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Exploring the Flint Hills

Milo Yield
Laugh Tracks in the Dust, Damphewmore Acres, Kan.

A week ago my near life-long buddy, ol’ Canby Handy from Platte City, Mo., and his son-in-law, Kiwi Bourne from Smithville, Mo., called and offered me a free ride with them the next day (Saturday) on another of our semi-famous Old Boars’ Tour of the Flint Hills on Gravel Roads. Of course, I accepted, even though it was gonna be just a one-day jaunt. I never miss an opportunity to keep exploring the Flint Hills.

Their faux reason for the trip wuz to watch the auction of the Squire Ranch at Beaumont, Kan. The real reason it turns out wuz just to get out of our covid malaise and into the fresh air.

On Saturday, they arrived at Damphewmore Acres at 8 a.m. and I tanked them up with a good ol’ breakfast featuring Nevah’s finest egg-sausage-veggie casserole.



We headed out at 9 a.m. in a semi-heavy fog. We went south from Cottonwood Falls to Cassoday, then continued south to Rosalia. That portion of the trip was on blacktop.

But, we hit muddy gravel roads going south from Rosalia to Beaumont. After we drove around looking at the Squire Ranch home, outbuildings, cattle pens, range land and watershed lake, Canby admitted that he wuzn’t going home until he’d found and seen “100-Cow Hill,” which he’d seen on a specialized Kansas counties atlas of some kind. He said it wuz near the Green Ranch.



He had an address for “100 Cow Hill” and Kiwi used his smart phone to give us directions to it. We went south of Beaumont probably close to 10 miles, drove through a huge complex of wind farm towers, then meandered west ’til we found “the hill.” We also found a Green Ranch sign.

Luckily, the fog lifted just enuf that we could properly admire the scene from the top of “100-Cow Hill,” so named becuz some wag long ago said it wuz as high as 100 cows stacked on top of each other. I don’t think that description is exaggerated. It’s a tall Flint Hill and you can see “forever” from the top. If you admire the Flint Hills like Canby and I do, it wuz certainly worth the trip. We found out later that the locals in the area also call the place “The End of the World.”

From “the hill” we moseyed northeast through beautiful country. It wuz noon, so I suggested that we find out if Jim and Lila’s Cafe wuz still in biz in the busy metropolis of Piedmont, Kan. I used to eat there 40 years ago when I field trialed Brittany bird dogs and the professional handler I used lived in Piedmont. I told Canby and Kiwi they would appreciate a little “local color” for lunch.

After we dropped a mile south from Hwy 400 to Piedmont, we traveled through the luxuriant suburbs and “voila” we found that Jim and Lila’s Cafe wuz still in bizness. And, we went in and found the food is still just as good as I remembered. Canby and I ate hamburger steak with mashed taters and white gravy and Kiwa enjoyed a chicken-fried steak with similar side dishes.

When I asked Lila if she remembered my dog trainer, she perked up and replied, “Who could forget him?” We both had a good laugh. So, for folks looking for a fine dining experience off-the-beaten path, I’d recommend Jim and Lila’s Cafe in Piedmont.

From Piedmont we drove gravel roads entirely until we got me home, except for a few miles in Eureka and out to Eureka Lake. North of Eureka we stopped at the Wiggins’ Ranch to visit my old friends Mike and Renee, but, sadly, they weren’t home.

From there, we just kept traveling north as much as we could and east when we had to. We pretty much paralleled Highway 99 staying a few miles west. We saw some interesting country as we by-passed Hamilton, Madison, and Olpe and finally skirted west of Emporia on the “Glanville Turnpike” and until we turned north to Damphewmore Acres.

After they dropped me off, Canby and Kiwi traveled through “The Bermuda Triangle” of Kansas — near the corners of Lyon, Morris, and Osage counties.

In their meanderings, they found a long-abandoned U.S. Air Force missile silo, then drove up the “Chalk” road past the ghost town of Chalk, then north to Highway 4 which wuz the first blacktop they drove on since Eureka.

They went past Lake Eskridge, through Dover, then on to Topeka and home on the interstate.

It wuz a wonderful day in the Flint Hills for all of us.

***

I read that the trans-gendered craziness has reached an absurd level. The company that had marketed Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head is going “gender neutral” and plans to drop the Mr. & Mrs. part of the name and just sell Potato Head.

I have a question: “Does this mark the end of Tater Tots?”

Also, the publishers of Dr. Seuss books are going to quit selling six of the famous children books — for so-called racist overtones. What a crock!

***

Just wanted to let you know what’s going to be included in the government’s 2021 Covid and Economic Stimulus Package. It will contain two tomato seeds, cornbread mix, two discount coupons to a cheap franchise burger joint, and a ‘Hope & Change’ bumper sticker. The directions will be multi-lingual.

Those are the words to the wise for the week. Have a good ‘un.


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