April 26, 2009

The Purgatoire River starts west of Trinidad and drains into the Arkansas River near Las Animas. This is some of the more desolate and empty country in Colorado.


Montezuma, Kansas on a Saturday afternoon.


That's Hickok, Kansas on the horizon. Hickok is on the route of the old Santa Fe Trail.

I always ride through Johnson City, even though the highway has for years gone around.


At the Colorado state line the highway shifts from being north of the tracks to running south of the tracks. This is the view looking into Colorado.

It may be Mountain Time, but we're still not within view of any mountains.

Springfield, Colorado for the night.

The town was full of sculptures such as these.


I had the (hot) tamales at the Main Street Cafe.


Pritchett, Colorado was once an important rail stop. Few people live here now.


Kim, Colorado has an impressive array of school buildings; from grade school through high school. It's not likely that they need anything close to this much today.

Just outside Kim, Colorado 109 heads north from US-160.


This is high mesa country.

The Purgatoire River

El Rio de Las Animas Perdidas en Purgatorio
In 1594 - 1596 a band of Conquistadores, believed to have been in search of the fabulous Seven Cities of Cibola, or the village of Quivira, left Mexico on an ill-fated trek northward.  A quarrel arose between Franciso Bonilla and Juan Hermana, leaders of the expedition; the former was slain and Hermana assumed command. A priest accompanying the expedition refused to continue under the leadership of a murderer, and turned back with a handful of followers. Hermana and his men went on, and nothing was heard of them until a second expedition, following much the same route, came upon the bones of Hermana and his followers along the banks of the Purgatoire River. The expedition apparently had been massacred by Indians. As no priest accompanied the party, the men died without administration of the last rites of the Church, and their souls were presumably wandering forever in purgatory. The Spaniards therefore named the stream El Rio de Las Animas Perdidas en Purgatorio (the river of the souls lost in purgatory), a title shortened and subsequently corrupted, with the result that the names of Las Animas, Purgatoire, and Picketwire, the cowboy version of Purgatoire, are used interchangeably.
Colorado - Complied by Workers of the Writers' Program of the Work Project Administration. 1941

Eventually, Highway 109 reaches La Junta, Colorado. I stopped for breakfast.

Two eggs, over easy; don't forget the Tabasco.


La Junta is still a significant railway center.


Returning on U.S. Highway 50; this is Syracuse, Kansas.


Lakin, Kansas.

Pierceville, Kansas.


That's Highway 50 running along at the edge of the Arkansas river valley.  This is the route of the Santa Fe Trail. The old trail is still visible if you know what to look for.

Wilroads, Kansas and empty grain cars waiting for the harvest.

So far as I could tell, there really is no town of Wilroads (at least, not now).

Mullinville, Kansas for dinner.


I dodged rain most of the way back from Mullinville, and didn't hit anything too bad. However, I did spot one tornado near Garden Plain.  It was south of the road, moving north and east, and I was riding east.  It didn't seem that there was much chance that our paths would connect, but that cloud was incredible...

WICHITA, Kansas. (AP) - A tornado hit south-central Kansas on Sunday evening, damaging a home and leaving two people with minor injuries.
Sgt. Oscar Thomasson of the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Department said the tornado touched down in the Lake Afton area southwest of Wichita about 6:30 p.m.
He said two people were injured in a camping area along the lake when the camper they were in was flipped by the storm. A nearby home was also damaged, but no injuries were reported there.


last edit: 5/2/2009