Friday, October 16, 2009

Dalton Defenders Museum

Hi all --
 Dianne here.  Roger and I learned at our Workamper meeting that we would be on the new weekend shift, working Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays.  We are on different shifts, so that we don't have to leave the "boys" caged up for 11 or 12 hours a day. (Roger here...  it makes no difference to Big Chuck since he is always loose in the motorhome and free to make cat noises at the great-tailed grackles that taunt him while he sits in the window). 
  I am on days, working 6:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Roger is on nights, working from 5:00 p.m. to 3:30 a.m.  Roger has arranged to carpool on the night shift, which solves the one car problem.   This is the shift assignment we expected, because we had volunteered for the new weekend team, and had requested different shifts. Basically this means we won't see each other at all from Friday morning until Tuesday morning, but then we have the next three days off together.  

Drawing the weekend shift also meant we had another week to kill in  Coffeyville before starting work.   We were really ready to get out of the motorhome for a while.   The weather here has been so crummy (rainy and cold and gray) that we've been stuck inside.   We decided to be tourists this week and see some of the local sights.

On Tuesday, we drove back into Missouri to visit Colaw's RV Salvage.   We learned about this place from veteran RV'ers at the rally in Ohio last month.  Colaw's has the largest selection of salvage parts in the US.   There is a motorhome "graveyard" out back where parts can be stripped from different makes and models.  There is also a large indoor showroom of new and salvage parts.  We didn't venture out back (Roger here... because it was gray and cold, the weather norm so far here), but spent a lot of time nosing around the showroom. We were able to finally find lug nut covers to replace the ones that we lost the first week we owned our motorhome, after having new tires put on at Camping World.   (They didn't tighten them properly, so we lost 14 of them as we drove it home).   We'd been unable to find the correct size and shape in any store, truck stop, or even on line.   When we inquired about buying new ones to replace those that were lost, the dealer explained they would cost about $14 EACH!   We dug through boxes of them at Colaw's and were able to find several exact matches and some replacements that would work, for a better price of $2 each.    We stopped for lunch at the Golden Corral in Joplin, MO.  My old lunch buddies from my job at Hamilton Southeastern Schools referred to it as the "Olden Corral" when we ate there for lunch before I retired.  I consider this quite an insult.  I must also report that there were younger people in the restaurant - two toddlers with their grandmother.  There was also a six-year old who single-handedly emptied the bread center of all nine of the warm rolls.  The toddlers and the bread thief were all definitely younger than Dianne and me.

Thursday we visited the Dalton Defenders Museum

 in downtown Coffeyville.   I'll let Roger elaborate on that for you.  Following that, we had a delicious lunch of chicken-fried steak and sides at Lanning's, a mom and pop restaurant/bar in the historic section of town.   Since I knew we'd soon be getting lots of good exercise in our new workamper jobs, I even splurged and had some homemade pecan pie.   I reasoned that they probably made good pecan pie here, since this is a big pecan growing area.   I was right; it was delicious!   We even have a grove of pecan trees right here at Walter Johnson Park.  We watched the CNN version of the escaped mylar flying saucer while we ate, and were very relieved to find out, when we returned to the motorhome, that the little boy was not in the balloon.  

Roger here...  The Dalton Defenders Museum was very interesting. 

 I had heard of the infamous Dalton Gang, but did not really know that much about them.  Four of the five of them met their end in Coffeyville in 1892 when they attempted to rob two banks at the same time - an attempt to upstage Jesse James.  One of the townsmen recognized the gang as they entered the town and tied up their horses in an alley.  Several courageous citizens of Coffeyville, armed themselves at the local hardware store 

(still in business), and  ambushed the gang members as they exited the two banks - four of the defenders, including the sheriff, died along with four of the gang members.  A lot of the shooting took place in the pictured alley 

across the street from the banks where the horses were tethered.  One of the banks has been restored - really neat looking. 

 The one surviving gang member, Emmet Dalton, survived even though he was shot 23 times and served 14 years of a life sentence before being paroled and moving to California.  I had always thought of the wild west being in the far western states of Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, and California.  Our stay here in Kansas has helped remind us that a goodly portion of the western legends took place in Kansas, Oklahoma and, of course, Texas.  

The museum also had exhibits confirming other prominent citizens of the town including, Walter "the train" Johnson who was an outstanding pitcher for the Washington Senators in the 1920's AND presidential candidate Wendell Wilkie, who (though growing up in Elwood, IN near my hometown of Pendleton) taught high school in Coffeyville prior to his political career.  There were also exhibits of the Osage Indians who at one time flourished in the Coffeyville area, before it was overtaken by the white man.

I could not resist taking a picture of Dianne next to the Indian figure. 

 When the museum manager saw me taking the picture, he left his post and insisted on placing a cowboy hat on me and taking a picture of the two of us.

Today was our first day of work at Amazon - five hours of orientation and safety training, and no actual work.  As a former HR director, it was interesting to see how a large corporation does the same thing that I used to do for my former school corporation - the same, but different!  Tomorrow the real work begins.  We will let you know about our new blisters, as we are told that we will be walking up to 15 miles a day.

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