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Sep '09

La Junta, CO to Concordia, KS via Bent’s Old Fort NHS and Nicodemus, KS – 422 miles

My first stop this morning was at the Comanche National Grasslands office in La Junta to get a National Park Passport stamp for the Santa Fe National Historic Trail. I stayed in the motel room  and waited until 9:00AM to go there and was dismayed to find that they opened at 8:00.

From there it was out of town about 7 miles to Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site. This is a reconstruction of an actual 1840s trading post on the Santa Fe trail. The interpreters dress in period clothing for tours of the fort. Here are some pictures.

My next planned stop was Nicodemus National Historic Site in Nicodemus, KS. At 11:00AM I checked the GPS in my cell phone and it indicated that I wouldn’t get there until 4:45PM, which didn’t make any sense since it was only 245 miles away. There is a time zone change and I wasn’t sure if the GPS was taking that in to account. I was also unsure of the closing time, since some of the National Park sites close at 4:00PM during “winter hours”.  I decided to forgo lunch and rest stops to see if I could get there before it closed.

I managed to get there at 3:45PM….which turned out to be plenty of time since they didn’t close until 5:00.

Nicodemus, KS is the oldest continuously settled all black community west of the Mississippi river. It was settled by former slaves fleeing Civil War reconstruction in 1877.

Since I had gotten to Nicodemus early I continued on….well actually I didn’t have a choice…..there is no lodging there. My route took me very close to the Geographic Center of the Continental US so I had to stop by and be sure it was still there ;) . As you can see from the pictures it is, but there is not much there…

I had dinner at Dairy Queen and found a room for the night in Concordia, KS.

National Park Tour progress so far – 5 sites, 2 states.

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