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Roadtrip Alert! Kansas Frontier Military Scenic Byway
Parents of a close friend no longer take long vacations. Instead, they leave early in the morning and drive a loop, returning home in the evening, always in Kansas. I thought of them when we turned out of our driveway at 8:00 am recently. Our destination is Riverton, Kansas, about as far as the Kansas Frontier Military Scenic Byway will take us before entering Oklahoma. We have an appointment to pick up a hay trailer and we need to move along with few stops to get back by late afternoon.
At Globe we turn east on Hwy 56, also a historic route that roughly follows the Santa Fe trail. We briefly stop at the site of John Brown's Black Jack Battlefield near Baldwin City. A battlefield reenactment will take place there on June 5th. We'll be there. I am sure excitement will ensue for me to report. http://worldonline.media.clients.elli...
To connect with KS Hwy 68 which will take us east to the Scenic Byway, we travel south through Wellsville, population 1,600. Although born in Kansas City, Chely Wright, award winning country artist, calls this small burg her hometown. We know because there is a sign and a street named for her. It is good they continue to be proud and supportive of their talented native.
Now on Hwy 68, we pass the Somerset Ridge Winery. Free tasting. Welcome. We seldom pass one of these signs without stopping. We will come back to try Kansas Buffalo Red and Aphrodite among many others.
Next is the Louisburg Cider Mill and their delicious cider and cider doughnuts. No way will we go by without stopping here.
The Kansas Scenic Hwy 69 runs north and south along the east side of the state. It follows the route used by the military to transport troops and supplies to forts. This route was more than a supply transportation route. Before Kansas became a state, it was Indian territory and the military outposts and trail were used to keep outsiders from encroaching the Indian Nation land. When Kansas opened up for settlement, the route served as a battle line between the slave state of Missouri and the free state of Kansas. The largest cavalry battle in the Civil War and the only major battle fought in Kansas was at The Mine Creek Battlefield in 1864.
We have previously visited both the Mine Creek Battlefield site, museum and Fort Scott, both right along Hwy 69. Very interesting and highly recommended. Be sure and take the tour and hear the Ranger's talk at Fort Scott’s beautifully renovated post.
Just north of Pittsburg is Frontenac. It is there we see signs announcing chicken restaurants ahead. Chicken Annie and Chicken Mary, two somewhat famous fried chicken restaurants, in the area. Some would say if you want good fried chicken, either of these two is the place to go.
Don't miss the new rest stop at the Junction of 69 and Hwy 52. It has an educational exhibit inside and a walking trail outside with informative markers. Just south of the rest stop on an access road is historical town of Trading Post.
We pass a sign that informs us Big Brutus is only 13 miles west. I really do want to see this huge mining implement. But not this time as our trailer is only a few miles on down the road and we have to pull it home.
Unbelievable for us to have passed all these tempting stops and still arrive on time at Riverton. The trailer is the type which “dumps” big round bales off the side. According to the impliment dealer there, the father of the current owner of the manufacturing plant in this very small, unincorporated community in the extreme southeast corner of Kansas was the first to build this popular type of trailer. We hook on and start back the way we came.
Wine, Apple Cider, Civil War reenactments, and an oversized back hoe. An interesting side of Kansas we'll visit again.