We woke up this morning at sunrise and let the dogs run free in the grass. There was frost on the ground and our breath was white in the air. Waking songbirds were calling from the neighboring field. My favorite moments of this trip have been waking up in places we arrived after dark. Yesterday we drove 250 miles, from Colorado Springs to a county campground south of Lakin, Kansas. We descended 3000+ feet in elevation, crossed a state and entered a new timezone. We got pulled over for the first time by a bored Kansas cop who couldn’t see our license plate behind the bikes and decided to check us out. He was nice and sent us quickly on our way, with advise to drive right on past Lakin and carry on to Dodge City. But we got to the tiny town of Lakin right after the sun had set and decided to use the fleeting daylight to find the nearby campground. We turned off County Rd 26, slightly wary of the rugged dirt and dipping grooves of the road. We can’t turn around when we are towing the Saab, and our massive RV cannot take too much off-roading, so venturing into unknown terrain is always slightly nerve-racking. Luckily we saw a rundown wooden sign for the campground— so worn that you couldn’t read some of the words—and just as the last light drifted below the western horizon, we pulled into a grassy turnoff that we were fairly sure was a campsite.
We parked and went outside, decided it looked enough like a site, although it was somewhat hard to differentiate because it was just a turnoff on a large grassy field. The grill and picnic table we parked next to seemed to indicate it was a spot, and as we looked around further, we also realized we were completely alone. We wandered the field, letting the dogs run free in the gloaming light. They were so happy after a long day of traveling. At that point we were pretty spent, and shut everything down, turned in and watched the end of the warriors game on Jordan’s phone. It wasn’t until this morning that we could really see the place we had slept in.
The campground is nestled between some wetlands and farmland. We were still alone, and the sunrise cast the most gorgeous light on the yellow fields of grass. We were thrown by the quiet beauty of this place, and recalled the morning we woke up in the middle of nowhere Nevada, equally alone and enthralled with surprise at the landscape.
The time difference has us off an hour today, and around eleven o’clock we realized how much of the day we had already let slip away and decided to stay put until tomorrow. We will leave super early tomorrow and put in a long day, but it feels good to move slow on this Sunday and to soak in this new scenery. It is the most amazing convenience to let the dogs run free here. I even let shadow wander around our site this morning.
The Orionids meteor shower peaks tonight and hopefully the clouds will keep at bay because we are far from big city lights. We thought we would want to fly right through Kansas but one thing I’ve learned in the nearly 40 days we’ve been traveling is that new places rarely meet my expectations. How could we have known how pleasantly the fields of late October would shine in the low autumn sun? The freedom of moving (or in this case, not moving) gets sweeter the longer we do this. So today we will make a little home off the beaten path in Kansas, and tomorrow we will shoot through the rest of the state as we head toward Missouri’s Mark Twain National Forest.