The Trans-America Challenge 2012

7th May - 8th June 2012


Eureka Springs to Dodge City

MAY 14TH, 2012

Over the Rainbow

Pulling out of Eureka Springs this morning we were promised a long flat day and, mile after mile after mile it didn't disappoint. We managed three states today dodging armadillos, tortoises and farm dogs. Kicking off in Arkansas, passing through Oklahoma and finishing in Kansas we touched (briefly) on Route 66, enjoyed coffee in the Prairie Rose Cafe and drove through Barnsdall, the former home of Clarke Gable.

The day was punctuated with a series of passage controls strategically place to relieve what I've heard the Americans describe as "truckers ass". At a shade under 500 miles the danger of this condition getting a grip today was very real but at each halt the crews managed to gee each other up for another session behind the wheel.

Once into Kansas made famous by the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz,  we followed our own yellow brick road and, we even brought our very own cast, well part of it at least. 

We have Dorothy (Caldwell), Wizards of Oz ....take your pick from Gerry Crown, Matt Bryson, Geoff Nicholls, Terry Ward; several Tin Men and quite a few Cowardly Lions. As for the Wicked Witches and the Scare Crows we'll let you decide there. Past the nodding donkeys, through the massive wheat fields, along the endless Tarmac and Over the Rainbow we continued our westerly path.

Problems have been thankfully few and far between today. John and Isabel Rowe needed a bit of attention for a loose roll bar mount on their Jag', while at the same garage we came across Marco Halter & Claudia Englehardt in the Chevrolet Camaro with a minor fuelling problem. Neither issue held the cars up for long however.

We witnessed a remarkable meeting however as Tom and Rosalie Gatsonides in the Alvis encountered some of their old rallying friends driving a Landcruiser along the road to Schidler. As far as coincidences go this must rank right up there with the best of them.

Finally arriving in Dodge City, the birthplace of Dennis Hopper and the setting for the TV series Gun Smoke we knew we were in the heart of the one time Wild West. The city is proud of its history. Cowboy memorabilia is commonplace, there's a Boot Hill Museum and frequent re-enactments of some of the gun battles which made the town famous. Sadly we didn't have time to see much of it arriving as we did so close to nightfall.

The run into town though is lined with abattoirs and meat processing plants and one of the locals kindly gave us a quick rundown of the food production process pointing out that "you can't eat em if you don't kill em". With that in mind we sat down to dinner; a cheese salad for me thank you.

Not quite the Emerald City we thought we'd find but a great place for a night halt.


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