Thursday, October 04, 2007

My Kansas Kronikles: Goodbye to Kansas, the last of a 39 post series

On the last Saturday in July I left Kansas for home in Morton Grove. Despite the plethora of posts, I was there for only a week. For those bloggers and aspiring bloggers who think they can't come up with original material, just hop in your car and drive--but take a camera with you. If you don't drive, there is always, always something near your home that will be of interest to someone who lives nearby--or on another continent.

Well, to answer Thomas Frank's question, What's the Matter with Kansas?

I couldn't find any Kansas-specific problems. Of course uber-liberal Frank wasn't happy with the way Kansans voted, which is why he wrote his book.

Frank also wrote the Kansas was the nation's least popular vacaction destination. That may be true. But as I proved in this series, there is plenty to see and do there, as there are in all states.

In several e-mails that I've received--none of which need to be reprinted here--I've been encouraged to return and "touch base" with some of the Kansans who liked what I wrote--and who were quite touched that I chose to spend a week in the Sunflower State. But to keep on pace, like any marathon runner must, I felt the urge to move on--which is the same, because Kansans are incredibly friendly people.

But I was only there a week, and I missed some attractions. These include Kansas' highest point, Mount Sunflower, near the Colorado border, the World's Largest Ball of Twine in Cawker City--Hey, a little cheesiness never killed anyone--and most of all, historic Leavenworth.

I traveled on six the state's nine scenic byways, the ones I missed were Post Rock, Frontier Military, and Glacial Hills. Two of the these three travel through Leavenworth.

What surprises did I encounter? Well, for one there is a lot of incredibly natural beauty in Kansas. If you've driven across the state on Interstate 70 or I-35 and you think I'm nuts, then you need to take a detour off the freeway to see what I mean.

Another was the dominance of the beef industry, and the large Hispanic populations of the towns I've nicknamed the Beef Kingdoms: Garden City, Dodge City, and Liberal--all in the southwest corner of the state.

There are a lot of misconceptions about Kansas. For instance, the US Mint's statehood commemorative quarter series is winding down. A few years ago a very creative person designed a satirical batch of statehood coins, the Kansas entry is on the right. Hear it from me: It's not that flat, it's not all white, and if your coming from Kansas City as I did, it's not even that easy to enter.

I've a added a few Kansas photographs that I didn't have a place for in earlier posts. Of course I have to have one more windmill. The white flower is the Pricky Poppy, I saw a lot of them in central and western Kansas. The state tree of Kansas is the Cottonwood, I have to have one of those here.

And I may have left Kansas, but Kansas hasn't left me. I'll be keeping an eye on the Sunflower State. In the meantime, below you'll find my all of My Kansas Kronkles posts.

Previous "My Kansas Kronikles" entries:

An overview
This has to stop
US Route 83, America's Loneliest Road
Little pueblo on the prairie
My return to western Kansas
Gray County Wind Farm
Wagon ruts
Chase County Courthouse
Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church
The Sunflower State
The Flint Hills
Alan Clark's filling station in Eskridge
A taste of home
Western Holiday Motel in Wichita
The Prairie Chicken Capital of the World
The Texas panhandle
Oklahoma's strange panhandle
The Monument Rocks
Smoky Valley Scenic Byway
Bob Dole's Russell
Barbed wire and stone posts
Wetlands and Wildlife Scenic Byway
My Kansas Kronikles: Pro-life billboards
McPherson, one of the 100 best small towns in America
Mushroom Rock
The Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum

Greensburg posts:

Greensburg, the fall and rise, part one
Greensburg, the fall and rise, part two
Greensburg, the fall and rise, part three
Greensburg, the fall and rise, part four
Greensburg, the fall and rise, part five
Greensburg, the fall and rise, part six

The Beef Kingdoms:
Dodge City, Beef Kingdom
Liberal: Kansas' second Beef Kingdom
Garden City, Kansas' third Beef Kingdom

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1 comment:

David said...

Kansas is really amazing area. I was there for 21 days, these days was very enjoyable. I like the place very much and i would like to go again.

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