03 Sep 2012 Leave a Comment
Saturday we loaded the car, turned on Charlotte’s Web and started for La Junta in Southeast Colorado. It’s about a 3 hour drive from here, we stopped in Pueblo for a brown bag lunch and then headed toward Rocky Ford. You have probably heard of RF from the news reports about the listeria outbreak last year, it was linked to one farm and it took awhile for people to start buying cantaloupe again.
RF cantaloupe is so good, it’s sweet, it’s local, it’s juicy and we bought one that came straight from the field to the farmer’s market. We stopped at the local museum, which was closed.
But, we noted an interesting thing, another small town with a Carnegie library and the exact same design as the one in Old Colorado City. In fact, in Colorado there are 35 Carnegie libraries built between 1901 and 1923 (some of our favorites are Byers and Smiley in Denver.) Carnegie donated money for the building of libraries to small towns (and big ones) across the US and the world, how nice. Anyway, we’ve seen the interior of this library as it is the same as others in Denver, but we did not get to see the museum pieces, maybe another day.
Thankfully the next museum was open and not only open, but stocked with an amazing guide who was more than happy to tell us the story of every item in the museum and let us play with some items. Some of these things I have never seen before, and I’ve been to a lot of antique stores and old museums. Here is the short tour: La Junta’s first log school house.
A stained glass window donated from the local Presbyterian church.
The first grave marker in La Junta (why is that here? We didn’t ask, it did seem strange though.)
A bicentennial wagon to mark the bicentennial of the Santa Fe trail.
Wagons were donated to each state and then they traveled on certain trails, this wagon rode on the Santa Fe trail, cool. Out in the carriage house we saw a chuck wagon and 1860′s carriage, it smelled like leather in there.
A few windmills were scattered around outside.
Another house had a late 1800′s set up, parlor, grocery shop and den.
This was neat, it’s a sewing needle/shuttle dispensary, you dial up the type you want and then open the little door.
We saw some looms, sometimes people weave on them, but our guide was not crafty.
This is a piano from the Tabor opera house, I’m not sure how it ended up in Otero county though.
It’s funny how homeschooled kids love to sit in wooden school desks and ‘play school’.
This item was a store time clock.
The employee would dial in their time and then push in the dial which punched a card. This thing was an item that allowed for metal tubes to shoot through pipes and come out in a station like this one.
Think of it as a carrier pigeon….but metal….and with no feathers. Here is the story behind stamped railroad nails: they stamped the year on them (so these are stamped 1938, 1939, etc.) so that when they used different methods on the wood they could see which methods worked and for how long by looking at the stamp on the nail.
An old hand crank film projector.
A room with masonic stuff in it (every small town has a masonic building, I’m sure of it.)
We played tube records and punched typewriters and adding machines.
Our guide had Grace help pump the player piano so we could sing to ‘God Bless America’ while the piano banged out the tune.
Doll houses, some of the first cars on the road in La Junta and huge gas pumps.
And finally, moustache cups, for the proper gentleman to drink his tea without sullying his facial hairs.
It was hot outside. The sign in La Junta read 102 and I believe it. We went to our first spot for camping, a reservoir outside town, but it was bone dry. It was so dry there wasn’t even mud, just gray dirt where the water once was. We drove a little father outside of town, back toward Rocky Ford and turned at Swink to go to Lake Meredith.
I set up the tent while the girls went swimming. There was a whole clan in RV’s just down the way and they had a ton of kids, there was even another Hannah. After a swim we got a fire started to roast hot dogs for dinner.
Hot dogs are my dinner of choice when camping.
Of course we had s’mores, but we also had peeps. These are peeps I saved from Easter, just for this occasion.
They taste like creme brulee when you roast them…mmmmm…..creme brulee, they do look a little sad when they are on fire though (maybe because they are bunnies.)
Sunset from behind the tent.
Sunset by the tent and lake.
The girls searched for frogs by flashlight when it got dark. The moon rose over the trees like a gigantic orange orb and we watched it float up into the sky. In the tent the girls played with their pets and listened to music on an I-pod. It was windy, but cooled off a bit and in the middle of the night the wind shifted coming from the North and it really cooled off. I bought 0 degree sleeping bags last year, so we were toasty warm all night.