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Thursday, November 15, 2012

West Of Wichita, KS Where The Open Ranges Are


1-DSC_0312We started the day early just north of the Missouri State Line. In fact, it was very dark when we got up around 6am. See, we are victims of the various time changes. By the way, Molly is confused as well.
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Only a few miles and we were within the State of Missouri. At Cameron, MO we left the I-35 and cut over to the town of St. Joseph, continuing down a little local road to the town of Atchinson,KS, where we crossed the Missouri River on an ancient steel bridge, the pavement on it so bad that I feared for the travel trailer. However, things improved once we were safely across the river.
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Actually they were just about resurfacing the highway. We saw the crew coming up from a distance, and you might have been as puzzled as we were, when we met a guy walking behind a work truck ….picking up the yellow middle stripes ---- manually. We were so puzzled that we plain forgot to raise the camera. These stripes were of some rubbery plastic – not painted as a stranger might have anticipated. They were all temporary and apparently needed to be picked up and---- recycled??? Just a mile farther down the road we were first in line at the flag man. The guy threw a curious look at our van and slowly walked over ready for breaking up an unexciting day with a chat.
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”There ain’t many Islands around here are there?” 
“No Sir” Island Tours were on the wrong track for that but we had to explain that we were coming from Canada’s east coast.
He confirmed that Kansas had a terrible drought this last summer. And we sure could see many examples of it, like lakes that had disappeared, or creeks being reduced to a bare trickle, if any.
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A water hole – almost dry

In order to avoid the traffic in Kansas City we went via Topeka, the Capital of Kansas. After Topeka we went onto the Kansas Turnpike which connects to the old cattle town of Wichita. Well, it ain’t dealing in cattle anymore. It rather has become quite sophisticated and is more like a financial center in the Midwest.
1-DSC_0347                                            Skyline of Wichita,KS
While we were nearing Wichita the landscape changed. From cultivated agricultural fields it turned into wide open grasslands, seemingly endless stretching to the horizon, a few hills; the first feedlots turning up.
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And there it came again to me, this feeling of an endless freedom, the open ranges of the old west, the small old brick towns dotted farther and farther apart, the total lack of traffic on the highway – just all the ingredients to make an old geezer happy.
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1-DSC_0353We were already west of Wichita, pursuing highway 54 which really gets the traveler to the south-west and entering Oklahoma just south of Liberal,KS.
The sun was nearing the horizon when we rolled into the Walmart in the town of Pratt. But the local Walmart does not permit overnight stays of campers. So we were about to leave town in search for other places, when we saw the sign of an RV-Park just outside of town.
The owner explained to us that her place was packed, due to the presence of hundreds of workers from the wind farm companies. I was about to ask her whether she was glad that Pres.Obama had pushed the development of alternative energy sources, but I refrained in the end, thinking it wasn’t worth to challenge her.

She was helpful enough to explain the road to a campground at the Pratt County Veterans Memorial Lake.
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We followed her instructions and found a downright beautiful and extremely quiet place at a fishing lake. A few campers were parked along the lake. For 15 Bucks we enjoy electricity and even water, no dump station though.

1-DSC_0355Our driving experience has gotten to the better, the van has pulled the trailer just fine, but there wasn’t any wind today either. The art of driving this rig is indeed keeping the foot light on the accelerator, without pushing engine and tranny to max performance.

1-DSC_0359While I had been taking Molly for a well-deserved walk along the lake, Bea had prepared a cozy dinner.

There will be absolutely no nightly disturbances this time.

 

 

 

Thank you for following along!

               

6 comments:

  1. You certainly are moving along. Before you know it the cool weather will disappear and nothing but sun will greet you. Well, at least that's what we're hoping for you. Glad you're new little winter home is working out for you.

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  2. I saw you were in the state, so thought I would stop by and say hello! I was glad to see you drove through the Flint Hills! They seem to be about our biggest touristy thing! We live about 50 miles south east of Wichita on the OK state line so you are going away from us. Be prepared for more cattle feed lots and Happy Trails!

    p.s. ~ I'm currently taking quite a long break from my poor blog....

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  3. You're getting closer. Love the looks of the new trailer's kitchen. Our girls don't do well with the time zone changes either. In fact they are still on whatever time Montana used to be on this summer. So they want dinner at 3:30. And they let me know it.

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  4. I always look forward to getting west of the Mississippi River & then out onto the great flat American plains. So nice to see the traffic drop off & be out of all that Eastern chaos. There were times, even on the Interstates. when I could look both ahead & behind & not see another vehicle. Awwwwwwwwww. Next, the Mountains. My fav:))

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  5. Wonderful quiet roads and endless scenery, enjoy the trip and travel safe.

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