Before we left Sedgwick, I broke a tooth. It didn’t hurt and since our Wichita dentist retired several years ago, I decided to wait until we got out here. You see, our dentist from nearly 50 years ago in Osborne, KS now has a practice in Fairplay, CO, just a short afternoon trip away. I asked if he could see me and got an appointment for this afternoon.
We woke up to a cloudy day this morning and before mid-morning, the ground was covered with graupel, soft ice beads larger than sleet and smaller and softer than hail. We learned that weather term several years ago, right here at Golden Bell.
By 2 pm, the ground was clear and the precipitation was in the liquid form. We started out for Fairplay and over around Lake George, we saw a herd of elk right by the road. We guessed there were between 12 and 18 of them, grazing and just resting on the ground. My goodness, they are LARGE animals! This picture was only part of them.
One of my favorite views in this area, aside from Pikes Peak, is when you top over Wilkerson Pass and see a vast plain stretched out across miles and miles before it ends in mountains to the west. As soon as we reach that area, we start looking for antelope and we usually see them as singles or at most two or three. Today, we were treated to the largest group we’d ever seen, several dozen or so. We were already past when I thought about the camera, so we didn’t get a picture. They were big for pronghorn antelope and just beautiful. They, too, were relaxing, not at all stressed by the misty weather.
After we turned toward Fairplay, we started seeing herds of buffalo. The ranches over there are huge, so there’s room for such large animals. Buffalo meat is sold all over and they have to be raised somewhere!
Our property in Kansas is just more than one acre. My dad farmed several quarter sections and farmer friends in western Kansas irrigated several “circles”, 160 acres each. Today we saw signs of property for sale that made all those others pale by comparison. It is almost more than we can comprehend that one rancher would be selling 120,000 acres! That would take a chunk of change! A mere $26,500,000 and it could all be yours!
A few miles on up the road, we started seeing slush on the road and the ground was covered in white stuff. Rounding one bend in the road, we caught a glimpse of flashing lights ahead of us and then we came upon this snowplow and followed it the rest of the way to Fairplay, where the temperature was 34 degrees!
My tooth was fillable, although it may require a crown somewhere down the road, hoperfully years from now. I was the last patient of the day, so we had Dr. Jim and his wife Joyce Caldwell all to ourselves. It was so good to catch up on their family. Their son James (we called him Jimmy) is an anesthesiologist and the medical director of a Colorado Springs hospital. We recalled him and our son Robbie (sorry, Robert) wrestling in their first tournament as kindergarteners. Jim and I both missed that meet because it was the same night he was extracting my wisdom teeth! Their daughter Stephanie is a few years younger than our daughter Heidi and she is in the medical field, too. Caldwell Dentistry is only open two days a week and they share an office with another local dentist, whose mission statement was hanging on the wall of the waiting room. I think it pretty well sums up our relationship with Jim and Joyce.