Homer's Travels: Kansas Teachings

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Kansas Teachings

So, when it is too late to post about a roadtrip and how many trips back to that well are you allowed?  I've already milked our Kansas roadtrip for three posts and here comes one more.  I believe it will be the last.

I've always seen vacations as having two purposes: to provide a change in your routine, a break from the ordinary, a time for rest and relaxation; and to learn something, discover something or some place new.  The Kansas roadtrip satisfied both of these purposes.  The first was easy.  Three days on the road, out of the house, in a state that I've never been before, was definitely a change of pace and was fairly relaxing.  The second ... well the second calls for a list.
  • One of my on again off again hobbies is geocaching.  It is often a good compliment for hiking as there are often caches hidden along interesting trails.  When we lived in California I used geocaching to introduce me to new trails.  When I planned our Kansas trip I discovered a reference to the oldest active cache near Mingo, KS.  What I did not do was check out caches in other places where we were going.  It turns out that there were caches at geographic center of the lower 48, the biggest ball of twine, Nicodemus, Wakeeney, Monument Rocks (2!),  Greensburg, Kinsley, the Cathedral of the Plains, Lucas,  the Atomic Cannon, and Stull.  It would have taken me only a few minutes to check this out before the trip and to program my GPS.  From now on, I will check for caches in the area and be ready.
  • The most profound realization I had was in Lucas at the Grassroots Art Center.  I have written before about my taste in, or more correctly my lack of interest in, art.  At times I thought there was something wrong with me or that I needed to take art appreciation classes.  After seeing the myriad types of folk art at the center - pull tab, chewing gum, peach pit, grapefruit rind, limestone, welded metal, concrete, and barbed wire - I realized that I like folk art.  I like art made by the common person.  As the Wife said it, it was art without the snootiness.  I'm not exactly sure if that explains all my disinterest in classical art but it's part of it.  Thinking back, I remember being fascinated at Elmer's Bottle Forest, Salvation Mountain, Nitt Witt Ridge, M.T. Liggett's place, the Garden of Eden, and the Grassroots Art Center.  Now, when I plan a roadtrip, I will keep my eye out for art ... folk art, that is.  Here is another piece of folk art at the Grassroots Art Center:
  • The last thing discovered is that skunks have issues with crossing the road in Kansas.  We counted over 20 dead skunks on or near the road.  They vastly outnumbered all other types of roadkill.  This seems odd when you consider we saw eleven plus turtles crossing the road during our vacation last June and nary a dead one.


  1. This is a great post; I've been thinking of doing something similar for Vancouver and now I'm pretty sure I will.

    Glad you discovered your latent love for folk art. It gives me hope that someday I'll figure out what I want to do with my life! LOL

    Skunks had the same problem in Northern California. I think they're convinced that all they have to do is spray a car when it's coming, and the car will turn away...

  2. You are the only person I've ever met that has made Kansas sound remotely interesting. Talk about it all you want!! :D I like hearing about your adventures :)

  3. GH: Thanks! I guess bad odors makes one over confident.

    Miss McC: Wow, I've discovered my superpower: I can make Kansas interesting :-)