Saturday, July 4, 2009

I am Going to Marry Kansas

We are 1,300 miles into our trip, and I have not driven one of them. Please allow me to go on record: I am a GOOD driver -- just a bit slower than Checkered. Okay, after we got on the two-lane highway in Kansas and the wind gusts got a little frightening, I was happy to allow him to continue driving.

We each have our favorite region of the trip thus far. My children loved Iowa and its surprisingly rolling terrain. They genuinely hope for a return visit someday. I do think our visit with Jeannelle influenced that affection for Iowa. They asked today when would get to see her next. My youngest hopes to return there some day and build a tree house. I told him I would stay on the ground when I come to visit, but his dad offered to help him build it.

Checkered thought Kansas City was beautiful.

I am quite in love with the plains of western Kansas and announced my desire to channel Laura Ingalls Wilder and move here. The open vistas have completely captured my heart. The endless wind.

The lack of traffic. The small towns. They are all part of the lure. I've been dreaming about coming to this part of Kansas to teach, but I have learned that there are no Tim Hortons west of the Mississippi. That could seriously impact my decision to move to the prairie. Of course, if we were to move to Kansas, we would probably end up in some town, but where I would really want to be would be out on the prairie on someone's ranch.

I guess I wouldn't be a great rancher or farmer. But maybe I COULD be a wind farmer.

Today we spent in Dodge City. I am happy to report that the town smelled fine. I suspect that the offensive odor my sister encounterd here years ago was the result of these stock yards. They are so spectacular in their expanse that there is a pull-off to stop and gawk.

The Boot Hill Museum is okay. It's goal is to capture the spirit of the old west, and their acting troupe is certainly entertaining. My kids loved the gunfight, but were a little disappointed to learn that blanks were going to be used instead of live ammo.

Meet Dodge City's newest deputies. They had to go through rigorous training to earn their badge: hopping (to demonstrate how they would chase the bad guys after being shot), running (to chase the bad guys before being shot), and shooting a finger gun. We're quite proud.

For Checkered, my daughter, and me the highlight of Dodge City was seeing the actual Santa Fe Trail tracks. This site has been verified by the National Park Service. See the parallel dark tracks? Now imagine a covered wagon bumping over them with the drivers wondering when the next Indian or weather attack would occur. I was mesmerized by a display at Boot Hill of actual things discarded by travellers along the trail.

The exciting news for the night? That same sexy driver just found an open Sonic.

And all is well.


Jeannelle said...

Oh, hooray....I get to be the first comment (maybe)! Good thing I stayed up so late.

Great scenes of your time in Kansas! You all look right at home there on the wind-swept prairie! Those new deputies look pretty rough and tough....the bad guys will be high-tailin' it out of Dodge now, for sure!

The Sante Fe Trail tracks are incredible! I had no idea any still existed. This was a really great post, Caution....thanks for generously sharing your trip with your readers!

Happy travels to NM!

Rechelle said...

Yay Kansas! It is right purty ain't it! You probably drove right by the exit to my little town. I lived in Dodge City for two years when i was a kid. Great restaraunt called El Charros there. I still dream about their Tiajuana tostada. Happy travels!

Kelli Nørgaard said...

I get excited every time I see windmills somewhere besides DK!! YEAH FOR KANSAS!

Laura ~Peach~ said...

excellent trip cant wait to see more :)

won said...

A sigh of relief knowing a Sonic has been found! All is, once again, right with the world.

Noe Noe Girl...A Queen of all Trades. said...

What a trip girl! Loving the shot of those cool dudes in the foster grants! Sonic ~ Yeah!

Mrs4444 said...

Very cool. I've never been out that way.

Evansmom said...

Thanks for sharing. What great memories you are making.

Busy Bee Suz said...

This sounds like a great family trip and a good memory maker for all of you!!!
If you become a wind farmer, I want in!!!

muddywaters said...

Kansas rocks! I wish I was on the road.