Friday, September 26, 2008

Travel Log: Kansas

We were successful in getting on the road an hour earlier than usual yesterday morning as we left Colorado Springs to head east across Kansas. We actually spent about the same amount of time on the road yesterday as we did back when we drove through the Sequoia National Park, but yesterday was SO much WORSE. At least when we spent all that time in the car going through Sequoia National Park, there were lots of twists and turns to keep me on my toes. Driving across the eastern part of Colorado and the ENTIRE state of Kansas looks like this...


Yyyyyeah, that picture is zoomed in as far as I could go, and there isn't a turn or a bump or a hill as far as the eye can see. I'm going to take this moment to sound a little like my children and say, "This is BOOOOOOOORING!"

My impressions of Kansas:
  • Flat.
  • Sunflowers. (Oooh! Those are pretty, take a picture!)
  • Flat.
  • Corn.
  • Flat.
  • More Sunflowers. (Oh, hey, there are some more sunflowers! Cool!)
  • Flat.
  • Wheat.
  • Flat.
  • More Sunflowers. (My wife is sawing logs in the passenger seat by this time.)
  • Flat.
  • Periodic small town with the town's name emblazoned across a water tower that looks like the head of the tin-man in the Wizard of Oz.
Flipping through the radio stations, I heard:
  • Country music.
  • Ads for tractors.
  • Country music.
  • Ads for bovine medicine.
  • Country music.
  • Ads for herbicide and crop planning consulting.
  • Fire and brimstone preacher.
  • Ads for soil analysis.
  • Country music.
  • One radio announcer was talking about the current economic crisis bail out plan and saying that if you find yourself riding a dead horse, the corrective action is to get off the horse, not declare the horse "living impaired" and try to revive it. I thought that was pretty funny.
I'm kicking myself now for not digging up my Sirius receiver and antenna to bring with us on this trip. They've been sitting in a box in the trunk of my car since we moved to Hawaii, because we can't get Sirius in Hawaii.

Pit Stops

We drove up Rt. 24 to Limon where we hopped on I-70 east. About the time we arrived in Limon, I had a sudden need to get rid of the coffee I had drunk back at the hotel. We pulled into the McD's parking lot.

Trivia Question: How long does it take a 7 year old and a 4 year old to slip on a pair of Crocs and get out of the car?

A) 1 second
B) 10 seconds
C) 100 seconds
D) 1,000 seconds

With my boys, it SEEMS like D. They take forever to put their Crocs on and get out of the car.

I don't know the exact amount of time. However (comma) I DO know that it took long enough for a gargantuan BUS to pull into the parking lot and discharge like 100 old geezers who all made a direct beeline for the restrooms.

I saw them all piling off the bus and heading inside, and it was like one of those slow-motion Matrix scenes with me letting out a long, low-pitched, "nnnnnnnoooooooooooooo!" as I tried to beat the geezers to the restroom. I managed to edge my way into the middle of their line from the bus door to the front door. Then, of course, one of the urinals was out of order, so that cut the volumetric flow rate of the restroom by 33%. In the end, everything came out alright, but it made that stop considerably longer than it should have been if my boys could just put their crocs on and get out of the car.


If given a choice where to eat while traveling, I will always opt for a local, unique place to eat over a nation-wide chain of processed food. It's a good way to experience some of the local culture and more likely to get some FRESH ingredients in the food.

I did a little bit better job planning our trip today and had some places planned to stop. I wanted to stop in Goodland, Kansas to grab a geocache there.

Goodland's main tourist attraction is this really big painting.
(Note the obligatory water tower in the background.)

I emailed the owner of the geocache to ask for a recommendation for lunch. She recommended the Crazy R Bar & Grill.

Obligatory Self Portrait in front of the Crazy R

As much as it drove my wife nuts to drive past the Wendy's and other fast-food, quick-n-easy places to eat and get back on the road, I'm glad we actually went into town and ate at the Crazy R.

It was one of those places where the locals will walk in the door, see several people they know, wave and say hi, say hi to the waitress or owner by name, and have a seat.

On the other hand, it's also the kind of place where people from out of town walk in the door and all of a sudden the place gets reeeeally quiet and everyone in the restaurant is staring at you wondering who you are and why you're in their restaurant.

It was the type of place with the "menu" printed on a small card in a vertical plastic card holder. There were things like "Chicken Gizzards" and "Rocky Mountain Oysters" on the menu. They advertised old fashioned "soda pops." I had me a real honest-to-goodness sarsparilla! I'd heard of it before and knew it was something similar to root beer, but I'd never actually seen it offered anywhere, so I had to try it.

I figured you wouldn't believe me if I didn't post a photo.

The decorations were all sorts of antique tricycles and children's riding contraptions mixed in with local historical memorabilia (farm stores sale signs, local sports jerseys and propoganda). The food came in red plastic baskets (see photo above). Overall, the food was really good and I was glad we stopped.

My wife said there were people smoking at the bar. That surprised me because normally I smell that stuff a mile away and can't stand to be in the same room. I might have turned around and left if I had smelled the cigarette smoke when we walked in the door. (Sorry Sweetie!)


We stopped at IHOP for dinner in Salina, Kansas.

The Lord works in mysterious ways.

For some reason, He didn't want us to get to Kansas City until LATE last night. I mean, first the whole old-geezer bus at McD's earlier in the day and now IHOP.

Our waitress took our orders and left us... for 30 minutes.

I kid you not.

THIRTY minutes.

It was SO long that I was seriously considering leaving a couple of bucks on the table for the coffee and juice we had consumed and walking out. I was going to take my family through the Wendy's drive through and get back on the road.

Then the waitress showed up with our food, including a mound of cold french fries on my plate. Nice!

No matter, let's just get back on the road, okay? As we stood up to go pay our bill, a large group of special-needs adults simultaneously stood up and headed to the counter to pay their bills. Unfortunately for us, they were seated closer to the cash register than we were and got in line first. Then they each had to pay for their own meal, and they had to pay cash, and they had to count out the change... Again, like the stop at McD's earlier, this stop took us a lot longer than we thought it was going to take.

So who cares? What was the big rush to get to Kansas City?

Well, I'll tell ya. Last night was a first for me. I got to meet a fellow blogger. FastNav who writes Checks with Chart invited me to join him for a beer and share some sea stories as we passed through town. I got my family checked into the hotel and headed two blocks down the road to meet up with FastNav. I didn't get there until like 10:30 p.m., but we shared some really good beer and some really good sea stories. (Thanks for waiting so long and thanks for the beer, man!)

Of course, at the end of our shoot-the-breeze, I had to break out my camera. FastNav said, "Oh man, I was afraid there would be an obligatory Blunoz self-portrait involved in this meeting."

Obligatory Blunoz Self Portrait with FastNav

And that, folks, is why there was no blog post last night.

Blame it on FastNav.

Statistics for Thursday:

63 Number of minutes the boys played quietly in the back seat before getting in a fight over the arm rest.

6 Number of inches width of the arm rest in the back seat.

2 Number of inches width of a little boy's arm.

20 Number of questions allowed in the game "Twenty Questions"

2 Number of questions required to guess YB's first choice of "dog" (The first question being, "Is it alive?" Yes. The second question being, "Is it a dog?" Yes.) For those of you who know my kids, they are both obsessed with dogs. They each have like 5 stuffed animal dog toys in the back seat with them.

3 Number of questions required to guess YB's second choise of "cat."


Loping Squid said...

I'd have left the kids in the car with the LW and run to the heads before the bus off-loaded. Then I would have hidden so the LW didn't castrate me.

Anonymous said...

Good time man! Stay safe on the rest of your trip!!

B. Jill said...

Ahhhh, we miss you guys! Can't believe it's been a week since you were here! Tell the boys we miss them.

And Kev, dang sorry to hear about the race-to-the-potty-while-waiting-on-smaller-versions-and-losing...... have soooo been there, done that! Ugh!

C said...

Glad the trip is going well! Stay safe!