Today started with a wonderful visit wiht dear family friends. We caught up on the past 20+ (OK, maybe more like 30, but who’s counting?) years over coffee before we hit the road west. I think we would have sat there for a lot longer if we didn’t have a state to explore.
Our first stop was Wamego, KS where we followed the yellow brick road to the Wizard of Oz Museum. (Can you really go through Kansas and not stop?) It’s a great museum. There are over 2,000 artifacts, everything from L. Frank Baum’s books, toys and games from across the world and across decades, actual costumes and production notes from the filming, and even The Wiz and Wicked are represented. I was never a big fan of the movie as a child, but I do find nuggets of inspiration and wisdom in it as an adult.
Leaving Oz left us a little hungry, so we opted for lunch at Tall Grass Tap House in Manhattan, KS. Great craft brews, less noise than yesterday, and good food. We didn’t have time to drive through KSU campus, but the area is beautiful.
As we meandered along I-70, we spotted a sign for a 1901 carousel at the next exit. Well, you don’t have to ask us twice. We both enjoy carousels, and this was a perfect time for a stretch break. It turned out to be another incredible museum in Abilene, KS, the Dickson County Historical Museum. A very interactive, informative museum about the founding of the area – the settlers, their culture, and agriculture. It even included photos of Carrie Nation and her bar bashing temperance movement. The back of the museum is a history of the telephone. It was fun, and perhaps a bit sobering, to see how many I recognized. Outside was a cabin dating from the late 1800’s, a one room school house, antique farm implements, and the carousel.
The metal caskets with the ‘viewing’ window were a tad creepy, but in a day when you didn’t have selfies and digital photos, I suppose it was a comfort to those who had lost loved ones. Just across the street from the museum was President Eisenhower’s Library and childhood home. It was too late for us to visit, but we’ve added it to the list for a future trip.
A hundred miles or so later, we saw a sign for the Cathedral of the Plains. ‘Should we stop?” I asked my passenger. “Your decision” was her reply. So, of course, I made a quick exit to see what this was. Our first road trip was a series of “I wonder what this is…” and “This sounds like fun…” stops. It was good to get back to that spontaneity.
We finally landed in Colby, KS for the night, about 54 miles from the Colorado border. We got situated in the hotel just in time for a good old fashioned midwest thunderstorm to roll in.
My thought as I watched it roll across was “Auntie Em! Auntie Em!” I think I will be glad to leave Oz tomorrow…but it has been a beautiful day.