Ron & Elena's 2007-2010 Travels travel blog

The huge 3-story limestone barn at the ranch on the Tallgrass Prairie...


Side of the barn showing the ramps used to transport grain and...

The ranch house.

Front of the ranch house.

The first floor of the house has 2 parlors with nice walnut...


Typical of the views as we went on a short hike this...

Distant view of the one-room school house built in the 1880's.

Wild rose on the prairie.




Small dams along spring-fed creeks provide water for the cattle. Very common...

Meadowlark. We love to see them and they sing so beautifully.





Whenever you see trees on the prairie you can be sure there...


Baltimore Oriole - not a very good photo of this beautiful bird.

Small waterfall on this pleasant creek.

Typical prairie view.

When the ranch was developed they constructed many miles of these rock...

View at the first stop on our tour. notice the surface rock...

The left side of the road was burned last year - the...

View from the second stop - the highest point on the preserve.

Typical of the 360° views from this spot.


Flint rocks. Notice the sharp edges.

(Ron Writing) This morning we drove back to the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve to continue our tour. We first toured the old 11 room ranch home built by cattleman Stephen F. Jones in 1881. It is built from hand-cut native limestone. It was very advanced for its time with features like spring water piped into the lower level and used for cooling food, domestic water, and the excess was routed out to ponds in front of the house. The house is currently undergoing work to reverse some of the modifications made over the years and restore it to its original design.

We also took a 1.5 mile hike out onto the prairie and down to a spring fed stream. From a distance the prairie looks like nothing but green grass but it is actually covered with rocks and a wide variety of blooming wild flowers. We saw many birds along the hike but only got a photo of a couple of them.

After lunch we went on a bus tour that took us about 3 or 4 miles back into the preserve. The ranger driving in bus provided a great narration as he was driving and we stopped in two locations to get out for a better view and a short talk. The drive took us to the highest point in the preserve which provided 360° views of the vast prairie - still looking about the same as it would have before the white settlers came.

This area of KS is called the “Flint Hills” region. There are certain layers of the limestone outcroppings that contain an abundance of flint rocks. These were used by the native Americans for making arrow heads and tools.

This afternoon we drove north on K-177 to Council Grove. We spent a little time looking around this very old historic town where some of the early treaties with the native Americans were negotiated. We then headed west on US-56 to Herington, then west on K-4 to Elmo, and then north on K-15 to Abilene, KS. We arrived in Abilene quite late this afternoon and decided to spend the night here. We were unable to locate any suitable boondocking sites so we’re spending the night at the only RV Park to be found. The Covered Wagon RV Resort charges $25 with full hook-ups. We also filled up the truck and generator with fuel here in Abilene for $3.63/gal.

After dinner we took a walk to the downtown area. Abilene has a thriving downtown business area with most of the old buildings from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s nicely restored and still in use. Many of the very old homes have also been beautifully restored. There must have been many wealthy ranchers and businessmen living here around the turn of the century judging by the size and the elegance of many of the homes.

Entry Rating:     Why ratings?
Please Rate:  
Thank you for voting!
Share |