Tuesday, August 26 – McPherson, KS

A beautiful sunrise start today which provides an automatic attitude adjustment for me.

We pass through the Maxwell Buffalo Preserve on the way back to Canton to start the days hike. A number of bulls, cows and calves are visible as silhouettes on the sunrise ridge. We also spot a magnificent bull and cow elk in the early light. In 1846, the Battalion also mentions lots of antelope in the area.

Denny has some interesting feelings about being so remote. Perhaps I can get her to blog that and some other stuff she’s shared with me.

Since she worked so hard yesterday, I ask Den to lay off some today. I hike 2 miles for each she hikes. We make good time, take lunch at 11 AM and are completely done hiking just after noon. Hooray! This day is almost in the bag and maybe we can get some other things done.

We check out the evening’s campsite at McPherson then beat it back to the Preserve camp site to pick up the RV and the Henski Truck.

Remember yesterday’s missive about “one step forward and two steps back”? Well…..

You may think that I’m making the following up for the dramatic effect or to gain pity, but I’m not. We have receipts to prove it. This afternoon, we had another flat - opposite the one we had yesterday. What are the odds? Again, I couldn’t remove the lug nuts, so I lowered the tow hitch to protect the tire rim and we limped to town. I bought two new tires for the back and will use the leftover tire as a spare. Sensing that the handwriting on the wall portends future problems, I got the mechanic to remove the lug nuts from the other two trailer tires and lube them so WHEN I have to remove them, I can.

McPherson (pronounced: Muck-FUR-son – NOT Mack-FEAR-son) is a “happening place.” It’s an oil town with a big (but clean, VERY clean) refinery and let me tell you folks, there’s LOTS of oil being pumped out here in Kansas. Almost every well we’ve passed is active.

In the evening, the entire bishopric of the local LDS congregation stopped by to coordinate with us for tomorrow night’s activity. We had a good time sharing stories, comparing experiences and taking pictures of each other. The women especially had fun chatting. It’s appreciated when folks stop in and chat for awhile.

Daughter Rita and I had some things in common – music, sports, etc. We both grew/are growing up in communities with a low LDS population. On one hand it’s easy to see the difference the church makes in your life. On the other hand, your values are different. My hat’s off to all the youth who live in difficult circumstances, who struggle to find others with similar standards, who grit their teeth and stick to it. Keep it up; it’s worth it in the long run.

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