May 5 - 7, 2013

Haxtun is in Phillips  county in northeast Colorado.  It  isn't the county seat, nor does it seem to (yet) have any residents who have taken the time to record its history on the Internet.  What it is, though, is the northern end of a stretch of highway CO-59 that I've not travelled.  So, this would be a trip to Haxtun, and then south along a new bit of road.

This would also be the break-in ride for a new Guzzi Stelvio.  This bike is identical to what I've been using in Europe for the past several years, so I'm already quite comfortable with it.


I'd be zigzagging west and north, generally heading towards the western Nebraska line.  One thing about navigation in Kansas, it doesn't really much matter if you go west then north, or the other way around.  When the roads are on the section lines, it's all the same distance.

Stafford, Kansas was founded in 1878 and is on the AT&SF railroad.

Great Bend, Kansas was founded in 1871 on the AT&SF not very far from Fort Zarah on the Santa Fe Trail.  As you might expect by the name, the Arkansas River has a "great bend" near here, and was a break-away point for wagons along the Santa Fe trail.

You generally cannot go too wrong with a Reuben sandwich.


Hoisington, Kansas.

Natoma, Kansas started out in 1888 (railroad), but doesn't seem to have incorporated itself until 1905.  As is almost always the case for towns created for the railroads, Main Street runs perpendicular to the tracks.  The nearest two-lane highway (KS-18) avoids the town completely.  You can almost always find the old (~1920s) highway down by the tracks.

Plainville, Kansas was built on the Union Pacific railroad.

Stockton, Kansas was founded in 1872 and is helped by being at the crossroads of US-183 and US-24.

Philipsburg, Kansas was founded in 1872, although it seems that this happened before there were any buildings.  Eventually, it became a repair shop on the Rock Island railroad.


Alma, Nebraska was settled in 1872 on the Burlington and Missouri railroad.  There's now a nearby reservoir, so the weekend campers help keep the town going.




It's always nice to be able to add to the 'dog in truck' collection.  The rib-eye was quite good, although I would have preferred a baked potato instead of fries.


Evidently, white is the favorite house color.




Stamford, Nebraska was incorporated in 1907.  It's the sort of town where somebody might drive his tractor to the local cafe for breakfast.

Beaver City, Nebraska was founded in 1872 along Beaver Creek.  The inventor of Kool-Aid (Edwin Perkins) lived nearby, and he seems to be the most distinguished (nearby) resident (so far).  You'll see more towns in Nebraska built around  the 'town square' concept than you do in Kansas.  Generally, if a town is built on the railroad, it'll be a straightforward grid system.  Otherwise, there's a good chance that the town will be laid out with a center square (where the courthouse is hoped to be built).

McCook, Nebraska was founded in 1882.

Palisade, Nebraska was founded in 1879 on the Frenchman River.  The location of the town shuffled a bit in order to be adjacent to the Burlington railroad, when it came through.  During the 1940s, a POW camp was built for German prisoners (who were used as farm workers).

Wauneta, Nebraska was founded in 1877.

Imperial, Nebraska was founded in 1885.


Don't expect the Rocky Mountains to appear when you cross into Colorado from Nebraska.

The new Stelvio ran perfectly.  That tank gives me a range of over 300 miles.  Nice.

Holyoke, Colorado.

Chips are more dependable than fries.  That's a patty-melt.


Haxtun, Colorado.  I have arrived.



Heading south along CO-59.  This is a new road for me, although it pretty much looks the same as all the others within a 100 mile radius.

Yuma, Colorado was founded in 1889.

Miles and miles and miles of straight road and no traffic (and no cell phone reception, either).

Building a house on this land must have made sense at one time.  You can only assume that somebody thought it would rain more than it does.

Seibert, Colorado is along the Interstate (I-70), but that's not enough.


Kit Carson, Colorado.

Kit Carson, namesake of the famous western scout, guide, trapper and Indian fighter, was founded on the Eastern Plains in 1838. In 1872 Kit Carson developed into a booming commercial center. The ideal location of Kit Carson encouraged the development of trade and supply outposts, providing the opportunity for stage companies and trading outfits to prosper. The town of Kit Carson had two locations. The original site was located near the site where Kit Carson traded with the Arapahoe and Cheyenne Indians. The present site was determined by the arrival of the railroad. Destroyed by fire three times, twice by the torchesof Indians and once by carousing cowboys, the determined citizens of the town showed their desire to survive by rebuilding. Kit Carson was the railroad terminus for the Union Pacific, and because of this fact, many opportunities became available to the future citizens of the town. The building of the railroad encouraged farmers and ranchers to settle in the area. The railroad made Kit Carson an important shipping point for cattle in the 1870's because of the connecting route to LaJunta. In fact Kit Carson became one of the largest cattle shipping points between Denver and Kansas City. The railroad brought in foreign dignitaries, such as the Grand Duke Alexis of Russia. The Grand Duke hunted in Kit Carson and was accompanied by his military escort, General George Armstrong Custer on January 20, 1872. Later Kit Carson was visited by Teddy Roosevelt as well. Kit Carson covers an area of 1030 square miles served by dry land farms and cattle ranches.

--Kit Carson High School website

Eads, Colorado was founded in 1887 on the Missouri Pacific Railroad.  James Eads was a structural engineer for the railroad (he built the Eads Bridge in St Louis).

Wiley, Colorado was founded in 1909.

I passed through the center of Lamar and the newer Hotels, and stayed at the old Blue Goose motel.


My dinner that evening...


...and breakfast the next morning in Springfield.


Vilas, Colorado was incorporated in 1888.

Walsh, Colorado was incorporated in 1928.

These tracks are not much used.


Manter, Kansas was established along the AT&SF railroad.  Needless to say, these small towns typically do not have paved streets.

Riding south to Big Bow.

The Big Bow, Kansas post office was established in 1925 and closed in 1981.  This is Main Street.  Whatever commercial buildings were once here, are now gone.

Ulysses, Kansas was founded in 1885.  In 1909, under the financial weight of bonds they could not pay, the whole town moved two miles away and started fresh.  Bond holders were left holding the bag (but, probably deserved what they got).

Montezuma, Kansas was founded in 1887.

Montezuma is a clean town with many positive qualities not found in most small towns of its size, such as paved streets, medical services, a grocery store, a city library and weekly newspaper. In fact, with the exception of a clothing store, most everything can be found in Montezuma.

--Montezuma civic web site

It's an unusual restaurant that doesn't have any windows in the front, but the food is good.


Ensign, Kanas was founded in 1887, but moved in 1912 to be next to the Santa Fe Railroad.

I'm on the Ensign-Ford road.  For those in-the-know, this is the shortcut to avoid the nuisance of passing through Dodge City if you want to connect US-400 with US-56.

Greensburg was founded in 1887 and was on the AT&SF railroad as well as the Rock Island.  Famously, in 2007 a force-5 tornado destroyed nearly the entire town.


A very large water well was hand-dug for the Santa Fe railroad.  For many years, this single attraction was the most famous thing about Greensburg.  After the tornado, a new building and museum was built over the "Big Well." 





last edit: 5/8/2013