Renegade Roads

150 Places to Celebrate Kansas's 150th Birthday

Mar11 Renegade Rds

There’s no place like Kansas.

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Following the Trail of Quanah Parker

Tracking the last chief of the Comanche Nation from Texas’s Fort Parker to Oklahoma’s Fort Sill.

This is surreal-and, no, I’m not stoned on peyote.

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Following Calamity Jane

Born in Missouri in 1856 Martha Canary came west with her family, spent part of her childhood in the Montana gold fields near Virginia City and Nevada City, and came of age in Utah following the death of her parents (her mother in Montana, her father in Utah).

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On the Cheyenne Heritage Trail

An Oklahoma loop, from Clinton to Elk City, ending the trail at El Reno.

Hmmm. Several years back, the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department created the Cheyenne Heritage Trail, a 400-plus-mile route featuring 10 stops and two “drive-by” sites in western Oklahoma that played key roles in the history of the Southern Cheyenne Indians.

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Looping Across Kit Carson's Southwest

Celebrating his 200th birthday by going full circle from Taos, New Mexico.

A banner whips in the wind over the main drag as I drive into Taos, New Mexico, and I figure that Kit Carson is getting his due. I should have known better.

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Trailing Alfred Jacob Miller in the West

Following the artist 200 years after his birth, from Independence, Missouri, to Daniel, Wyoming.

Alfred Jacob Miller was 27 years old when Scotsman Capt. William Drummond Stewart visited his Baltimore studio in 1837.

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Following Charlie Russell's Paintbrush

From Lewistown, Montana, to Great Falls, Montana.

It’s a quiet day in Utica. No practical joker has tied tin cans to a dog’s tail and sent that dog running across the street in front of the General Merchandise, spooking one cowboy’s horse and a flock of chickens.

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Ice Age Floods Trail

Our nation’s first National Geologic Trail, extending from Glacier National Park to Astoria, Oregon.

Since my sister says I am older than dirt, I will tell you that back when I was just a youngster--you know, during the last Ice Age, about 12,000 to 18,000 years ago--glaciers spread down out of what is now Canada into present-day northern Montana.

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Mapping the Black Hills: Valentine T. McGillycuddy

From Devils Lake, North Dakota, to Wounded Knee, South Dakota. 

Valentine T. McGillcuddy, weak and on the verge of becoming an alcoholic after a stint as a doctor at the Wayne County Insane Asylum in Detroit, started a new career as a topographical engineer and cartographer when he was in his early 20s.

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Following John Wesley Hardin Across Texas

From Bonham, Texas, to El Paso, Texas.

Everybody is soooooo nice in Bonham, Texas, I find it hard to believe that this is the place that gave birth to a psycho, bigoted, cold-blooded murdering SOB like John Wesley Hardin.

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Rollin', Rollin', Respectin' Along the Western Trail

I’ve lost count of the museums dedicated to preserving the history and legacy of the Chisholm Trail.

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Dreams of Gold on the Starvation Trail

From Kansas City, Missouri, to Denver, Colorado.

Gold seekers intent on finding the quickest ways to the Colorado gold fields forged the Smoky Hill Trail, but many of them paid a terrible price in their quest as tthey failed to recognize the dangers in crossing the Kansas and Colorado Plains.

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Filming the Oregon Trail

During the 19th century around 400,000 people traveled the Oregon and California Trails seeking new opportunities, land, gold. They traveled with friends and family, or left all of them behind and truly struck out on a new life.

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The Old Snake Trade Route

Traveling a little-known route from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to Bismarck, North Dakota.

Indian trade routes criss-crossed the country generations before any Euroamerican travelers arrived on foot, horseback or via covered wagons.

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Following Mountain Man Jim Bridger

jun09_renegade_rds_250At the edge of the Red Desert, But situated in a lush valley within view of a mountain range that retains snow on its peaks much of the year, Fort Bridger was strategically located on the route many emigrants and freighters used when traveling across the West.

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The Walls of a Prison Will Never Hold Me

Following the inmate trail from Angola, Louisiana, to Yuma, Arizona.

Angola, Louisiana, might not be considered the West to some folks, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen any roundup get as Western as its prison rodeo-and I’ve attended plenty of rodeos.

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Trailing Narcissa Whitman & Eliza Spalding

From St. Louis, Missouri, to Spalding, Idaho.

Narcissa had entered into a marriage of convenience with Dr. Marcus Whitman to fulfill her lifelong desire to serve a mission.

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On the Trading Post Trail

From Ganado, Arizona, to Tohatchi, New Mexico.

They were cultural centers, these trading posts on the Navajo reservation.

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Journey Through Spanish Missions Country

From San Antonio, Texas, to San Juan Capistrano, California

Tourists—tons of them—walk inside these walls with a quiet reverence.

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The Pony Rides Again, 150 Years Later

The Pony began when Johnny Fry rode from Pikes Peak Stables in St. Joseph, Missouri on April 3, 1860.

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Following Thomas "Broken Hand" Fitzpatrick

On the trapper trail from Wyoming’s Fort Laramie to La Junta, Colorado.

Irish immigrant Thomas Fitzpatrick signed on with William Ashley to head out West in search of beaver in 1823.

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True Westerners

Cord McCoy

Cord McCoy

Riding a bull requires practice, practice practice! Hard to hit a 90 mph fast bal...

Dark Starr

Dark Starr

One hundred years ago this month, Henry Starr set out to make history. The caree...

One Man’s Dream

One Man’s Dream

When she was a seventh grader, Lori White knew Kenneth “Dobby” Lee as her school...


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