Since we were so close to Great Bend, we decided to stop in to see Al's brother who works at John Deere as a service writer.
He was telling us that it is not uncommon to write up repair bills for $20,000 - $40,000! The combine in background brand new would cost a farmer 1/2 million! These new machinery have GPS and can drive themselves. Pretty soon you'll be able to get rid of the farmer! Ha!
Growing up on a farm, Al had thought he would like to be a farmer one day. We tease that he thought he was going to "farm-acy" school. But Al's Dad did not encourage his boys to follow in his footsteps. It was hard and often Dad had to take on a second job. So he told them to go to college and pursue a different career.
Just northeast of Great Bend is the Cheyenne Bottoms wildlife area, a marsh habitat for waterfowl and shorebirds during migrational periods.
We saw a big flock of white pelicans yesterday. They summer in Alberta, Canada and winter in Florida and Mexico.
We saw a few hunters. Hunting is regulated of course because of many endangered and protected birds.
We left the area and drove west on highway 4. Friendly locals would wave to us. Al said they aren't used to seeing humans around. There truly was so little traffic! We were the only ones on the road it seemed.
There are miles of stone fence posts. Farmers and ranchers quarried the abundance of rock to make fence posts since there were so few trees in the area.
Many barns and homes had seen better days. If only we could "hear" the stories they could tell us.
It was past 1:30 and we began to look for places to eat. We like to try those rural mom and pop restaurants - hole in the wall type places. Unfortunately, although many of these small towns had bars (this town had 3) we could not find a diner. So we had to settle for a bar that advertized that it served food too. I was wishing I'd packed a picnic.
The establishment was clean and not smokey at all due to laws. A little tacky perhaps. Check out the curtains made from bed sheets. And I've never had an ice tea or 7-up served up in Bud Light cups before! We just are not bar type people. Oh well, the hamburger and enchilada were decent enough.
We were refreshed and ready for the next part of the adventure!