Kel's Travels travel blog

Kansas

Log cabin

elk and deer

NHS

lakewood park

Ellis

bird show


The first several days were not very interesting since I have already traveled through, and blogged about those states. I would like to talk about Kansas though. First, my mental picture of the state was much like Nebraska or Iowa, nothing but flat fields of corn, wheat and other crops as far as the eye can see. While this was true in some places

it certainly was not true for the whole state. The terrain was much more varied with tall bluffs, rolling plains and much more green than the previous states along I-70. Second, I though Kansas was famous for raising sunflowers as a crop. The only ones I saw were growing wild along the highway. I had seen huge fields of them in Iowa and the Dakotas but thought that this state would have even more. Third, Kansas has remarkable roads, or at least, I-70 is remarkable. It is smooth and clean even in construction zones. And every single rest area had a sign that told you how many miles until the next one! I love that. Kudos, Kansans, or whatever you are called. One odd thing that I noticed was several locations there were warning signs and gates, like we might find at a railroad crossing. I did not know their purpose, so I googled it and this is what I learned. They are for use during heavy snowfall to help KDOT utilized their plows without worrying about traffic. Maybe Ohio should consider installing some for the idiots who insist on driving when they absolutely should not be.

I did stop at one tourist attraction in the St Louis area. I had wanted to visit it when I spent a week there 2 years ago, but ran out of time. Grant’s Farm is now owned by the Busch family – of Budweiser fame. Once this land belonged to Ulysses S Grant and before that it was part of his father in law’s much larger farm. The 80 some acre plot was given to Mr. Grant when he married Julia Dent. There is a log cabin

that was actually built by the president, one of only 2 existing homes built by US presidents. The current park is home to many species of animals such as several kinds of deer, elk, and buffalo.

Originally when Mr. August Busch bought the land it was to provide a more wholesome country environment for his family and family members have lived on it continuously since then. At the time of the purchase, it was a full day’s journey for him to travel to his brewery to supervise its operation. Today, all visitors 21 years old and older can sample his products at the park. There are carnival type rides for the kids, a large petting zoo where they can feed baby goats and sheep, and several daily bird shows.

Across the street is a National Historic Site

with the remnants of the Grant’s homestead. It is a part of the National Park Service and they offer guided tours and an informational movie. It was quite a warm day and Eddie had to stay in the RV so I didn’t stay long.

My refrigerator was not working and the first day I assumed it might be due to the high temperature outside but by the second full day I realized it would need to be serviced before I could continue. I spent the night at a state park in western Missouri imagining the most dire scenarios, most of which involved days of waiting on parts to arrive. Of course, I had no idea where to go or who to call but was only 80 miles or so from Kansas City and knew they should have some RV service centers. I am a member of Good Sam, an RV organization, and so I called them the next morning for some recommendations. They gave me a list of 5 and I started calling. The first one, Premier Coach Services, initially told me that there was no way they could look at it since their current waiting list was over 3 weeks. I told him my whole story, about being at the beginning of my trip etc etc and Dexter the technician told me they could “bump” me ahead of others if I would agree to pay for 2 hours of their time, regardless of how long it took. I eagerly agreed and headed for their facility. They treated me like family. They fussed over Eddie and insisted I bring him inside the office to wait in the air conditioning. The two office girls and I shared stories of favorite places. About an hour after I got there, Dexter (and yes that is his real name, I asked) came and told me that I was good to go. At first I didn’t believe him but he assured me that it hadn’t needed a part. There was a computer error code that required re-setting and they had done so and were testing it to show me that it was cooling down. They also climbed up on the roof to set the antenna back where it belongs. I had noticed it wasn’t right but I don’t do roofs. They also instructed me on a couple electrical things, such as how and when to use my generator which I haven’t done at all. I happily paid my bill, less than the deductible on my extended warranty policy, and hit the road again. Thanks to them, I spent that night in Ellis, Kansas, at a small city park along the banks of a tree lined lake, making that state number 33.

For a small town, it has a surprising number of “famous sons” including Walter Chrysler who grew up there, learned about machine repair and then went on to found the automotive giant named after himself. Before him, Wyatt Earp and Buffalo Bill Cody often visited the city. Walt Disney also had ties here.#

Next stop, Colorado, and the great Rocky Mountains. I haven’t been here since I was 21 months old and I am so looking forward to it.



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