Zebulon Montgomery Pike Trail to Red River, Arkansas Journey 1806 — 1807

Day 21: September 4th, 2004 Great Bend — Dodge City

Breakfast is again at Perkins. Today the cheap breakfast specials are no longer valid, because it is Saturday and therefore a weekend. Now I have to pay $2 more for the same breakfast as yesterday!

After my usual stop at the next gas station I drive on Highway 56 to Larned to reach the endpoint of my yesterdays trip.

River Rd, KS River Rd, KS
River Rd, KS
150th Rd, KS 150th Rd, KS
150th Rd, KS

I cross the Arkansas River on Highway 19 and then turn onto some backroads, which take me along the south banks of the river.

But unfortunately there is no chance to see the river, because the roads are running too much within the country. Additionally there are growing thick bushes and trees along the river banks. Therefore there is no chance to have a view of the Arkansas River. But as the soil is already pretty sandy here and the river is on low water, I doubt there would be much water to see. The river would mainly flow beneath the sandy soil.

I meander on the backroads to Kinsley, where I reach Highway 50 and cross on this one and Highway 183 two times the Arkansas River. From Highway 183 a promising backroad along the river exits from the highway. But the soil is already very sandy here.

Backroad, KS Backroad, KS
Backroad, KS

First, I am able to proceed very well. But soon I find myself in a crisscross of backroads, which all end in open fields. None of them follows the roads in my map. While studying my map two young guys in a pickup approach me. They ask me, if I got lost. I answer, that I am not quite sure and show them on my map, where I planned to go. They explain to me, that there is no road along the river. All roads around here have been built by the local farmers and ranchers and they are all on private property. The only chance for me is to exit the same way, as I entered this region — what a bummer…

It seems like these two guys just returned from hunting, because they have two guns in their truck. I say thank you and proceed. Only a short time later they already pass me, now with a third hunter in the truck. We wave to each other, then they are gone. I drive my way back to Highway 183 back slowly and carefully to save my little truck.

I follow this highway until a sharp left turn, where I take now some backroads to get not too far off from my planned route. With the help of my precise maps I am able to navigate around this big farmers area. Eventually I arrive with a couple of hours delay at that point, where I originally planned to leave this farmers area.

On some backroads I reach now Ford. Then I follow the railroads up to Wilroads. This part of the road is again one of the most terrible wash–board roads, where you are almost rattled apart. Either you go 30mph or 5. With all other speeds your truck will be shaken apart. I decide to do the latter, because I still have plenty of time and I already have my motel room reservation.

Just past Wilroads I reach pavement and cross the Arkansas River once more. There you are even able to see some water again. Then I pass Fort Dodge on Highway 400, which I originally planned to visit. But to my surprise I have to realize, that this is a veterans home and not a point for sight seeing.

Therefore I directly continue to Dodge City. After a brief detour I finally reach my Super 8 Motel around 5pm. The motel is already completely booked at this time! Lucky me that I made reservations!

There are no more rooms on first floor available. Therefore I am forced to go upstairs. Of all things this motel has a third floor, where I got my room for tonight. But therefore no one will tromp on my head — that’s also worth something. Then I check my video taping of today.

Afterwards I ask at the motel, if they can recommend any steakhouse around here. They tell me, that the Case’s Steakhouse, which also advertises on the motel room key, should be really good. I am a bit skeptical, because most of the times, where restaurants do advertising at the motel, these restaurants are either overpriced or just mediocre. But at least I will receive a 10 percent discount when showing my room key.

Therefore I give it a try. The restaurant is already pretty full and I am barely able to find a parking spot. But as it looks right now, they have an event in another room. The steak is really great! Only my server is a little bit slow. Beside that, I can really recommend this restaurant. Around half past seven I pay and drive back to my motel

  • Sights
  • General
  • Breakfast: Perkins, Great Bend
  • Dinner: Casey’s Steakhouse, Dodge City
  • Motel: Super 8, Dodge City
  • Distance: 102 miles