Thursday, June 6, 2013

Lamar, CO


Blue Highway US-50

 
Also known as The Loneliest Road.  Formerly known as the Santa Fe Trail.
I miss the eye-candy mountains but there is an upside to the flatland: cruise control.  This enables me to sit back, listen to some good music, and let the mind wander - activities prohibited in the mountains.   

 
Web Photo

Usually 2-lanes, sometimes 4-lanes, the well-maintained Highway 50 meanders through one small town after another.  Towns too small to support the usual chain stores.  Towns with sadly vacant store-fronts.  Towns with names like Wild Horse, Devine, Hasty and - my personal favorite - Swink. 

John Cougar Mellencamp anyone?

 
So the high mountains gave way to the rolling hills which gave way to the high Plains.  I expect I’ll stay on US-50 until Dodge City, Kansas. 

At which point, I will swoop south and pick up US-400.  Why?  Because, according to my atlas, US-400 is a scenic route.  In Kansas???  This I gotta see. 
No offense – I like traveling through Kansas.  Its endless offering of farmhouses is comforting somehow.  

I took a detour to visit Bent’s Fort National Historic Site. 



This important trading post has been meticulously restored.  I spent a long time there because the self-guided tour was fascinating.  I plan to dedicate a post to Bent’s Fort when I get back home. 

Flora and fauna from Bent's Fort.


The unpopular House Sparrow. 



 
Looking forward to seeing more of the Santa Fe Trail tomorrow. 
 


Giddy-Up!!!

14 comments:

  1. You stop and see the neatest stuff! Love the door!

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    1. Aw, thanks Dawn. This NPS was evocative and made me want to do some artsy photos. We'll see how they turn out.

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    1. Me too! It was strutting around like it owned the place. But what's the point of being a peacock if you can't, you know, BRING IT.

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  3. Did your cliff swallow have a house sparrow for a daddy? Ducking... :)

    Seriously, was a good reminder to see the road mapped out like that; I'd sort of forgotten it was possible to make such a beeline E<->W. Thanks. I'm another one who doesn't mind that flat farmland going on for a long time, at least as long as I don't have to traverse it in wind/snow/ice.

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    1. No thanks to the snow and ice. The wind and I are old friends now, after this trip.

      Was that an incorrect ID? I had it from 2 local sources that this is, indeed, a cliff swallow. It certainly behaved like a swallow.

      Anyone else?

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    2. I'm not "anyone else" but look at the beak, how heavy it is: seedeater-type beak. And the rust on a cliff swallow, at least the ones I've seen, goes all the way around the neck, with just a touch of black in the front.

      I went to look in the bird book but guess I have it in the car and too lazy to go up the mt for it in the dark, can't get the browser working right so can't look on internet but will try and look it up tomorrow.

      Sarah

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  4. Thoroughly enjoy your blog and the adventures you have. I would definitely say that the bird is a sparrow [ male] . Its similar to our UK Sparrow.

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  5. Interesting, looks like house sparrows running cliff swallows out in some places. See http://focusingonwildlife.com/news/house-sparrows-taking-over-cliff-swallow-nests/ for a bit on that, and a closeup of one. The view there is more front-on w/head turned but you can see the beak/color pattern similarities. Then take a look at Cornell's pic of a cliff swallow at http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Cliff_Swallow/id and you'll see how the rust color goes all the way around the neck area with the black in front just a smidge; the beak is an insect-eaters slender sort, not so prominent feature as is the sparrow's.

    They look enough alike that the folks who said your photo to be a swallow likely knew of swallows in the area and just didn't look closely, especially if the sparrows are using the swallow tubes....which is a shame; I'd sure rather have the swallows than house sparrows, which I think are pretty but whose pugnacious attitude keeps them on my scramboozle list.

    Sarah

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  6. Your picture is definitely of a house sparrow...a non-native bird brought over from England. The house sparrow is nasty in my opinion, and is known to kill bluebirds and tree swallows to take over their nesting cavities.

    There may have been cliff swallows in the area building their nests out of mud, but the picture you took is not one of them.

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    1. Thanks Judy and everyone else for setting me straight. Once again, I stand corrected. I think I'm going to restrict naming animals to: bird, fish, retile, mammal. Plants will be labeled "plants". Oy!!!

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  7. I look forward to seeing the scenic route in Kansas. Each state is beautiful in its own way. Maybe you'll see lots of sunflower fields.

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  8. I'm looking forward to pictures of the scenic route in Kansas! :D

    The long stretches with no eye candy scenery wear me out. Glad you can lose yourself in music and daydream the long stretches away.

    Love those small town names. My all time favorite was Flippin, AR.

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  9. I agree about the benefit of cruise control - I do some of my best thinking that way. Looking forward to more of your adventures on the Santa Fe Trail!

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