Ft. Scott, Kansas, is a relatively small town in southeast Kansas. Much larger than Alton, (92) where I grew up, but for a town of less than 8,000, it has a lot to offer. The quaint business buildings of downtown are busy with little local stores of many varieties. Yes, it has the antique stores that fill many small town main streets, but local entrepreneurs have upped the ante with a real potpourri of merchandise. There are used book stores and coffee shops, clothing stores and a place to buy many flavors of coffee beans and even a grinder to make your morning brew. We ate lunch at Nu Grille Cafe, where a two-piece chicken tender meal was way more than enough for me! Fortunately, LeRoy was along to make up for what I couldn’t eat.
In the afternoon, we went to a unique museum celebrating Unsung Heroes, many of whom were new to me. What began as a high school class project to find unsung heroes turned into a real history lesson and a trip to Poland for two girls who found and recorded the deeds of Irena Sendler, a Polish Catholic social worker during World War II. Her brave, undercover actions saved the lives of 2,500 Jewish children in the Warsaw ghetto. The girls wrote a play that was presented in schools so that children everywhere know that part of world history. Several of us bought the book Life in a Jar and I’m looking forward to reading it.
After the museum, we took a trolley ride around Ft. Scott to see all the historical mansions and the National Cemetery. It took about an hour and was well worth the ride on hard wooden benches. LeRoy and I bought a house in Osborne, KS in 1975 that was built the year Kansas became a state, just about the age of many of the houses we saw in Ft. Scott, although not nearly as ornate.
Dinner that evening was at Luther’s, a really good barbecue place with one of my favorites, burnt ends, which they advertise as “meat flavored marshmallows” because they are so tender and almost sweet. If you haven’t tasted burnt ends, get with the program! They are delicious pieces of smoked meat cut from the point end of a brisket and oh, so good!
When the Kansas rally was over, all but one of the Eagles (and our Pace Arrow) caravaned to Branson to continue the fun. We made quite a parade going across the dam on our way out!
In Branson we were joined by additional buses from Tennessee, Alabama, South Carolina, Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and another from Texas. We already had Missouri, Wisconsin, Oregon, Arizona and two from Texas, not counting a couple of wanderers who don’t really know where home is, like us and Gary Hatt, the owner, publisher and editor of Bus Conversion Magazine. I’m sure I’ve left someone out, but we loved being with all of them.
Again, food was a major item on the rally schedule. Krispy Kreme doughnuts each morning along with a never ending coffee pot made for a good start to the day. We were treated to a catered barbecue meal one evening which ended with ice cream, cookies and brownies. Another night, the ladies brought a wonderful variety of dishes for a potluck. Meatloaf, cowboy beans, Mexican corn, and desserts enough to fill another table. If anyone went hungry, it was their own fault! Of course, Branson and the surrounding area have a lot of restaurants for our dining pleasure as well. The ladies drove to Ozark to the Spring Creek Tea Room for lunch one day and enjoyed shopping, as well as good food. The building also houses an antique store, where many of the items aren’t as old as I am! How dare they call them antiques!
The guys went with rally master Byron Pigg to his home in Rogersville while the ladies were at the tearoom. They got to see Byron’s shop and his bus museum. I’ve been there, too, and it’s quite the place. A fellow who used to come to the rallies, Wayne St. Ange, otherwise known as “Preacher Wayne”, had some bus parts for sale and bus owners always need something extra, so they had a heyday buying bumpers, a joey bed, rear engine compartment corners, and other things that the wives would have called “stuff” but to them were treasures. Preacher Wayne isn’t doing too well these days, so he wasn’t able to attend. Even though he brought the things to be given to the bus owners, they paid what they wanted and the proceeds, along with a letter signed by all the attendees, will be sent to him.
Sunday morning, the day for goodbyes, is always hard. As soon as you hear the first Detroit engine start so the air pressure can build, you know everyone will soon be gone. We got our goodbye hugs and said our “see ya’ down the road” and left for home.
The wind was pretty bad about the last half of the way home and our Google maps program took us down some funky narrow, shoulderless roads, but we made it home in time to go to town and say hi to Heidi and Tim and the family. Tomorrow morning we have to leave the Landing by 8 to take the Pace Arrow to the repair shop to have the leveling jacks fixed. Yes, it’s early, but LeRoy has promised to take me out to breakfast later, so it’s all okay.