Travel and Adventure

“Lost on Everest”: a multi-media web article about the first American to summit Mt. Everest

640px-Mount_Everest_as_seen_from_Drukair2Photo Credit:  Wikipedia (cc)

I’m a guy who loves reading about historical adventurers.  The Lewis and Clark expedition being one of my favorites.  When I ran across the Outside Magazine article about the first American to climb Mount Everest, I was immediately interested.  When I saw it also had historic photographs, current day video interviews and a well done story of the historic event, I was hooked.

This is what Outside says about “Lost on Everest”,

“Fifty years ago this month, Jim Whittaker became the first American to summit Everest. Three weeks later, a second party from the same team made an even more stunning assault on the mountain’s unclimbed West Ridge. Using never before published transcripts from the 1963 expedition, Grayson Schaffer takes a new look at a bold ascent that changed everything.”

While reading the article and watching the video, I realized how much of a slacker I am.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Here’s the link:

McLoud, OK Blackberry Festival: Not at the top of the Small Town Festivals list

Blackberries and whiskey running are two of the claims to fame McLoud residents boast.   The former is what brought me to the tiny town of less than 4,000 people:  The Blackberry Festival.

After a slight detour (I missed the exit) I arrived in McLoud at the tail end of the town’s parade.  Certainly not the Rose Parade, but I get a kick out of watching the people who attend them.  As the parade ended, I headed over to the festival, complete with carnival rides, food trailers and a car show.

Events were scheduled throughout the day.  The horse shoe tossing near the beer trailer (sounded dangerous) and turtle races perked my interest, but they were going to take place later in the day. Unfortunately, it was going to be way too hot to experience those events.  At 11:00 a.m., it was already reaching a stifling 96° and expected to climb to 105°.

I stopped at the McLoud Chamber of Commerce booth to pick up some of the famous Blackberry Jam.  I didn’t find the whiskey booth.

Then, after the second tour of the car show, I went back into town to the McLoud Diner for lunch.  It wasn’t a write-home-to-mom burger, but it served its purpose.  Afterwards, I decided to head back to Tulsa.

Overall, I was a little disappointed in this adventure.  It would have been a more memorable experience if the festival had been placed in the old downtown area, closer to the town’s history, the retail establishments and places where you could get out of the heat for a while.

Would I go back to the Blackberry Festival?  Probably not.  Been there, done that.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure it was an anticipated event for the residents of McLoud, but not much to see or do for folks from out of town.  Well, unless you enjoy tipsy horse shoe tossin’.

Pictures from the car show.


Beaumont, KS

Last weekend, Mom and I went to visit my Granddaughter in Wichita.  We were driving along highway 400 in Kansas when we saw a sign at the side of the road pointing the way to a historic hotel and cafe.  Beaumont.

I love visiting the out of the way places during road trips.  Meeting the local folks is interesting.  Beaumont was no different.

Beaumont Hotel and Cafe

It was lunchtime when we arrived, so we decided to try the Cafe out.  The food was awesome and the waitress doubled as the town historian.  We found that the locals weren’t called “farmers.”  They were “ranchers.”  She assured us that we’d be reminded of that.  She went on to tell us that the town once boasted a population of over 1,000 people.  Today, 40 people call Beaumont home.  Mom asked her about the vacant buildings across the street and we were told the history of what they had been.  A journey through time.

Across the street from the hotel

The old bank building is now the community center

Beaumont is known for cattle ranching, and the native grasses that would fatten the cattle up.  I’m assuming the railroad that once passed through the edge of town carried cattle to market.  The water tower that filled the steam engines with water still stands, although the sounds of the train stopping to fill up has long been silenced.

It's been a while since a train rode these tracks

Steam engines would stop in Beaumont at the water tower

The water tower

It's a long way up to the top

The waitress told us about pilots parking their planes next to the hotel to have lunch or during their stay at the hotel.

Planes have replaced the trains in Beaumont

The Beaumont Hotel, built in 1879, has stood the test of time.  Several owners later, the hotel is still in full operation.

The Beaumont Hotel

One thing, there’s no cell service there.  It’d be a great place to get away from the telephone and the computer.  I might have to make a trip to Beaumont in the future to spend the night.

The Beaumont Hotel (and Mom)

So, if you’re traveling along highway 400, take the time to stop at Beaumont and have some breakfast, lunch or dinner.  You’ll be glad you did.

Now, did I make it to see my granddaughter?  You betcha.