For the second time in the past three Saturdays, I left Russell early to go south and west to cover a high school sporting event.
The first part of the journey, I-70 from Russell to WaKeeney and then US 283 from WaKeeney to Ness City, was exactly the same as it was two weeks ago. I made a stop at Wal-Mart in Hays and found my favorite Ghardelli chocolate. I need to load up at Hy-Vee the next time I’m in Kansas City, although I bet the one in Topeka will have it too.
In case you’re curious, every November and December, Ghardelli of San Francisco puts out the best chocolate I’ve ever tasted. Peppermint bark, which is white choclate flecked with peppermint over milk or dark chocolate; pumpkin spice, milk chocolate with caramel in the middle; and the best of all, egg nog. I am so tempted to pay $180 to buy a case of the egg nog chocolate squares.
I guess I shouldn’t be buying Ghardelli in Kansas City, given the Giants beat the Royals in the World Series. I’m also being disloyal to Russell Stover, the candy giant which is headquartered in Kansas City, has a giant distribution factory in Abilene, and was founded by a man born in Alton, a microscopic village in western Osborne County.
The second half of this trip was much different than the one two weeks ago. Instead of heading west on Kansas Highway 96 through Dighton and on to Scott City, I kept on trucking down US 283 all the way to Dodge City.
There was a big rig hauling large pipes which I passed just south of WaKeeney. He stayed on my tail all the way to Jetmore-65 miles south of WaKeeney–before he had to slow down through the city limits of the Hodgeman County seat. There were a few cars I had to pass between Jetmore and the junction with US 50/56 north of Dodge City, but it was otherwise a very smooth drive south.
I actually bypassed the heart of Dodge City to the north on US 50, realizing that the TownePlace Suites was on the west edge of Wyatt Earp Boulevard, the main business street of Dodge City. Very fitting that the main street in Dodge City is named for Earp, the famous law man who helped found the city in 1872.
The room at the TownePlace is the same as the one I had in Garden City two weeks ago, so I am not complaining one bit. It provides easy access to return to US 283 south and go to Minneola this evening, and also a convenient return to US 50 to get out of here whenever I choose to leave, whether it be Monday or Tuesday.
I have to leave the hotel no later than 3. I usually like to get to the field two hours before kickoff, but maybe I’ll wait this time, since a lot of Victoria fans probably won’t get there until 4 or later. I got to Victoria at 5:55 Tuesday, much later than usual, and parking was not an issue.
Minneola is 25 miles south of Dodge City on US 283. I passed through the town once, in 2008, on my way to Meade. As it turned out, I took the wrong way that time; I learned better when I went back to Meade in 2013, going southwest on US 56 to Kansas Highway 23, which took me right into Meade. When I went in 2008, I went 283 south to Minneola, then turned west on US 54 and had to go through Fowler, the hometown of U.S. Representative Tim Huelskamp.
Jack Krier told me yesterday I probably didn’t have to go, but I felt a sense of duty–and adventure–to go. What happens if Victoria loses today?
I like Victoria to win today. Minneola has had a fine season, but the Knights have been in this position time and again. They have not been to the semifinals since 2009, the title game since 2008, and haven’t won a title since 2006, which has to seem like an eternity to Victoria’s fans. If Victoria wins, it will host either Ingalls or Wallace County next week in the semifinals.
I won’t be at Victoria’s semifinal game. I’m going to Phillipsburg at Oakley Friday. I’ve also committed to go to Norton’s game Saturday if it defeats Scott City today. The Bluejays would host Wichita Collegiate or travel to Hesston in the quarterfinals. Peggy Cox is hoping Norton plays Collegiate, so she can invite me to her house for dinner. I might feel a bit uncomfortable in that role, but I hope Norton wins, because (a) it’s in the Mid-Continent League and (b) I know so many people there.
If Victoria wins, I’ll be covering them two weeks from today in the championship game at Newton.