Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Day 4 -- Lee's Summit, Missouri

We were on the road Sunday morning at 9:45 a.m. The kids seemed to be feeling pretty good -- Evie recovered from her nausea and Abram rebounded from his intestinal issues (thank you, thank you Jesus) -- so we bolted out of Denver, giving a "Mile High Salute" as we roared past Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium. Soon enough, we were carving a path across the Great Plains. We mosied out I-70 and dropped down into Kansas, which hails itself as the "Sunflower State." It's the 13th-biggest state and it takes something like 425 miles of freeway driving to rumble across the midsection of Kansas.

I hereby proclaim a new state motto for Kansas: "If it's weird or random, we'll make a museum or tourist attraction out of it." I mean, every time I looked around there was some sign to some sort of "museum" or "place of interest." For example, down in La Crosse is the Barbed Wire Museum. ("Cows hate us, but you'll love us!") Then outside of Greensburg you have the World's Largest Hand-Dug Well. (Maybe it's just me, but I'd like to meet the guy who, with a straight face, is telling you the facts about this here hand-dug well.) Don't forget up in Cawker City is the World's Largest Ball of Sisal Twine. (How I managed to stay on I-70 without taking a 70-mile detour to see it is known as a `minor miracle.') I'm not even including the Garden of Eden outside of Lucas (And all this time I thought the Garden of Eden was in Iraq or thereabouts. It's in Kansas!), or the Norman No. 1 Oil Well at Neodesha (A must see. That's about all I can say.), or the Cherokee Strip Land Rush Museum way down in Arkansas City. (I bet they've got a Who's Who of suckers who staked a claim on some Kansas Prairie.) Or the Pony Express Barn and Museum way up in Herkimer (Come see where Trigger, White Lightning and Ol' Red ate oats and pooped!)...and then my personal favorite (drum roll please)...the Agricultural Hall of Fame somewheres just outside metropolitan Kansas City. Yes, it's true. The Agricultural Hall of Fame! (Come see a wax statue of Jimmy Don MacWhorter who, on a dare, hopped on his John Deere windrower in Fargo, North Dakota, and rode it all the way to Topeka -- without stopping! Or lay your eyes on the World Record 1 lb. Sunflower Seed! It's a whole meal! Or come see video of Earl Ray Bledsoe, who planted a row of corn from Wichita to Salina! And he's legally blind!)

But I confess. I'm partial to Kansas. Sunset on the prairie is something to behold. Get out there on that prairie at night and I bet the heavens are ablaze with stars. God's imagination is just wild...I'm always in awe. But I'm still trying to figure out why trees are so allergic to western Kansas. Man, I can't imagine being a dog out there. I guess that's why they say don't stand for too long in western Kansas or you're liable to get mistaken for a tree or a fire hydrant and get marked. I'm actually thinking that if my job with the Daily Press gets put on hold, I'm just going to head back to Kansas and travel around for a few weeks seeing all the sights and write a book about it. Kind of like how Mr. Fodor does his thing, only I'll be doing my thing. In Kansas. I bet there's at least a half-dozen or so folks who I could trick into buying a book about it.

Anyways, somehow we made it out of Kansas without stopping every 10 minutes to see something I have to see before I die. We rolled into Lee's Summit, Missouri, oh, around 9 p.m. and hit the 2,000-mile mark of the Team Sabo March Across America right in town. We stayed at the home of Grandma Anna Mae Taylor (I hope I mentioned that Grandma Anna's granddaughter, Anna Scott, is journeying east with us, trailing in her excellent Ford Taurus), who had passed away recently. But Anna's family graciously let us stay there and for that we are grateful.


  1. Matt you are hilarious! You have made me want to see Kansan now, NOT!!!! But I guess it could be entertaining if I had to one day.

  2. Lemme tell ya, I'm mind boggled!