Friday, July 9, 2010

Kinsley, KS

Now that we have no house near Spearville, we were challenged to find somewhere to park our home while we're visiting for the summer. There aren't any state park campgrounds close enough to be practical.

As summertime temperatures are regularly over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in Western Kansas, we needed to be hooked up to electricity so we could use the air conditioning. For a month-long visit I prefer to hook up to a spigot, instead of filling and re-filling the fresh water tank. And when we're using more than a tankful of water, a sewer hookup keeps us from having to pack and move just to flush the tanks. So it's just as well that we had little choice but to stay at a commercial RV park. (Commercial campgrounds more consistently offer "full" electric/water/sewer hookups).

The nearest RV parks are about 15 miles west, in Dodge City, and about 20 miles east, in Kinsley. Since Kinsley is a much smaller town, and we'd passed the RV park and thought it looked nice, we went east. Four Aces RV park is grassy and has a few nice, shady back-in spots as well as ten pull-throughs with concrete pads. The folks there are friendly as all get-out, and the rates are reasonable, with weekly and monthly discounts. Yes, we had to drive some 20 miles to Spearville to meet up with friends, but we combined all errands into no more than one daily trip (as we usually did when living in the country).

Kinsley is about twice the size of Spearville and well under one-tenth the population of Dodge. You can walk around most of the town in half an hour. The grocery store is open seven days a week and has a bit more of a food selection that the Merc in Spearville [though it is primarily a food store, without the "little bit of everything" department store half that distinguishes the Merc].

We enjoyed the Kinsley library and appreciated the town's always-open recycling drop-off point. They accept a variety of cardboard, paper, plastics, glass and metal. Dodge City also has a drop-off recycling program, and Spearville has a once-a-month drop-off. It's nice to see rural communities addressing the problems of resource depletion and waste and with programs like this.

Like many of the old towns on the railroad, downtown Kinsley is a mix of empty storefronts and active businesses. One rather crumbly but lovable little treasure we discovered is the Palace movie theater, where they show current movies for a reasonable price, on a tiny screen. The seats are terribly worn and the decor is vintage, if a bit sad. It's pretty sweet all the same.

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