Hasty, Colorado

Day 462

     I have a feeling we are not in Kansas anymore. In fact we are in Colorado, at the John Martin Reservoir State Park, on the Santa Fe Trail. With a population of about 150 people, it was named to honor Lon Hasty, a pioneer settler. There is nothing here but the State Park and Trail.

     So, we walked part of it. 

     The French explorer Pedro Vial pioneered the route in 1792  for transportation, and the Santa Fe Trail was established in 1828 to take advantage of new trade opportunities with Mexico, which had just won independence from Spain. The trail connected Independence, Missouri with Santa Fe, New Mexico.

      After hiking a while you come to Bent’s Fort.

     It was not meant to be a fort at all, but a trading post. At this time, 1833, the Santa Fe Trail was only used by trappers, Indians, and Mexicans looking to trade with each other.

      William Wells Bent was born May 23, 1809  in St. Louis, Missouri. He was a fur trapper and trader. In 1833, he and his brothers built this trading post (fort) on the Arkansas river, which from 1819 to 1847 was the boundary line between the United States and Mexico.  

     From 1833 to 1849, the fort was a stopping point along the Santa Fe Trail. It was the only permanent settlement not under the jurisdiction and control of Indians or Mexicans.

     As we approached Bent’s Fort, we were greeted by free roaming cattle. 

      Barbara still goes for those guys in uniform.  The fort was built of adobe clay, which was made on the spot. 

     The Fort was well stocked

      With fur traders laying out their stuff 

Technical Stuff:

Dodge City, Kansas to Hasty, Colorado: 176.5 miles

3 hours 59 minutes

9.7 MPG

Diesel: $2.47


Dodge City, Kansas

Day 459

     Heading West from Wichita we checked into Dodge City at the Gunsmoke RV Park.

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     We met Charlie Mead, Deputy U.S. Marshall for Dodge City. He told us about Dodge City and those thrilling days of yesteryear.

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     Fort Dodge was established in 1865 to protect wagon trains on the Santa Fe Trail. Six years later in 1871, five miles west of the Fort, a pioneer by the name of Henry L. Sitler constructed a three-room sod house. Built to oversee his cattle ranch, Sitler’s home became a frequent stopping place for buffalo hunters and traders. Dodge City was founded the next year, on August 15, 1872, at the edge of the military reservation, with the Sitler’s home as the first building. It quickly became a trade center for travelers and buffalo hunters. Dodge City was named after Fort Dodge and Col. Richard I. Dodge (commander of Ft. Dodge).

     Like Wichita, urban renewal removed all the remnants of the original Dodge City, so, a re-creation was made.

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     During those early years, Dodge City also acquired an infamous stamp of lawlessness and gun-slinging. There was no local law enforcement and the military had no jurisdiction over the town. Charlie reminded us that in 1872 it was said there was no law west of Chicago, and no God west of Dodge City. 

     Doc Holiday thinks I cheated him, and is drawing his gun. 

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     Buffalo hunters, railroad workers, drifters and soldiers scrapped and fought, leading to the shootings where men died with their boots on. This created a hasty need for a local burial place – Boot Hill Cemetery.  Before Boot Hill, Dodge City had no official cemetery. Persons dying who had friends, enough money or sufficient standing in the community, were buried in the post cemetery at Fort Dodge. Others, penniless or unknown, were buried where it was convenient to dig a hole. The cemetery was used until 1878. 

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     Traveling around the Country has left me penniless, so I am eligible to be buried at Boot Hill, with my boots on.     

     The cattle yard, just outside of Dodge, contained over 10,000 head of cattle, heading for your table. 

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     Well, it is time to get the hell out of Dodge!


Technical Stuff:

Wichita, Kansas to Dodge City, Kansas: 154.7 miles

3 hours 29 minutes

9.5 MPG

Diesel: $2.60


Indian Pow Wow, Wichita, Kansas

Day 457

     We went to the Mid-America All Indian Center in Wichita, Kansas, which is a community center and Indian Museum. The museum highlights accomplishments of Indians from the Kansas area, such as movie star Wes Studi, and artist Blackbear Bosin. The museum displayed a lot of his works.

     By chance the Wichita Kansas Inter Tribal Warriors Society was having their annual Pow Wow. Pow Wows are Indian Celebrations of community and spirituality, featuring Indian dancing.  A group of men, called singers, sit around a large oval drum and bang the drum while chanting the particular song to which the red-man danced.

     We attending the entire 6 hour Pow Wow, and to me every “song” sounded exactly the same (oui ya ya ya, oui ya ya ya). I was assured that each song was in fact quite different. 

     The Pow Wow is divided into two sessions. The day session and the evening session. The first session is Gourd Dancing. The Gourd dance is a ceremonial dance that pays homage to the Indian veterans and leaders and always precedes the evening portion of the Pow Wow. The Gourd Dance is primarily a man’s dance. The regalia worn by a gourd dancer is not elaborate, and usually consists of a long sleeve shirt, pants, a gourd sash, and a rattle. The Gourd Rattle is not a gourd, but is instead a tin or silver cylinder filled with beads on a beaded handle. 

     A break was taken just before sunset for the Tribal Members to have dinner. To our surprise, we were invited to join them. It was a simple dinner of corn or barley soup with meat, and some sort of flat bread. All was prepared on the premises. Since this is a smoke-free facility, there was no smoking of the peace pipe.

     During the break we went to view the “Keeper of the Plains” sculpture by Blackbear Bosin, which is a 44-foot tall steel sculpture standing at the point where the Big and Little Arkansas rivers join together in downtown Wichita to form the Arkansas River. It has become the symbol of Wichita City. 

     The evening session of the Pow Wow was a more colorful dance of both men and women in what we consider Indian War dancing.

     I found it interesting, that no time, either in the museum, or during the Pow-wow, did they refer to themselves as “Native Americans”. They are “Indians”, or “American Indians”.

     In the hall they had displayed all the Tribal Flags. I liked this one: 



Wichita, Kansas

Day 456

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     We traveled the Great Plains of Kansas from Topeka to Wichita. In doing so we traveled part of the Chisholm Trail. The Chisholm Trail was a trail used in the post-Civil War era to drive cattle overland, from ranches in Texas to Kansas railheads. The portion of the trail used by Jesse Chisholm went from his southern trading post near the Red River, to his northern trading post near Kansas City, Kansas.

     Wichita began as a trading post, on what is now known as the Chisholm Trail, in the 1860s and was incorporated in 1870. It is named for the Indian tribe that lived here (or I should say, use to live here). It subsequently became a destination for cattle drives north from Texas to railroads, earning it the nickname “Cowtown”.

     Today’s Wichita is like any big city, so we went to a re-creation of Wichita as it existed in 1880-1886, when it was known as Cowtown.

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     It contained about 2 dozen buildings, including a barbershop Day 456 Wichita KS 5388_Fotor

     Saloon Hall with dancing girls Day 456 Wichita KS 5322_Fotor

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     Schoolhouse, where we learned about the real Chisolhm Trail Day 456 Wichita KS 5358_Fotor

     And even a shootout

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Technical Stuff: Paxico, Kansas to Wichita, Kansas: 165.2 miles

3 hours 20 minutes

8.9 MPG

Diesel: $2.35


Topeka, Kansas

Day 455

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     We went to the Capital of Kansas, Topeka, to see the new Evel Knievel museum that just opened June 30th of this year. 

     The name Topeka is an Indian sentence that means “place where we dug potatoes”. The city was laid out in 1854, and chartered as a city in 1857. Topeka’s founders chose the name because it “was novel, of Indian origin and euphonious of sound.” 

     Robert Craig “Bobby” Knievel Jr. was born October 17, 1938 in Butte, Montana.

     After a police chase in 1956, in which he crashed his motorcycle, Knievel was taken to jail on a charge of reckless driving. When the night jailer came around to check the roll, he referred to Bobby as Evil Knievel (making a rhyme with his last name) Bob thought that was cool and began using that nickname. He chose the misspelling for his first name because he didn’t want to be considered “evil”.

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     While Evel began riding motorcycles in both motor cross races and jumping at an early age, he did not become famous until he almost killed himself trying to jump the Fountains at Caesar’s Palace on December 31, 1967.

     Tidbit of Information: Evel Knievel’s famed video of his jump and crash at Caesars’s Palace was shot by future TV series Dynasty star Linda Evans. 

     The museum is sponsored by Harley Davidson Motor Cycles. Instead of exiting through a gift shop, you leave the museum through their showroom. 

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Wamego, Kansas

Day 454


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     You can’t go to Kansas without visiting Dorothy. 

     The Kansas Pacific Railroad began building it’s main line westward in 1863 which led to the founding of Wamego in 1866. The town was named for a Potawatomi chief. The town was built on the Kansas river, and developed as a point of transporting settlers and supplies across the plains. 

     Today, Wamego is most noted for the OZ Museum, which is home to one of the largest privately own collections of Oz memorabilia. 

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     Lyman Frank Baum, born May 15, 1856 in upstate New York, wrote the Wonderful Wizard of Oz, originally published May 17, 1900. He was a prolific writer, but this remains the work he is most remembered for, mostly as a result of the 1939 movie with Judy Garland. 

     Tidbit of Information: In Baum’s book, Dorothy wears magical silver shoes, not ruby slippers. In filming the movie, the silver shoes did not show up well in the new Technicolor film processing against the yellow brick road. The shoes were changed to red slippers for the better contrast. 

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Paxico, Kansas

Day 453

      In 1879 William and Robert Strowig constructed a mill on land purchased from an old Indian medicine man called Pashqua. A town grew up around the mill and came to be known as “Paxico,” after the medicine man.

     In 1887 the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway built their railroad through the town connecting Topeka to Herington, Kansas. 

     We are camping at Mill Creek Campground in the town of Paxico, on the railroad tracks, about 800 feet from the old Paxico train station. 

     The town is a virtual ghost town, consisting of antique shops and the Longhorn Saloon, in which we had a very good burger. 

     Our closest neighbor was the trains going through day and night. 

Technical Stuff:

Fulton, Missouri to Paxico, Kansas: 252.4 miles

4 hours 53 minutes

9.6 MPG

Diesel: $2.50

Rock Bridge State Park, Missouri

Day 451

     We went for a hike to see the Rock Bridge in this Missouri State Park. We were not fully prepared, as we are usually. We stopped on a trial on our way to the Ranger Station to pick up hiking information. This trail was supposed to be .5 miles. It ended up being about 2 miles.

     Normally we carry a backpack with water, snacks, flashlight, compass, etc. Since it was to be a short hike, we had nothing, not even the correct hiking boots.

     So, we died. No more posts.

     The short trail actually went into the trail we were seeking. We decided to push on. The Natural Rock Bridge was formed by a river, which is still flowing.  Since we were wearing tennis shoes, we could not go through it.

     We did hike to it’s mouth, then up the mountain to view from above.

     We also came upon the Devil’s Icebox. It got it’s name because as you descend down to what turned out to be a cave, the temperature dropped about 15 degrees.

     Not having our flashlights we could not go too far in.

     We won’t make this mistake again.

     We did see Mars:

Jefferson City, Missouri

Day 446

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     We walked across a footbridge over the Missouri River to the Capital of Missouri, Jefferson City. The Missouri River is the longest river in the United States. I know, you thought the Mississippi River was the longest. The Mississippi is actually 20 miles shorter than the Missouri. 

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     What is now the State of Missouri was part of the April 30, 1803 Louisiana Purchase (actually the Agreement was signed on May 2, 1803 and backdated).  A statute of the Signing of the Louisiana Purchase Agreement, sits in front the the Missouri Capital Building. 

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     The Missouri State Capital building is the most ornate Capital I have seen. With many archways, it is a visual maze. 

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     It is interesting to note that both Lewis and Clark were each Governors of Missouri after their famous expedition. 

     Let us take a moment to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice to bring us smoother roads. 

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Fulton, Missouri

Day 442

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     The town of Fulton, Missouri, was founded in 1825, but was not incorporated until March 14, 1859. The city was named for Robert Fulton, inventor of the steamboat.

     Westminster College was founded as a college for young men by the Rev. William W. Robertson in 1851 as Fulton College and assumed the present name in 1853. Throughout the next century, Westminster College continued to be an all-male institution until women infiltrated in 1979.

     The Green Foundation Lectureship was established in 1936 as a memorial to John Findley Green, an attorney in St. Louis who graduated from Westminster College in 1884. The foundation provides for lectures designed to promote understanding of economic and social problems of international concern.

     Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill was born November 30, 1874 in England. At the conclusion of World War II, he was defeated in the election of 1945, and was no longer Prime Minister of Great Britain.

     Winston Churchill, now the ex-Prime Minister of Great Britain, was invited to speak as part of the Green Foundation Lecture Series in the Gymnasium of Westminister College, which he did on March 5, 1946. During that speech he classified the division of Russia from her neighbors as an “Iron Curtain”.

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     In 1961 Westminister College President, Dr. Robert L. Davidson, decided to make a memorial to Winston Churchill and his speech of 1946. He had read that the war ravaged St. Mary the Virgin Aldermanbury Church, constructed by Christopher Wren, was slated for demolition.

     The church was originally built about 1200 AD in what is now London, England. Sometime around 1550 it received an endowment from Alderman Bury of London, which is now part of it’s name. On September 2, 1666 the church burned down during the Great Fire of London. The church was rebuilt by architect Christopher Wren, who rebuilt most of London after the Great fire. 

     The church was bombed by the Germans during the blitz of London on December 29, 1940. The church lay in ruins for 20 years until slated for demolition, and was rescued by the Westminister College. 

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     The church was dismantled and rebuilt on this campus and dedicated May 7, 1969. It is the only Christopher Wren church in the United States. The Church now functions as the Chapel of Westminster College. 

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     The National Churchill Museum in Fulton commemorates the statesman and his 1946 Iron Curtain speech in the college gymnasium.  The Museum is located in the lower level of the Church. 

      An interesting thing you will notice about the church, no stained glass windows. Wren thought “nothing can add beauty to light”.

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     Tidbit of Information: Senator Bernie Sanders (they guy who lost to Trump as President) will be speaking as part of the Green Foundation Lecture Series this month on the 21st at Westminister College here in Fulton. He accepted the invitation when he heard we were here and was hoping to meet with us, but we have to move on, sorry, Bernie. 

Technical Stuff:

Litchfield, Illinois to Fulton, Missouri: 167.7 miles

3 hours 25 minutes

11.7 MPG

Diesel: $2.40


Washington Park, Springfield Il

Day 440

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     Went to Washington Park in Springfield, Illinois to hear the Carillon concert. The park was established in 1901 and the Carillon built in 1962. A carillon is a musical instrument that is typically housed in the belfry of a church or in a municipal building. 

     We went up in the belfry to the very top to view the City of Springfield

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     And to view the bells. 

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     This carillon has 67 bronze bells and is played by a special keyboard

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    We stayed for the concert.

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Route 66

Day 437

     Since our adventures are more exploration and less destination, which is the difference between getting THERE and GETTING there, we are always on the lookout. 

     While in Litchfield, we realized that Route 66 cuts right through the town. One of the items on my long list of adventures to take in this Country, is to travel the entire 2,448 mile road of Route 66, which connects Chicago to Santa Monica. But since we happened upon it here in Litchfield, Illinois, we drove it. This is one of the perks of having no agenda and going where the wind takes you.

     The first place we stopped was the Ariston Cafe. It is the oldest restaurant still operating on Route 66. I would show you a picture of our meal, but I hate when people do that. What makes them feel that I care what their food looks like?

     Later on, since we always seem to be hungry, we stopped at the Cozy Dog Drive-In. It was here that the corn dog on a stick originated in 1950.

     We did stop at some drinking establishments. Barbara thought she saw a pink elephant. 

     As Nat King Cole said: We get our kicks on Route 66. 



Springfield, Illinois

Day 436

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     Rather than be re-created, Springfield Illinois was preserved. A two block area, including Lincoln’s home, have been restored.

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     Although Springfield has grown up, you can still visit various sites where Lincoln worked,

     His law office

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     Capital Building, which included the Courthouse where Lincoln argued his cases. This portrait of Washington is the same one Lincoln saw when he faced the Court.

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      The train station is also preserved from when he left Springfield to assume the role of President of the United States in Washington.

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    We also visited the Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield. Day 435 Springfield Il 4444_Fotor     We went to his modest grave marking at Oak Ridge Cemetery . Day 435 Springfield Il 4662_FotorTidbit of Information: The street in front of the Capital Building in Springfield was the departure point of the Donner Party on April 15, 1846 for their ill-fated trip to California.

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New Salem, Illinois

Day 435

     Abraham Lincoln was born February 12, 1809 in Hodgenville on the western frontier in Kentucky, in a log cabin…….. yea, yea, we all know that. Ok, how about this?

     As a teenager and young man, Lincoln did not get along with his father, and decided to strike out on his own. He went to the recently established town of New Salem, Illinois.

     In 1829 a saw and gristmill was built on the Sangamon River and the town of New Salem laid out. The settlers believed that the river would provide a trading connection to St. Louis by way of the Mississippi.  In 1831, at age 22, Lincoln arrived. He worked numerous jobs and eventually Lincoln and a partner bought a small general store on credit.  It did not do well and he ending up leaving the venture with a large debt. 

     New Salem only existed about 10 years. The village declined when it was determined that the Sangamon River could not be navigated by steamboats. Lincoln lived there for 6 years from 1831 to 1837. Admitted to the Illinois bar in 1836 he moved to the Capital of Illinois, Springfield, and began to practice law. By 1840 New Salem ceased to exist.

     The town was never re-established, but because Lincoln became President, it was re-created for us tourists. 

Tidbits of Information: 

1)  In 1849, Lincoln received a patent for a flotation device for the movement of boats in shallow water. The idea was never commercialized, but Lincoln is the only President to hold a patent.

2)  Grace Bedell, born November 4, 1848, at age 11, wrote Lincoln a letter when he was running for President saying his face was too thin and he should grow a beard to help him win. Not only did he do that, but later actually met with the little girl.

Litchfield, Illinois

Day 434

     For our next spot, we wanted to go to Springfield, Illinois, the land of Lincoln. The closest RV park was here in Litchfield.

     The town was developed in 1853 and was incorporated April 21, 1856. It was named for Electus Bachus Litchfield, who worked for the railroad and developed the route here.  

     In expanding the west in the prairie State of Illinois, small towns would spring up trying to anticipate the path of the railroads. When the railroad came here, those other small towns migrated here, leaving those other towns to fall into dust.   

Technical Stuff:

Rockville, Indiana to Litchfield, Illinois: 172.4 miles

3 hours 41 minutes

9.2 MPG

Diesel: $2.48


Parke County, Indiana

Day 432

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     Parke County lies in the western part of Indiana along the Wabash River and was formed in 1821. The County has 31 covered bridges and describes itself as the Covered Bridge Capital of the World. At one time as many as 53 covered bridges existed.

     These are actual covered wooden bridges, not like the bridges of Ashtabula County, Ohio (see day 412).

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     To access some of these bridges, we had to drive through corn fields:

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     In our travels today, looking for the covered bridges, we came across this history on a stick:

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     Having no idea what the 10 O’clock line was, but suspecting it was an Indian line cast by the sun’s shadow on a stick, this is what I found: The Treaty of Fort Wayne, sometimes called the Ten O’clock Line Treaty, is a 1809 treaty that obtained 3,000,000 acres (yes, that’s 3 million acres) of American Indian land for the white settlers of Illinois and Indiana. The Indians did not trust the surveyors’ equipment, so a spear was thrown down at ten o’clock and the shadow became the treaty line.

     I learn something new everyday. 

     Of course, you knew the state’s name means “Indian Land”.

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Rockville, Indiana

Day 431

     Rockville is a town in Parke County, Indiana, and was laid out in 1824, three years after the county was founded, when it became the county seat. We went to this county seat because they had a museum.

     Parke County is known for it’s many covered bridges, and we were looking for information before our trip tomorrow to tour the bridges.

     What we found was a hodgepodge collection of memorabilia of the town. More interesting than the items, was it’s curator, a 75 year old women who lived in this town her entire life. 

    Despite her age, no matter what item you picked up, and you could touch everything, she gave you it’s personal history. I can’t remember where we visited last week, much less events that happened 50 years ago. 

     For example, I picked up some letter, and she told me that those letter were written by her school teacher, who’s son she once dated. No matter what you were looking at, she related it to someone she knew, or an event that happened. She was fascinating. 

Technical Stuff:

Goshen, Indiana to Rockville, Indiana: 222.5 miles

4 hours 54 minutes

11.1 MPG

Diesel: $2.48


South Bend, Indiana

Day 429

     South Bend, Indiana, is a city on the St. Joseph River near its southernmost bend, from which it derives its name. The area was originally settled in the early 19th century by fur traders and was established as a city on May 22, 1865.

     Barbara wanted to go to South Bend to see the campus of Notre Dame, more correctly called The University of Notre Dame du Lac. Notre Dame du Lac means “Our Lady of the Lake” and refers to the university’s patron saint, the Virgin Mary. The main campus covers 1,250 acres, and it seems we walked it all. The school was founded on November 26, 1842, by Father Edward Sorin, who was also it’s first president, as an all-male institution (women started sneaking into the university in 1972).

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     In the main hallway they had a series of paintings of Columbus’ travels to the new world. The first painting was a depiction of his blessing before his departure at 3 1/2 AM Friday, August 5, 1492. I wonder if that was daylight savings time?

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     We saw “Touchdown Jesus”:

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     Tidbit of information: Chaplain William Corby, of Notre Dame, is only one of three non military individuals to have a statute on the Gettysburg Battlefield. The others were President Lincoln, and the only civilian casualty of the battle. I told you about that person on Day 80. You remember, of course.