When leaving home for many westward journeys, we make our way up to central Kansas before turning West. We’ve been asked numerous times why? To many, Kansas is the most boring of states. I tend to disagree.
Upon leaving Colorado, we were headed for Junction City, Kansas; and a fiberglass RV gathering. We Punched Junction City in the Garmin from a Mcdonalds in Lamar, Colorado. It routed us due North, then Northeast through some of the most desolate country we have even seen. The view Eastward across the treeless plains had to be nearly fifty miles, and it was beautiful. We traveled through May Valley and the ghost town of Chivington; named after the leader of the Sand Creek Massacre. Sheridan Lake, Cheyenne Wells, Arapaho, and many other small towns intriqued us as we made our way toward I-70 at Oakley, KS. What were they like before the dust bowl days? How many trains a day once traveled that abandoned railroad?
We stopped for the night at the small town of Ellis, Kansas. The town has a small park with RV hookups.
Like many small towns in America today, Ellis was hurting. The railroad was a major influence in the towns growth back in the day, but apparently had moved on.
Though things weren’t as they once were, I found the town fascinating. The hometown of the founder of the Chrysler Corporation.
Brick streets, and sunflowers.
Rusty, but bet it still runs.
Neat little homes hugged the sidewalks. Impossible to ignore your neighbors out for a walk while you’re sitting on the porch. It reminded me of Mayberry.
Beautiful old stone churchs.
And, very proud of their Austrian heritage.
Another interesting thing we stumbled upon in Kansas was the Orphan Train Museum and Research Center. Located in Concordia, Kansas, it was a tribute to all the orphaned children that were placed on trains in New York City, and shipped throughout the Country in the early decades of the twentieth century.
Each picture came with the story of the individual.
There were many stories about the new lives those children were given. Though I’m sure some landed into difficult situations, it appeared most found themselves in loving homes, and lived long productive lives. The research center is still actively working to unite family members, as well as collecting more information from descendents.
While in Concordia, visiting the museum, we happened upon this brick mural. Covering most of a block.
The wall was designed brick by brick, with each individual brick sculpted, and then fired. Then, they were laid by master craftsmen to create the many different 3-D images. We were told each image depicts a moment in Kansas history.
And then, there’s the Kansas Prairie.
Just close your eyes, let your mind drift back, and you may see the millions of buffalo, persued by a group of Native Americans; or maybe yourself digging out a sod house for your family to start a new life in.
OBTW, we did attend a gathering near Junction City. This is how we spent most of our time there. Seems there was always food around.
We’re now home, planning the next trip. It may include parts of Kansas..jc