|After making the decision to head towards home I still had over 1500 miles to travel but most of it would be on I-70. There was a short patch just west of Denver that was a little challenging with the grade, but Interstates are limited to no more than 6% so it wasn't too bad. I had one bad moment when I couldn't seem to gain any power on the uphill side and pulled over thinking, "oh no, here we go again." Then I noticed that even small compact cars were pulled over so I concluded it was simply the altitude near Glenwood Canyon. Wikipedia claims that this section contains the highest tunnel on an interstate highway. The road follows the beautiful Colorado river for many miles, the waterway responsible for that big hole a little further south known as the Grand Canyon. PIC Near Denver there is one last stretch of 10 miles or so of steep grades and many signs warn truckers (and RV drivers like me) of the danger. But I persevered and soon enough I left the beautiful Rockies in the rear view mirror. I loved them and am very grateful that I finally got to see them for myself but I was also glad to bid them a fond farewell.
In the morning I entered Kansas again and stopped at the welcome center where I enjoyed this mosaic. PIC I had been told about a famous sight near the western border of that state on my way out but had not made the time to stop and check it out. The helpful volunteer at the welcome center assured me that there would be ample parking for my rig in Goodland. The attraction bills itself as the world's largest easel and features a giant reproduction of Van Gogh's "Sunflowers" painting. The easel itself is 80 feet tile, set in an open park area and the painting is 32 ft by 24 ft. Kansas is the "Sunflower state" and the town of Goodland makes a good living growing them. It was painted by a Canadian artist, Cameron Cross in 2000 and the trade group, Sunflowers USA, paid $150,000 for it and it was dedicated in 2001 at Goodland's annual Sunflower Festival. PICS It's hard to get a perspective of just how massive this thing is but I thought it was pretty cool and well worth the stop. I spent the night at a COE campground which was virtually deserted. The camp hosts told me that it had been so most of the summer since the water level in Kanopolis Lake was so low due to the drought. Eddie and I enjoyed the water though. PIC
The next morning we were back on the road again and our first stop was in Abilene at the Eisenhower Center. Since he was the President when i was born I decided it was worth a visit. Several other presidential birthplace/museum/libraries I've visited are part of the NPS which my annual pass will gain me admission. But in the infinite wisdom that is the US government bureaucracy this one is run by some other agency so my pass was no good and they did not have a stamp for my passport. Declining to pay the $10 fee for the museum, I watched the movie and then just wandered around the grounds a bit. This is the original family home where he and his brothers were raised. PIC I enjoyed the serenity of this little chapel where he and his wife rest. PIC Next to the Eisenhower center is this little historic area which also offers train rides on this. PIC