Kansas is one long drawn out state when traveling through on one’s way to the curvy tree-lined roads of Arkansas. Between the flat landscape and the stink of the stockyards, crossing Kansas takes forever. Yes, we have the “amber waves of grain,” but there’s not much variety in the view.
My first long-distance ride on Big Red, in 1994, was with my friend Sharon, who rode her pearl white Pacific Coast. We were on our way to the Women on Wheels® Ride-In, that year in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
One night we stopped over in Dodge City, Kansas. Maybe it was all those western movies that lured us. Remember, the cowboys always had to “get out of Dodge”? Or, it may have been that the AAA tour book write-up, boasting a replica of the old western town, piqued our interest. Dodge City awaited us.
When we rolled into town, we found our motel right next to the stockyard. The stench filled my nostrils and brought tears to my eyes. Wow! The dust, stirred by the hooves of thousands of cattle, filled the atmosphere, nearly choking me. Several minutes after the initial shock to the senses, the odor miraculously subsided.
The old western town looked typical of a movie set. Saloons, stores, a bank, and a number of other buildings lined the main street, a dirt track. We ambled along and came upon a big barn that had been outfitted with a stage and benches and turned into a theatre. A show was about to start, so we hurried in and found aisle seats.
It’s been over 20 years, so I don’t exactly remember the show. But I do know that before too long, we’d both had enough. One of us spotted a nearby side door. Motioning to each other, we decided to slip out that door instead of walking back up through the rows of people on the benches.
We wanted to make a getaway without a big ruckus. As carefully and noiselessly as possible, we stood and eased toward the door, opened it, stepped out, and closed the door with care. But, we’d landed in a small fenced-in field full of cow pies. The cows noticed us and began to move in our direction. There was nothing to do but hustle back inside.
Luckily, that door hadn’t locked behind us. We walked back in to find the show stopped and the audience enjoying our scene and laughing at us city slickers. Red faced, we held our heads high and strode up the aisle and through the crowd to the main doors and outside. Somewhere on the street we found water and washed off our tainted motorcycle boots. It was time for us to mount up and get out of Dodge.
~ xoA ~