Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Traveling Through Oz

Steve and I were messing around alot in St. Louis and our sightseeing in Missouri and all the looking in Cairo, and St. Louis, and even Bytheville, Arkansas, put our timeline into a huge crunch. We needed to get back home for Steve's work and we're still going to Salina, Utah to visit our daughter Larin and family. I want me some loves from my grandchildren. Steve and I had to get the car in high gear and move-it.

We jumped on the 70 freeway and took off to Topeka, Kansas. We listening to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and saw lots of brush and tall trees lining the large freeway. It was a lot like the trips back-east, where all a person sees is the freeway and cars ahead. The roads are locked-in to a path between wilderness that blocks a view of even two feet beyond the freeways edge. We did stop at a few places and rested at an Apple Bee's, it was 106 degrees at 6: 46 pm. We went to a frozen yogurt shop in Lawrence, Kansas, still very, very hot outside. Lawrence Kansas has a great Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt Shop. It was great except that there was 63 people in that little place and but I grabbed a spoon and jumped in the car. Off Steve and I went and the cold yogurt made my upset stomach freeze. I felt so much better. I was car-sick with nothing to see to take my mind off my car-sickness. The traveling and not walking, or exercising, started my system to completely stop on me and made me cry. I didn't sleep at all in Topeka. Oh, so tired.

This is going somewhere, honest!
My sick-system changed our whole trip.
It began after our stop at Cracker Barrel. I couldn't eat. 

So I visited with an AnaBaptist family, their children were so cute and I kept thinking how much I needed to see my grandchildren. She had sewn all their little girls in matching dresses. I miss my grandchildren so much. I don't want to travel, but I need to get to my family.

I had to stop. I begged Steve to please get-off the main road (the 70 Freeway) I didn't want to stop at another rest-stop and we didn't even know where those would be. The only alternative was a truck-stop and I absolutely refused to stop at one more of those terrible places. My panic was pretty darn real and I don't think Steve thought I was serious until I stopped our book playing on our radio. I told Steve, "Find a small town, NOW!" "I want a place that has a little park, something nice, like a museum .. please ..?" It seemed to take forever. Was it only thirty-five minutes to the next city? "Hurry!"

Lindsborg was the place. It was warm there, but I felt safe and the town was charming. I wanted to shop at all the little "Solvang-like" Butiks. I loved downtown. The park was wonderful and finally, I was alone and visited what seemed like the cutest updated and clean outhouse, ever. The walk around the park was so uplifting and finally my upset stomach was better. We did what we didn't really plan to do, we explored.  The park even had a little trestle bridge painted, "Welcome" and "Good-byes" on each side with the colors of Sweden and Rosemaling all over the bridge. Yeah, we went through the bridge and looked at the precious crik and turned around and went over it again. Our trip to Lindsborg changed our trip completely.

We just looked at each other, turned on the book again and we didn't even have to say it, we WEREN'T going back to the freeway. Steve knew if we were going west we'd hit Colorado and since this was a bit more south, we could just get to Pueblo easier. He made this little movement with his hands, palms-up by his elbows, "Uhh!"  Maybe. This was NO super highway, but as we traveled, we knew that it was "super" to us.

We were in the real land of Oz, where Dorothy and ToTo where swept-away. We saw John Deere's everywhere and one place that was a farmer's, "John Deere Heaven". I have to note that there was no traffic on this long road. We were traveling 300 miles and we passed only 7 pick-up trucks and one overturned semi. No one was hurt and the truck was on a side road. The town's menfolk, that were available, were there helping reload a huge amount of alfalfa hay.

Notice The FFA Sign?

We saw Kansas like it really is ...  corn, corn, corn!  Then we began to see even more details and they became more apparent as we drove on this little two lane road.  We saw the most wonderful barns, windmills, criks, grain elevators, old buildings.

 I went crazy taking pictures of barns and windmills. I love Kansas!

Historic towns began to pop-up, right in the
middle of the grassy prairie. The fence posts intrigued us
and it seemed that all were made with limestone.

  We saw lots of know, the Buffalo.

They made me say, "Do you know what the state flower of Kansas is?" "It's a sunflower!" "That's wonderful, right?" I didn't even wait for an answer, I just started singing, "Home, Home On The Range" over and over and over. I thought I would sing it until he told me to "Shut-up" but he surprised me he said, "That song is beginning to remind me of, "99 Bottles of Beer On The Wall" and I thought both of us are going to have that song in our heads the rest of the day, maybe the rest of the summer! He didn't sing with me, but got me in an argument. "Listen," he demanded. I looked at him. "Listen, this is where Huckleberry meets, is it the king, guy?" I said, "Nooooo, this guy is that duke-dude!" Steve came back with, "It's the king!" Me, "I'm sure he's a duke." Rats, I'm wrong, it was a king. STOP!!!

Just like any A.D.D. puppy, I didn't see a cat, but a fantastic barn. I had to start taking pictures of them. We found-out we were on the Oregon Trail, The Santa Fe Trail, The Mormon Trail, The California Trail.

Steve and I were on a pioneer road. Somehow all the trails converged here and then split-off again. Mormons used this as an alternate route at one time, trying to see if this was an easier trip than the northern one though Nebraska and Wyoming. Suddenly this road was HISTORIC and that made this trip more special. We pulled into a little abandoned cemetery. All the people in the cemetery died about the same time and the dates were so old.

Oh, not by European standards, but to us, we were in the wild-west. We actually took pictures of gravestones of people we aren't even related to, at all. I suppose, both of us appreciated their life, the movement west and the extreme hard life that they had to endure out on these deserted plains, surrounded by a people that didn't want them there, and weather that was not easy to endure. I couldn't even see wood around, anywhere. No wonder the homes and barns were made from sod. The only ones that really lasted were the ones updated or had been made with limestone. I know some houses must have been covered with wood when the railroad came though, like the adobe houses in our hometown, Santa Paula.

The book in our car was turned on and before I could say anything, Steve was looking at me and saying, "The duke." There was a king and a duke with Huckleberry Finn and Jim. I was right and he was right and they weren't really a king and duke, but they were problems and very entertaining to us. Books do that.

We were truly in Oz, where Dorothy and Toto lived and were swept away by the tornado. How many times had Steve and I saw The Wizard of Oz? Grassy plains and occasionally a town or farm, way-out.

 Cowboy Holding A Newborn Calf

 Off Course Pictures of Engines.
I didn't include all the Fire Houses, 
but That Road Trip Would Be Fun, Also

 I was enjoying it all and then suddenly the road changed, still two lane, but holey! It was a terrible two-laned road. I actually said, "Toto (Steve) I don't think we're in Kansas, anymore." It wasn't long before we saw the Colorado sign and still everywhere it looks like Kansas. The Welcome sign actually said, "Welcome to Pothole Colorado!"  "Prairie Chicken Capitol of the World"  We saw the real thing, the the Prairie Chickens, we did! Oh no, then we started hitting toads in the road. Were the toads living in the potholes? I hope they're not endangered because we flattened a whole herd of toads. SPLAT!

We turned-down south on another two-lane road, and there was, to our surprise, the Arkansas River! The same river that runs just a couple miles behind and on the other-side of the hill in Mayflower, Arkansas. The same big river that runs behind our dear daughter, Bree and family that we had left just bit ago. "This is a river!" I wish I had a map like Dora the Explorer. Not really, I can't look down at all or I'm really queasy, again. I think we're in the town was La Junta or Las Amimas, but we're on our way to "Pothole (Pueblo) Colorado" And off to many homesteads of my ancestors.

This is the place I need to study! This is my genealogy trip beginning, my son's mission area, family stories begin here, and a great grandfather buried here. I'm not as excited as I am hoping my limited investigational trip to Pueblo is successful. I think worry fits in here somewhere.

No comments: