingly and quite accurately recreated the original with Abert's architectural drawings. It was truly incredible. Even the rooms were decorated "as they were".

Bent's Old Fort was an instrument of Manifest Destiny and a catalyst for change. The company's influence with the Plains Indians and its political and social connections in Santa Fe helped pave the way for the occupation of the West and the annexation of Mexico's norther province. Its trade with the Indians introduced a level of technology that for better and worse, irrevocable altered their culture. And the fort's immediate effects on the land and water were signs of wider environmental change to come. Definitely an interesting history lesson was learned here.
So after leaving the fort, we turned a bend and see these guys. I had to stop, first just to see if I really saw what I thought I did and secondly to take photos.

I could find nothing about this farm. I will just have to delight in knowing not why they are there, just that they are... and I have the photos to prove it.
We stopped briefly in the darling town of Lamar, CO (1886), one of many along the old Santa Fe Trail.
We visited here so I could see this statue. The Madonna of the Trail honors the pioneer mothers of covered wagon days on the Santa Fe Trail. This monument is one of only 12 in the world and proudly stands at Lamar's Santa Fe Railway Park. It was dedicated September 24,1928 by the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution. Lamar was chosen for a statue because it was located on the very important Old Santa Fe Trail highway. "A Place Of Historical Lore: Noted For Indian Lodges, Shelter from storm and heat, Bivouac for expeditions, scene of many councils."
Steve stopped to stand by this rotor blade. The area is home to one of the world’s largest wind power projects. This region is dotted with huge wind turbines.
If you didn't know it all ready, I'm a sucker for kitsch. This old gas station was so dang cool (though I'm very opposed to removing things that should be left in nature). Built in the 1930s by William Brown, the station was made entirely of petrified wood. Brown obtained stole his unusual building material from wooded hills 20 miles south of here. Some of the petrified logs are up to 30 feet long.
Only three month’s after the Brown’s station opened, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! mentioned it in a column. The caption read “The Petrified Wood House, Built Entirely of Wood Turned to Stone.” Brown had a sign made with this caption and placed it on the front of the station.Brown owned the station until he died in 1957. The little building has not been a gas station for several decades but I had to stop for a photo of “The World’s Oldest Building.” Fun stuff.
The remainder of the day was putting miles on the truck and cruising through spectacular farm land. This crop had me perplexed and it was everywhere! By the way, Steve knew what it was, of course.
This colorful crop is Sorghum. As a matter of fact it was Whole Grains Council's 'Grain of the Month' for June. Sorghum, a cereal grain, is the fifth most important cereal crop in the world, largely because of its natural drought tolerance and versatility as food, feed and fuel. We continue to see new things and learn great lessons on this road trip East.


“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure.
There is no end to the adventures we can have
if only we seek them with our eyes open.”
– Jawaharial Nehru

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2 comments:

Nesbit Library rocks! said...

How did Steve know that was sorghum?!

Karen Booth said...

Zebras and a Petrified Wood Building??? Dang good thing you had the pictures to prove those claims!

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