We made it home at 8:30pm with a final mileage of 6,546.6 miles.
I’ll put up the day’s recap tomorrow. G’night!
We drove around the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial a few times to get the lay of the land, and then parked ($6 – not bad). There’s a nice grove of trees around the Arch and a “natural” pool for reflection shots. I initially complained that the trees were blocking my view, but honestly we needed the shade.
It’s $10 to ride the tram, but they were sold out for our time slot and we didn’t want to wait around for hours. Instead we looked around the Museum of Westward Expansion. What we came away with is Lewis & Clark used vastly different camping equipment than we did. Also notable were the park rangers who doubled as troubadours as folks walked into the museum. Nice.
We were quickly worn out by all the unruly children running like maniacs, so we decided to fill up on gas and hit the road!
It’s 3:29pm and we’ve traveled 6153.9 miles.
We barreled into Columbia, MO about 11:00 am, but it wasn’t too early to stop by Shakespeare’s Pizza to reaffirm its supremacy. For those who are curious: Yes, it’s still the best pizza on the planet.
We sat in one of the booths to enjoy God’s gift to pizza, and I looked up to see the Liquor, Guns & Ammo sign. *sigh* When I went to school here, that sign was on the store that sold liquor, guns and ammo. Now it’s a curiosity. Damn, that makes me feel old.
I had two slices of veggie pizza, a Diet Coke in a Shakespeare’s Pizza cup, and a Shakespeare’s Pizza t-shirt. I have to point out to those who know of my t-shirt addiction, it is the only tee I bought on the entire trip.
We roll on. It’s 11:51am and we’ve traveled 6118.2 miles.
We wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment. – Hilaire Belloc
It's Day 16 and we're coming towards the end of our journey. Thanks go out:To Geo for the daily map for reminding us about the Perseid Meteor Showers tonight. We should have a good view from Clinton State Park!
To the girl at the Kit Carson County Carousel for the tour and for sharing the secret names of horses;
To the Kansas DOT worker who told us about camping along the roadside rest stops;
To the Kansas Visitor Guide for giving us the I-70 site seeing brochure;
To the docent at the Goodland High Plains Museum for flipping on the lights and pulling out the hospitality;
And especially to Patsy & Tom for setting us on the road with a good breakfast and tons of healthy snacks! We speak your names on the road,
Tammy & Pattie
We left Denver in Colorful Colorado about 9am to head East. We didn’t have any plans for this leg of the trip, so relied upon my 1998 State Farm Road Atlas to point out the sights along I-70. The only one that sounded interesting between Denver and Kansas was the Kit Carson County Carousel.
Kit Carson was a colorful frontiersman who was a busy with a whole range of Wild-West taming, Civil Warring, and pioneering over a 20+ year career. Building carousels wasn’t one of the things he did, but there’s one sitting in the county fair grounds that I think he’d be proud of. The Carousel has 46 stationary, fancifully carved animals, an original brass organ, and several canvas paintings depicting animals, landscapes, and fairy-tale scenes. Some of the horses have real horse-hair tails and the antelope have actual horns. It reaches a speed of 12mph. I can’t believe they only charge twenty five cents to ride this thing. Awesome. Best money I’ve spent on this trip.
We made a command decision to cover as much of Kansas as possible today, but that didn’t stop us from making a few stops along the way. The most notable was Goodland, Kansas. They have the High Plains Museum here, and apparently it’s not well attended because the docent had to turn the lights on for us. This museum houses information on the rain maker industry that sprung up to bilk farmers during the dust bowl years. Amazing. They also have the first helicopter built in the country. It’s a whirligig contraption that is wonderful to behold but would scare the shit out of me if I had to ride the thing.
We chatted with the docent who told us that although Goodland does have an annual sunflower festival in August, it was too early for them to be in full bloom. I didn’t notice any actual sunflower fields in the immediate town environs. Like I mentioned before, they have an 80′ reproduction of Van Gogh’s sunflowers on an easel in the parking lot just West of the museum. Part of me wishes I had been part of the original committee that commissioned that hot mess. It’s a fine example of Americana.
We drove through Hays to see the Fort and dinosaur museum (thanks for the rec, Bill!), but things were closed up by the time we rolled into town. We took it as a sign and decided to make a mad dash for Missouri.
A note about Kansas rest stops: according to the employees, you can camp overnight for free for one night at all the rest stops along the Interstate. While this shouldn’t be a preferred choice, it’s a nice last-ditch option. I wish California were half as generous with both rest stops and camping.
We’re still driving. It’s 9:14pm and we’ve traveled 5915.2 miles.
We stopped in Burlington, Colorado to ride the Kit Carson County Carousel — say that three times fast. I’ll wait.
See? It’s hard! We got a nice history of the carousel — it was once used as grain storage for six years, and varnished so many times that the animals were black in color. It took 18 months to remove all the varnish, but when they did, the original paint was discovered underneath. If you look closely, you can even see some of the pencil outlines.
We paid 25 cents apiece to ride. Bargain! I rode the mountain goat and Pattie rode the dog.
After we crossed the state line into Kansas, we stopped off at Goodland to see the country’s first helicopter (which spins, but doesn’t lift) and to learn about rainmaker and dustbowl history at the High Plains Museum. Goodland also sports a 80′ reproduction of Van Gogh’s sunflower painting in the middle of a parking lot. I think it’s because they have a sunflower festival every August. However, it’s still a little early in August to see them in full bloom. Something to look forward to, I suppose.
It’s 3:49pm and we’ve traveled 5572.7 miles.