Saturday, May 8, 2010

Leavenworth County "Dare to do Dirt"

While in Leavenworth for the Kansas Sampler Festival during the weekend of May 1-2, 2010, I had the opportunity to travel around Leavenworth County for my quest of doing at least 25 miles of unpaved roads in each county of Kansas. I have now finished 80 of the 105 counties in Kansas.

This is a map of the area showing my GPS track laid out on the Leavenworth County area. I travelled about 135 miles in the county, and of course it was not all unpaved roads. For a guy from the flatland area of Kansas, it was especially nice to take some up and down roads in this the Glacial Hills region of the state.

On Saturday, May 1, I left the city of Leavenworth and headed north. A pleasant surprise for me was the area around the settlement of Kickapoo, in far northeast Leavenworth County. I visited the town memorial cemetery, then stopped at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church. At this site in 1836, the first Catholic Church in Kansas was built of logs for the Kickapoo Indians then in this area.

From Kickapoo, I travelled across the hills near the northern border of Leavenworth County, first passing over a bridge over Little Plum Creek in an especially scenic area, and then found an abandoned iron through truss bridge over Stranger Creek in the northwest corner of the county. This bridge was abandoned in place and a new concrete bridge was built nearby over the creek.
I then ended up in the town of Easton, where I admired the several old limestone buildings in town and found another small abandoned truss bridge behind the former school at the northwest corner of town.

From Easton, I headed south across rural areas of the county with many great views of hills, streams and barns. I drove through the Jarbalo area, then headed to the Tonganoxie area. I found Camp Mt Hermon, just west of Tonganoxie, which is a Church of the Brethren camp. Then, I headed into Tonganoxie for dinner.

I had a fantastic KC Strip steak dinner at Bichelmeyer's Steakhouse in Tonganoxie. It was served with cottage fries which were crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside. The steak was cooked medium just as I ordered, and was so good with a great flavor and quite tender. I enjoyed the atmosphere and the serving staff was constantly tending to me. All in all, a great experience and I would recommend Bichelmeyer's to anyone.

For more information about Bichelmeyer's see their web page:

From Tonganoxie, I headed east and north back to Leavenworth across rural areas, but stopped to look at the Fairmount area along the way.

On Sunday, May 2, I left Leavenworth, and after escaping a thunderstorm, I took a drive across the southern part of Leavenworth County.

I visited Stranger Creek Cemetery northeast of Linwood, then went into Linwood for a visit. I noticed a beautiful brick Basehor / Linwood middle school building, and old cemetery in town and an iron truss railroad bridge over Stranger Creek just southeast of town.

After leaving Linwood, I continued west near the Kansas River, and drove down to the Union Pacific railroad tracks in the Fall Leaf area. Then continuing on west I stopped to view the road and railroad bridges over Mud Creek in the far southwest part of Leavenworth County.

I left Leavenworth County, headed into Lawrence, and headed on home. It was a nice 2 day journey around Leavenworth County.

For a group of photos around Leavenworth County, visit my gallery at the following link:

Friday, May 7, 2010

2010 Kansas Sampler Festival

I had the opportunity to attend both days of the 2010 Kansas Sampler Festival, held May 1 - 2, 2010 in Ray Miller Park in Leavenworth.

This year, I attended the opening ceremonies for the first time. I enjoyed the parade of flags, welcome speeches by the Leavenworth organizers and Marci Penner, the performance by the Leavenworth High School Honor Guard, the national anthem performance by Allison Sowle and Theresa Hernandez. The highlight for me however, was young Paige Padgett portraying Dorothy and singing "Somewhere over the Rainbow".

I was able to meet many of my Kansas Explorer friends and other friends from around Kansas during my visits. All the volunteers at the community exhibits were friendly and helpful as always is the case.

Sunday morning was the annual Kansas Explorers Club meeting. This meeting is sort of the un-official start to the spring, summer and fall exploring season. It's always a good time to get energized and hear what other explorers are doing and planning.

Finally, there is much good Kansas made and produced food. This year I sampled a pulled pork sandwich from Pachta Pork of Belleville, a bierock from Becky's Bierocks of St Francis, a German Sausage from Krehbiel's Meats of McPherson, a brisket sandwich meal from Big Dog BBQ of Paola, some cinnamon pecans from Nuts 4 Us of Lenexa, a cherry limeade from Fun Time Confections of Wichita and beef jerky from Ranchers Best Beef of Grenola.

For more information about the festival including it's purpose and history, see the following link from the Kansas Sampler Foundation:

For a gallery of my photos taken during the festival see the following link:

The festival will be held again in Leavenworth on May 7-8, 2011. Come join the fun!