April 21, 2018 Marion, Kansas

Abandoned Kansas Farmhouse
Abandoned Kansas Farmhouse

Driving the Backroads of Kansas

I have been staying at another Army Corps of Engineers park on the shores of Marion Reservoir the last week or so. Cottonwood Point Campground is yet another great COE campground with 171 campsites spread out over many acres along the shoreline of the reservoir. The sites are mostly level backins with a few pullthroughs, most have gravel pads, picnic table under a shelter, fire pit and charcoal grill. Most have 50 amp electric  with water spigot and some sites have full hookups.

Since there is almost no one here this early in the season, I was able to grab a great pull through site at the very end of one of the four camping loops, guaranteeing me the solitude I love. This site, like most in this campground is waterside with lots of trees around the campsite. Very strong Verizon signal for my internet and this site allowed me easy access to the southern sky for my satellite TV. And for all this I have to pay all of $10.50 ( with my senior pass ) a night, pretty hard to beat that.

Cottonwood Point COE Campsite
Cottonwood Point COE Campsite

My only gripe is that yesterday I had to move from the wonderful site seen in these images to another pull through ( that proved to be every bit as nice ). The reason why ? Well, even though there are only about a dozen campers here amongst the 171 sites, this particular site has been reserved for the weekend. An all too common occurrence with campgrounds that allow reserving specific sites as opposed to reserving a guaranteed open space in the campground ( like the Texas State Park system does )

Cottonwood Point COE Campsite
Cottonwood Point COE Campsite

Notice the rapidly growing Pearl next to Sam. Weighed 2.4 pounds at her first vet visit a month ago, and now 4.4 pounds at her vet visit this week ( for the last of her puppy shots and her first rabies shot ). She remains bold and very independent, to the point of stubborn at times, but recognizes that she does have to pay attention, and respond, to my requests … at least most of the time. Continues to harass poor old Sam, but I do catch Sam actually playing with her quite often now, and even seeking her out to snuggle with once she sees that Pearl has finally shut down and fallen asleep.

Kansas Farmscape
Kansas Farmscape

The weather has been all over the map during my stay, from lows in the low 20’s to highs around 80, with rain, snow and a little bit of sun. The only constant has been the wind, blowing from all directions, but continually blowing, often up to 40 mph.

Kansas Farmscape
Kansas Farmscape

I have been driving all the back roads looking for old barns, but there are very few left standing, most farms now have metal barns, nowhere near as picturesque as the stately old wooden structures.

Abandoned Kansas Barns
Abandoned Kansas Barns

It’s not like the wooden barns didn’t once exist here, it’s just that what I see now are mainly just piles of wooden debris scattered through the woods that border the fields.

Abandoned Kansas Farm
Abandoned Kansas Farm

Once in a while I come across one that is still sort of standing, as in the images above, but these are few and far between.

Remains of a Stone Farmhouse
Remains of a Stone Farmhouse

I suppose that if a stone structure, like the one above located in the middle of a cultivated field, can’t survive here, it probably is little wonder that the old wooden structures have all disappeared.

Controlled Burn
Controlled Burn

Cheyenne Bottoms Wetlands

I made a 200 mile round trip to check out the Cheyenne Bottoms Wetlands west of here the other day after I went online and managed to reserve a spot on the last day of trips to a blind ( limited to only 6 people ) set up next to a Prairie Chicken lec to observe their mating rituals. The smoky scene above is what I encountered as I approached the wetlands. Unfortunately, there was a controlled burn in progress out on the wetlands and a lot of the area was thus inaccessible on the day I chose to visit.

Cheyenne Bottoms Birds
Cheyenne Bottoms Birds

I did manage to drive a bit of the roads in the wetlands and encountered a few birds here and there.

Avocet
Avocet

Certainly worth visiting again.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

I will be returning there with the motorhome next week and hope to get a better chance to explore the area for birds. These wetlands are located along the Central ( migratory ) Flyway and are a main refueling stop for all kinds of birdlife heading north to their breeding grounds.

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7 thoughts on “April 21, 2018 Marion, Kansas”

  1. Hopefully you have collision and/or comprehensive insurance on the Prius. If so just file with your insurance company and let them deal with USAA to recover the costs. You may have to pay the deductible, but may recover it as your insurance company forces the payment to USAA.

    Secondly, try working your way up the ladder when you call USAA. Ask for a supervisor, and their supervisor. Also find an online source for the Arkansas law so you can quote it. Once you have the law in hand push USAA to explain why the law does not apply. Insist that they provide written documentation as to why they won’t cover your damages.

    Also try to find a way to do the above measures via email so you have written documentation of your efforts to get USAA to pay.

    Additionally, try writing a letter to USAA Claims detailing your issues. Be sure to include a link to the Arkansas law and quote the law in the letter.
    When you talk to USAA ask for the name of the head of auto claims and address your letter to that person.
    USAA’s address is:
    USAA (Claims Service)
    P.O. Box 33490
    San Antonio, TX 78265

    Lastly, call and/or write to the Arkansas State Insurance Commissioner and file a complaint with them.

    Another thought is to post your issues on some of the RV’ing forums and see what kind of advice you get. Of course some of the advice is going to be worthless, but some should be helpful. A forum I am active on, is very friendly and I find a lot of good info on, is the Escapees RV Club Forum, http://www.rvnetwork.com/

    If nothing else, discussing your issues on forums gets the company some negative exposure.

    Disclosure, I am a USAA retiree and carry my insurance with them. My employment was in the IT department, so I have no knowledge or expertise with insurance.

    It really sucks trying to deal with insurance company bureaucracy or any other large company.

    Good luck.

    1. Thanks for the info. I have to admit that I am procrastinating on this. Also waiting to see if stolen car charges are actually brought against the driver, and if so , if he is convicted. The trooper investigating the accident told me there was a relationship between the car owner and the driver that supposedly ” stole” the vehicle. If the car theft charge is dropped or he is found innocent if it goes to court, then the whole denial of coverage goes away for USAA. In the meantime I have filed with my coverer, but obviously don’t want to pay the deductible, plus they will not cover the damage done to my photo gear.

    1. NO, they have decided to take the low road, denying any responsibility to cover any damage, despite Arkansas law to the contrary. Obviously figuring I will not be up to pursuing legal action to force them to comply with the law. They may be right, since taking them to court in Arkansas would really wreck my summer plans and they know that.

      If anyone has any ideas I am all ears.

  2. Bob–Totally enjoy your photos and posts. Safe travels. I leave 5/8 for my drive back to NH with Tia. Do you know an artist in the UV named Petey Becker. She just did a painting of Tia that you would love to see if I can figure out how to send it to you.

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