Fire Cloud...
An irregular marking on the exterior of Native American pottery: usually resulting from burning fuel coming in direct contact with the vessel during firing

Monday, 14 April 2008

Good Reasons to Get Out of Dodge

Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado

We’re not in Kansas anymore. We’re at 8200 feet in the middle of a huge high valley surrounded by the snow-capped Rocky Mountains. There are four nearby mountains that exceed 14,000 feet.

We spent yesterday looking at Dodge City in Kansas. The main employer seems to be Cargill Foods. They truck in 10,000 head of cattle a day to be slaughtered and processed. There are massive cattle concentration camps everywhere where cattle are packed in feedlots to fatten up amid gigantic piles of stinking black dung.

Dodge is a poor, sad, shabby place now. The saloons and bawdy houses are gone. The buffalo hunters, steely eyed lawmen, gamblers and cattle drive cowboys are only a memory. The old Front Street stores and saloons burned down long ago.

We visited the Boot Hill Museum. The old gravesites have been preserved. It’s the kind of place you go to see to be sure you haven’t missed anything. The answer is no. That’s about it for Dodge.

This morning the stars are out, the sky is clear and the moon is down. I glance up and see the Dipper, the Navigator’s Triangle, the Milky Way burning a swath across the sky and Sagittarius in the South.
The temperature warmed up into the seventies yesterday and dropped to 22 F. during the night. The dunes here are the tallest in North America. They are most beautiful at sunrise and sunset when the colors and shadows form strange shapes.

We’ll do some hiking in the Park today and then take the Toyota on a daytrip to Taos, New Mexico Tuesday. Taos is only 100 miles south. We might not have another chance to see it.

Mrs. Phred said she loved me last night after I got the satellite tuned in so she could watch tennis. She reminded me that I had threatened to make her set up the satellite because I thought it was a bad idea. “Right! Like that’s going to work!” I told her. We laughed.

With longitude, latitude, azimuth and altitude precisely established in three widely separated locations, I can easily find the satellite now from anywhere.

Here are a few more pictures of the dunes and surrounding area.

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