And, on August 5, we celebrated Rue’s second birthday. She, Kota and Colt dressed up in their bandanas to eat a special birthday supper and play with her new toy. (Note: this toy gets its “squeak” from an empty plastic water bottle. No more squeakers for Rue after our January experience.)
Adjacent to the falls, we were surprised to see the ruins of Collings Castle. Built in the 1930s by author Ellsworth Collings, it was a summer home for his family and a place to entertain friends. Sadly, it has fallen into disrepair.
The castle, as well as Turner Falls, is owned and run by the City of Davis, Kansas. There are plans to restore the castle, but so far budget shortfalls have prevented any work being done. We hope to see the castle restored to its former grandeur on some future trip.
Having just completed work on our outdoor fireplace in Austin, John was especially interested in this one in Tucker Tower. It is quite imposing, with very impressive “heat-o-lator” pipes that would direct warm air into the room.
What immediately caught our eye are the twin plexiglass tubes enclosing clumps of switch grass on the right and big bluestem on the left. If you look at the top, you can see the 6-8 foot grasses, dwarfed by the root systems that can go as deep as 18 feet underground.
Then, we were off to Concordia, Kansas, a lovely small town where we have stayed before. The Airport RV Park is just off the highway and has about 15 full-hookup sites. It's a beautiful park and we enjoy visiting there. We had the unexpected pleasure of meeting some great people at the RV park. After checking in, we met our neighbors who explained that they were completing a week of training with CARES, Inc. CARES (Canine Assistance Rehabilitation Education Services) is a private organization that trains service dogs for people suffering from, among other problems, diabetes and PTSD. It is one of the few canine assistance schools that accepts applications for children and persons with multiple disabilities.
Many of the puppies are fostered by volunteers, then trained by inmates at Kansas correctional institutions. They are placed with individuals needing dogs to assist them with their medical and psychological issues. Though some dogs come from CARES' own breeding program, others are donated to the program.
Two individuals staying in the park with their families were completing CARES certification. Sophie, a yellow lab, will warn Henry when his blood sugar levels approach dangerous levels. Layla, a great dane, and Mahle, a labradoodle, will provide support for veterans who have suffered PTSD. All of the handlers and their dogs graduated from the CARES service dog training program. They look forward to beginning a new life assisted by their canine companions.
|Henry and Sophie|
|Derrick and Layla|
|Franck and Maley|
We were honored to meet them and they will be in our thoughts and prayers.
From Concordia, we headed to North Platte, Nebraska, for one night at Holiday RV Park. A few miles outside of North Platte, we came upon this big rig towing two trailers that had overturned on the side of the road. The rig was a mess, but hopefully the driver wasn't badly injured.
From North Platte, we were off to Alliance, Nebraska, for two nights at J&C RV Park. It's a lovely small park....no amenities like laundry or clubhouse, but beautiful grassy sites with a great area for throwing balls. Not to mention it's only a mile or so from the Alliance rail yard. If you're interested, you can listen to the coal trains as they make their way north or south. On the way the highway paralleled the tracks for many miles. There was a constant procession of loaded trains going south and empties headed north to pick up more coal.
Alliance has a number of interesting attractions and museums. Here are a couple of photos of Carhenge, located just north of Alliance.