Thursday, August 18, 2011

Getting the heck outta Dodge

After my wonderful time in authentic Old West towns of Colorado such as Silverton, I was expecting Dodge City, Kansas to also have quite a bit of it’s Old West heritage preserved as well.

Unfortunately, not so much.

Sure, there was Wyatt Earp Drive (the main street through town), and Boot Hill, but the Old West buildings there were a bit too new and perfect-looking compared to the more authentic ones I’d just seen in Colorado:


Or maybe it was the fact that they built a modern Applebee’s restaurant right next to this attraction, but I decided to not pay to tour this place and moved along to see other the other sites.

They seemed to have a pretty good-sized downtown


But there is no doubt that the main industry in town these days is meat packing, and it’s quite a production.  Much, much larger than the so-called “Beef Capital of the World” (Hereford, TX) that I passed through last February. 

This slaughterhouse was one of a couple big ones in town.  Hundreds of trucks coming and going.  The night before, I had noticed a lot of cattle trucks on the road.  Seems like they make the rounds to all the cattle feed lots mainly at night, and by the next morning, nothing but a few hundred mundane-looking refrigerated trucks wait in the parking lot.   Dodge City seems ideally located for this kind of operation—way off the beaten path of Interstate highways and far away from view of suburbanites gobbling up their $1 Happy Meals without a care in the world.   Somehow, I think the cowboys of the Old West would be appalled by this.kind of corporate hyper-automation.  No more “Home on the Range” herding grass-fed cattle across large expanses of open range land…unless you happen to be in New Mexico!.


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