I went to Kansas to accomplish my 44th state, and was not at all prepared to have some of the best experiences of the trip so far. One day blew me away–both from powerful wind and from stunning beauty. I finally saw wheat AND met a new crop. Plus, I have every intention of returning. To Kansas. Can you believe it?
They Work Hard for the Money
The fields are groomed, the fences aligned, piles of dead limbs and tree roots are evidence of constant maintenance. Roadside signs boast “Beef. It’s what’s for dinner.” And others take pride that “One Kansas farmer feeds 155 people.” Fields–that extend for acres upon acres–alternate between crops and grasslands to feed cattle.
Not So Flat
I’m sure places are, but the Flint Hills, where I spent most of my time, undulates.
As Far as the Eye Can See
The expanse is diminishing. A windmill is grand. A windmill in context of all the land is like a toothpick on the kitchen counter. A gate is obvious for a fence. But you can barely see a barbed wire fence, and there’s no road beyond the fence: you only know to enter right there because of the fence, which I suppose is why the fence is there to begin with.
Who Said It Wasn’t Going to be a Pretty Fall?
Our wickedly hot summer theoretically meant a dull autumn. I’m here to tell ya, folks, ain’t so.
There’s A Lot of Wind Here
While the 40mph gusts made driving quite scary (I slowed down to 49 mph) it was fun to experience while on two feet. Although sometimes it was actually hard to stay on two feet! And the wind is not seasonal; it’s like this year round, although (thankfully) not daily.
Why is the wind so strong? Natural weather patterns from geography, the large spaces of the Great Plains, and the lack of urban areas with many trees and buildings. In some places, trees are permanently bent in the direction they are continuously blown.
And then, since it was hot AND windy, my weather app sent alert of a grassland fire warning. Yeah, that’s scary, but I was thrilled to have experienced something I never had before!
The Coolest Mailbox. Ever.
For a while I was obsessed with mailbox personalities. Widemouth Bass. John Deere tractors. Swans. You can see the pictures. This one wins. Hands down.
I’m coming back! In the summer the cattle are feeding, the grass is emerald green, and the sunflowers are blooming.
Kansas is not a fly-over state. It’s a fly-to state.
What destination surprised you by being so much better than you expected it to be?