Thursday, September 22, 2011

This Looks Like Kansas, Toto!

Day 25: Sept. 20, 2011

There’s not much to say about today for this blog--a rarity in our travels! We left our beautiful state park campsite this morning just after 8:30. It was really one of the nicest state parks we’ve experienced, although we’ve seen a lot (and are at another one tonight.) The lake was lovely this morning, as was the air, cool and refreshing. I slept great and felt wonderful this morning when we pulled out.

We headed south on I-25 toward Denver, but got off the interstate after only about 20 miles to make a wide detour around the big city. I really did not want to run into rush hour traffic there. I was sorry to leave the Rocky Mountains in the distance, however--we are going to miss them until our next trip west.

After we picked up I-70, we concentrated on driving. I did most of eastern Colorado while Joe read his book; I must say, the landscape was the most boring we have seen *anywhere*, and I didn’t even regret that he won’t take pictures. There was nothing to photograph! Gently rolling hills occasionally, but mostly flat, and with just nothing to see. All the crops have been harvested, the hills had no vegetation or interesting features, and we didn’t even see many cows grazing. Just a lot of nothing. You would never know that Colorado is considered one of the most scenic states. Everything worth seeing, pretty much, is west of I-25.

Just before we got to the Kansas state line, we took the exit for Birmingham, which has an original and perfectly restored carousel. But alas, it was closed after Labor Day. We could look through the windows of the carousel building and see it--it really is beautiful. We love carousels. But it was disappointing not to be able to ride it or hear the “military music” it plays on its calliope.

So we got back on I-70, crossed into Kansas (a new sticker!) and stopped at the welcome center a few miles later. This was a very well done center, I thought, and the lady who helped me was very good. Kansas is very clever--they know that a lot of folks are just travelling through on the Interstate. So I was given, among other things, a brochure which is called “Kansas I-70: America’s Main Street.” It follows along the interstate and tells what attractions are at each of the major cities that the road goes through. Of course, “major cities” is a relative term. We did see things which seemed like fun (and I was sorely tempted to travel a parallel road in order to see America’s Biggest Ball of Twine!), but we realized as we sat at the welcome center that we were crossing a time zone, and suddenly it was 3pm, and we were only just eating lunch. So we felt a bit pressured for time.

I didn’t take many photos, but we do have one question: does anyone know what these reddish plants are in the fields? We passed a lot of them, and we can’t figure it out.

In the end, we drove about 200 miles of the 450 which Kansas has in store for us, and got off the highway to spend the night at Wilson State Park. We were surprised at how quickly the landscape changed as soon as we left the interstate--Kansas does have some very pretty places!
Joe caught a nice photo of the sunset sky just as we arrived at the park.
This park is on a lake (big fishing area, again) and our campsite is literally beside the lake. I can hear the water lapping against the shore, and the breeze is lovely. The only downside is, we are back in bug-land. I always forget that there are so many fewer bugs out west, and it’s always an unpleasant surprise to encounter these little gnatty things again.

We chose this park because it was close to an attraction we thought we’d go see tomorrow morning, but now we may change our plans. The attraction doesn’t open until 10, which will put us back on the Interstate at 12, most likely. So instead I think we’ll hit the road earlier and go see something further down the road tomorrow. Another problem I am finding, though, is that some things we would like to do have, like the carousel, shut down since Labor Day, or only run on weekends. So I am not at all sure what we will do tomorrow. We are currently about 1462 miles from home.

No comments: