The previous day I had been conversing with my rock doctor friend. She insisted I go visit the Fick Fossil Museum, located in downtown Oakley. She assured me it was a one of the kind experience, and it was one of her favorite fossil museums.
It had rained the night before and I was leery of rain all day. This proved to be very well-founded as throughout the day it rained hard. Lightning, light hail, more rain. There were a few short breaks between the rain, but I wasn’t ready to chance the ride into town. I had befriended my bartender the night before, and when I realized he also worked for the campgrounds, I started up more conversation. I didn’t want to ride; I wanted a ride.
By 2pm I was concerned I might not see the museum. I decided my best bet was to convince Zek (like Beck but with a Z) to run me into town. When I went to ask the front desk where he lived in the campground, I turned to see him behind me. Fortunately for me, he was borrowing a car to run to town to cash his check. He was more than willing to drop me at the museum while he did his chores in town.
The museum was amazing: a collection of fossils, minerals, rocks, and folk art. The latter was the most intriguing and disturbing. This area of Kansas is rich with fossils, and the fine folks in the area have grown fond of taking fossilized shark teeth, stingray teeth, and vertebrae and arranging them in various patterns, then painting them. There was a picture of Jesus and the Lamb done in ancient fossils. The irony was killing me.
The highlight was the largest fish fossil found in the US. It is over 13 feet long and beautiful. There were tons of other amazing fossils, from pectoral fins to the wing of a Pterosauris, and tons of smaller fossils. They even had some fossils from Louisville, KY; numerous varieties I had found while digging in my parents’ yard. Zek picked me up without really looking around the museum. That disappointed me but I understood. I guess most people don’t have much of an appreciation for fossils and natural history. That’s a shame. It was back to the campground and sleep. Tomorrow I needed to do just under 90 miles to make it to Burlington, CO, and out of Kansas. I was way over Kansas, although I will recall it fondly for the unique beauty it possess.