Ride through the country educational

By Lynn Moncus: QCS Columnist

Aggie has decided she may not take any more Sunday drives unless I assure her I know where we are going. She tends to get a little excited when I tell her we are hopelessly lost and may not be able to to find our way home before dark. She really needs to have more of a spirit of adventure.

Last Sunday, for instance, we headed toward the plains to do a little scouting and to enjoy the silence of the llano. I decided to turn onto “a road not taken” and had a blast while seeing remains of homesteads and wondering who had lived where during the early days. Actually, I was aimed toward Wheatland but kept wondering just where we were going to land before we ever reached that destination. We stopped to do a little walking and a lot of looking and we were both glad to return to the car for a cool drink of water.

Because I take pictures of all our little tours, we also slowed down long enough for me to aim my “Brownie box camera” at a wooden windmill, a few meadow larks, some cattle and some old barns. Wooden windmills are no longer very easy to find; thus, I stop whenever I see one in order to capture a picture or two. Meadow larks reminded me of the years in the canyons and caused me to pause to do a little remembering as well as some listening to their songs. Curious cattle almost always cause us to pause to watch for a few minutes so Aggie can learn a little about what she might have had a chance to herd had she not found a home with me.

Old barns fascinate me because they represent a major part of our history and because they are often the only remains of those earlier days. We didn’t have a barn in the canyons, but I used to enjoy visiting some of the neighbors who did because they were great places in which to play when we were children. They provided good shade and sheltered us from the wind that seemed to blow constantly on the plains.

We were both pleased that the roads weren’t as rough as some we had traveled a few weeks ago. We just ambled along while looking for miles in all directions. That flat land played its usual trick on me, causing me to know I had lost my sense of direction. Of course, those who know me, know I don’t really know which direction I’m going any time. Logically, I knew we were headed toward Wheatland, but mentally, I felt as if we were going in the opposite direction. I know how some of those pioneers felt when they became lost on the plains and drove in circles for a while. Without landmarks in those days, they merely had to come to their senses and watch the sun in order to know how to get out of those circles. I was even arguing with the compass in the car as we continued, according to its needling, in an easterly direction. Once we neared a state road, everything whirled into focus, and I knew where we were. I may not know east from west, but I do know when I’m turned around and need to find a place in which that feeling will subside.

Those of you who like to explore our county should begin to find the county roads so you will learn more about our landscape and our history. You might even take a map along so you will know where you are at all times. Yes, I had a map, but it was in the back seat and I didn’t want to be bothered with finding where we were. I looked at it later to find out where we had been. At least, I knew we arrived at Wheatland and paused to think about the history of that beautiful school. Let’s keep our history alive and enjoy our county.