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There's a Whole Lotta Kansas

by Tara

The only thing remotely exciting in eastern Colorado comes in the form of scraggly, twiggy tumbleweeds that roll in the wind, blowing across the plains. Once the initial thrill of them fades, we're left with wide skies, dusty little towns, and our newest obsession, Radio Lab, to entertain us during the long hours of our road-trip home.

Dusty Flat Eastern Colorado Road Dry Weeds/Flowers Main Street Barber Shop Flat Eastern Colorado Road Tumble Weeds & Barbed Wire Dusty Eastern Colorado Road Yellow Farm Equipment Tractor Thing

It gave me a strange sensation to embark upon the Plains. Plains, plains everywhere, plains generally level, but elsewhere rolling in long undulations, like the waves of a sea which had fallen asleep. They are covered thinly with buff grass, the withered stalks of flowers, Spanish bayonet, and a small beehive-shaped cactus. One could gallop all over them.

Isabella Bird

Our arrival in Kansas is uneventful, met with the same wide open flatland, this time with more green grasses and fewer dry stubbly bushes. As my grandfather so aptly states when I call him from the car to let him know where we are…

Welcome to Kansas Sign

There's a whole lotta Kansas…

Tara's Grandpa

It's true. As we drive for hours and hours, all day long, we are consistently surprised at just how many miles of Kansas we have yet to drive. The flat state seems to stretch on forever as we motor our way through tiny, fading towns, across great expanses of farmland.

Green Kansas Field Old Blue Truck Kansas Grain Elevator Kansas Horses Kansas Horses Old Country House Hotel Sign: "Not a Hilton but... It'll Do" Red Barn in Kansas Old Roadside Sign: Pioneer Motel @ Pioneer Village in Minden, NE Old Roadside Sign: Iowa's First Flying Machine @ Pioneer Village in Minden, NE Front-End Loader in Green Field Last Year's Corn Field

As we drive, Tyler quizzes me on my knowlege of the state capitols, laughing as I fail abysmally. Somehow, I managed to get through school having learned every country and capital of the world… but not the fifty states of the USA.

The Geographic Center of the USA

I am driving in eastern Kansas now, as the sun is setting. Tyler is asleep already, by my side, and I am awash with a rush of a comforting feeling: it's a real sense of coming home that I didn't get in California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, or any other part of Kansas.

Now, there are rolling hills, soft green grass, big open skies, and trees again, not pines or aspens like out west, but big leafy shady trees like oaks and maples. Summer insects are doing their chirpy thing, even though there's a cool freshness to the air. The lush grass begs for bare feet.

Midwestern Road

I pull over along the highway, getting out to take photos and breathe in the landscape that feels more like home than any other has so far. Meanwhile, the sun sets and the moon rises. It's hard to believe that by this time tomorrow, we'll be in the comforting embrace of my parents, and the house I grew up in.

Midwestern Sunset Midwestern Moonrise

Then I drive through the night; still, Kansas never seems to end.

Pony Express Statue Pony Express National Historic Trail There's No Place Lie Home - Home, Kansas