Sunday, July 28, 2013

I've Got Yer Ghost Town Right Here

I was on my way to Ravanna, which is one of the closer ghost towns around here and I saw these bulls talking to each other, and this meme popped up in the ol' noggin. The one closest to me on the right was kicking dirt while I was digging the camera out, and after I put it back up.

I guarantee you that conversation wasn't particularly friendly. They like to "fight" a lot at times, which is mostly just pushing and shoving, snorting, tossing of heads, and dirt kicking. Yet somehow things get bent, fences are torn down and other maintenance headaches happen during these events.

Both pastures had plenty of cows and calves further away from the road, and I guarantee you they noticed me with the loud pipes. But, they all just watched me drive by. Ravanna is straight ahead.

One of the very few buildings left - and it's built from limestone rock. Same stuff they used for fenceposts.

There are a lot of these remains of buildings - just a mound littered with limestone chunks.

I think this is the graveyard. 

A big mound across the road from the courthouse.

The courthouse sat well off the main road, with building remains in the foreground.

Better shot of the courthouse.
The last time I was here was back when I was a teenager. Dad and I drove by while he was scouting out some spots to hunt deer. In my mind's eye, the graveyard was a lot further south, but where I thought it was - well, it was just pasture there and not a clue. I also thought the old Finney County State Lake was due west, but I went that way and it is not - I'm thinking it is to the east. The lake dried out years ago, and is just a large flat depression full of prairie grass and other growth. That was what Dad was scouting, as I recall.

That courthouse hasn't really changed in the forty odd years since last I saw it. I can remember more substantial walls, and I remember Dad saying people had been carrying it off as souvenirs. I think some people were caught and prosecuted, and that crap stopped. Plus, some high school pranksters (seven or eight years older than me) got caught digging up some Civil War veteran in the graveyard. They had taken some of the stuff found inside the coffin - medals and such.

I also broke out my way better point and shoot camera, so the pics are much bigger and better if ya click on 'em. After seeing all this, I headed west to another local landmark - White Mound.

This is just a big bluff/plateau east of White Mound. I had forgotten it was here. That is a pretty poor stand of dryland milo in the foreground. If it rains, the strips of green plants will take off, but the dried up areas are forever gone.

White Mound! This place has some emotional weight for moi because there were several little ponds in the pastures to the west, most of which had fish, and Dad had permission from the owner to fish there. He, Cuzzin Tom and I all spent some time there - I was totally bored after a while. I'd hook up a Rapala just for something to do, on the very off chance there might be a bass in there. Alas, it was just catfish. Which didn't bother Dad in the least - we'd go up there with stinkbaits, worms, liver and such and Dad just sat at the pond's edge, smoking cigarettes and enjoying the peace and quiet. We might have sandwiches and ice water or a pop or three along as well, but it was mostly a chance for Dad to relax away from it all. I'd get chastised were I too noisy because Dad didn't want me scaring the fish, he said. Now that I'm older, I think it was just to get me to shut up and be quiet and not ruin his afternoon off.

I should also mention that the owner at the time had a passel of sons, most of whom were schoolmates. A couple of them became musicians and started a band called - wait for it - White Mound. I had one of their t-shirts, but it turned into a rag many many moons ago.

Plus, on a different sort of adventure, my buddy Road Pig climbed up that thing in his 4wd Blazer. I think it was the Blazer - he got sorta serious with an IH Scout later because the Blazer couldn't take it.

And this milo looks better - kinda thin, but if it rains, it'll be worth cutting.

Plus, the trip on the scoot was pretty uneventful. It has been overcast all day, and it was spitting a tiny amount of moisture as I headed north from town. I'm not gonna be ripping down those gravel roads very fast real soon. I used to just run 45mph on the ol' Virago, but that was mostly when the weeds in the ditches were higher than me. I hit a pheasant once that about knocked me off the bike, and that was how fast I was going at the time. Plus, I wasn't real wild about suddenly sharing the road with deer I couldn't see coming. The weeds aren't doing as well these days, since they seem to require at least a tiny bit of rain, so the approaches to the roads were pretty visible,and the deer were playing well away from me today.

Also got 34.4mpg on that little excursion as well, so I couldn't have even come close with the FX4.

I will be doing this again - I had a lot of fun. It was my way of getting away from it all for a short time.


threecollie said...

A lot of fun for readers too...some interesting history and good scenery. Thanks

lisa said...

That was an awesome post, Jeffro! I really enjoyed it. Boy, that is some flat land.

drjim said...

Agree with Lisa...great post!

Dad Bones said...

Thanks Jeffro.

Chas S. Clifton said...

Looks like the limestone was pretty well pillaged for building materials! That always happens when there are nice stone blocks lying around.

Anonymous said...

Aahh, White Mound. Lots of "adventures" there. And the last time I was at Ravana, the rattlesnakes seemed more numerous than the stones.