When I travel Kansas, or anywhere for that matter, I look for the quirks: the whimsical, unexpected turns of land, art, people that show me the uniqueness of wherever I am. What I find is that the more isolated the community, the more potential there is for giant green dinosaurs, billboards of sunflowers or cement sculptures of dogs chasing cats. Kansas never disappoints, especially when I take the backroads.
Coming home from Wilson last week, through Lucas, Lincoln and other towns, I started off leaving the scenic Midland Railroad Hotel, where I slept well, being a happy dreamer to the rhythms of the rolling-through trains. Sometimes growing up with subways below or above can prepare a gal for a night in a historic hotel along the train tracks.
From there, I went north to wander though Lucas, taking in the exterior murals of the Grassroots Arts Center, and to discover, with great sadness, that the little cafe on the northern edge of town that sold a dozen kinds of the incredible pie on the planet was now closed. So without my expected slice of coconut cream pie, I headed east.
Eventually, I went through some town with some restaurant named “Some Beach Somewhere.” The whole beach theme motif with vibrant orange and a car sticking out from the balcony caught me off-guard, but then quirks always do.
The underside to cruising for quirks is that you sometimes find yourself behind a giant flatbed truck hauling humungous bails of hay at 20 mph up and down hills, but even that is worth the less-traveled path, particularly when at any turn down the main street of any town, there’s bound to be something completely unexpected and completed welcome.