Saturday, July 19, 2008

Where the Coyotes Howl

Since I was thoroughly fried earlier this week, guess we had a great time in western Kansas last weekend.

After a six hour drive Friday, we spoke in tiny Atwood, Kansas, at the Aberdeen Restaurant. This beautiful building that must date back to the 1880's is being restored to former opulence by our good friends, Jeff and Alice Hill. There is a really cool saloon attached to the dining room as well. The forty or so in attendance seemed to enjoy the talk but it was Deb's hillbilly anecdotes that drew the most laughter. That night we stayed with the Hills at their Beaver Creek Ranch nestled among the cactus and yucca and coyotes.

Over bourbon, Jeff noted that he had seen several mountain lions on his place, including one so close (ten yards) that there is absolutely no mistaking the fact. Our host also has seen, of all things, several elk, which now seem to be roaming western Kansas again. Porcupines, too.

Saturday, after Jeff gave us a tour of Beaver Creek Valley, which included an adobe still inhabited, we took in two performances of the film, Bloody Dawn, at the refurbished Jayhawk Theater downtown. Despite a sparsely populated region, the matinee was nearly packed. The evening show was packed. What great and energetic organizers are the folks in Rawlins County, Kansas!

As a sidebar, the parents of former governor, Mike Hayden, were at our Friday night talk. Easy to see where Mike got his smarts and tenacity. Though getting on in years, these parents were something. In the first issue of our magazine, Deb did an article on the Governor and his stint in Vietnam. This issue sells for $50 and we only have a few left. Still, this was a no-brainer and we gladly gave the couple a copy.

In sum, the folks out there in Atwood and northwest Kansas are some of the most decent and hospitable people on the face of the planet. For nearly 48 hours we felt as if we were surrounded by nothing but family and friends. Must admit, sitting here right now: A part of me remains out there on those high, dry plains "where the coyotes howl and the wind is free."


Future Car of the Day