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American Road Trip, 1998


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1998-07-31 - 12:06:00

Kansas

American Road Trip: Kansas

FRIDAY, JULY 31, OVERLAND PARK, KAN. — Denver daybreak was cool — in the 50s and wet with dew — and I was up and on the road by 8:30, which is 9:30 Central time. I listened to Denver morning radio until it was out of range as I hurtled down from the city’s mile-high perch. Colorado opens up here and continues on into Kansas. It was a gray, overcast and cool day — good for driving. Kansas turned out to be a lot more hilly than I thought — quite layered with rolling peaks not unlike southern/mid-Indiana — but not near Pennsylvania. I was expecting nothing but flat wheat fields into Topeka. The most amazing thing was a large stretch of field covered with sunflowers — an acceptable replacement for the Kansas scenery I’d wanted. Kansas rolled on and I tried Greg from Salina — no answer. In Topeka, I made one slight wrong turn — actually exited I-70 at the wrong place, onto US 75 and then 24, where I called Greg again. But following 24, I saw the Kansas scenery the way I wouldn’t have on the interstate (see Steinbeck) and I avoided the Kansas Turnpike tolls. 24 took me to 59 and through Lawrence and past Kansas U. in an area not much unlike South Bend/Mishawaka. Kansas 10 took me into I-435 and Overland Park, where I had to stay at the rather nice Drury Inn because the White Haven was booked. I did get in touch with Joe, though, and will meet up with him in Elizabeth, Illinois, tomorrow.

Sunflowers stretch out
For miles a floral sea —
Or so it seems here

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