Day 8 - Kansas / July 20

Heading east, but not without things to do and places to see!

No Internet last evening so here I am at 6:15 a.m. at a McD's just north of Kansas City, MO. 571 miles yesterday across Kansas, 394 on Sunday across CO.

Took US 50 across most of Kansas and was able to visit two places that have always been on my long list of places to see: Dodge City and the Flint Hills. I saw little of DC because it was basically under construction - every street into and in town seemed torn up with major traffic backups. So I explored a few sites outside of town and headed east. 50 is quite a nice road, actually. For hundreds of miles in KS and CO it follows next to or on top of the Santa Fe wagon train trail. Very cool! Two lanes for the most part, light traffic, and an avg speed of 70. The posted speed limits for 2-lane roads everyplace west of MO was 65.

The height of the day was riding KS state routes 177 and 4, both designated scenic highways, through the beautiful Flint Hills. Rolling verdant hills of trees and grass that extend for many miles, with rock outcroppings that add a lot a scenic variety to the prairie and cattle ranches that cover these hills. Kansas, like every state, doesn't fit the mold we try to squeeze it into. It is a varied and very pleasant place to visit. A few years ago I rode US 36 across the northern part of Kansas. 36 follows the Pony Express route and an old stagecoach route. It's a road lined with very interesting historic buildings and sites. Drive it sometime, and don't be bored with the seeming sameness of the landscape, rather keep your eyes and senses open for the many different and historic things you'll pass. US 50 in the central part of the state has the same potential qualities.

Went thru the historic town of Council Grove where one of the Madonna of the Trail statues is placed. As I recall, a dozen of these very large statues were commissioned by the DAR (I believe) about a century ago to honor the role of women in the western migration of the mid-1800s. There are two placed on the old National Road in OH and IN, plus others at points further west.

At the north end of the Flint Hills I turned east on I-70, at about this same moment it began to rain. This was a sad point because it meant that my journey of discovery and exploration had come to an end. Now it was simply driving the many hundreds of miles home. The fact that I rode in very heavy rain for the next 75 miles, before finally being basically forced to stop for the night due to road conditions and the unrelenting rain, drove home the fact that the fun part of the trip was done. But what a fabulous trip it was - I'd do it all again in a heartbeat, heat and all.

I've exchanged the heat for rain and clouds - frankly I think I preferred the heat! Not complaining - just observing.
Onto I-35. Next stop = ??