Kiowa County High Point Trip Report

Date: November 30, 2003
Author: Kevin Baker

After driving for about 4 hours from Stafford, KS, we headed for the Kiowa county highpoint. We had to drive about 9 miles of dirt roads in our Pontiac Sunfire (the shake-n-bake mobile) to reach the point where I would start hiking for a short distance to the highpoint. The last road was basically just through a field and started to get a little muddy from a recent snow.

I failed to gun it through an area, and the car got stuck. I had Jenni step on the gas while I pushed, but that just led to mud spewing all over my clothes. The tires were now starting to dig ruts, so I decided to get it on the edge of the grass for more traction. WRONG IDEA. The car was so low to the ground that I believe the catalytic converter began to overheat and it caught the dry grass on fire. The car began to smoke under the hood, but I didn't think much of it. Soon I noticed the grass in front of the car was in flames! I put it out with some snow, but now the car was in danger. Jenni got most of our stuff out, but I was yelling at her to forget it and get away from the car. We could do nothing and it went up in flames and burned for over 30 minutes! We called 911 for fear that the field to the south would catch aflame, but the finds were fortunately blowing from the south.

The local fire department arrived in 20 minutes to put out the fire along with the landowner, the sheriff, a deputy, and finally a wrecker to tow the car. We lost my wallet, a CD changer and CDs, and some coveted maps in the fire. Insurance will take care of it, but we won't get much out of it since the book value is only $2K.

We went back to the sheriff's office in Eads where we had a nice time chatting with him and the deputy. They even showed us their two man jail and told us about some exciting meth lab busts! We couldn't find a car rental place open, so we finally found some great friends in Colorado Springs to make the 2.5 hour drive to come pick us up! The fun thing about doing crazy things like highpointing is you never know what will happen, even in a flat field out in the middle of nowhere. The bad thing is it wasn't fun this time.