Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Yellow Brick Road Under Construction: Highway 36 Through Kansas

Kansas looks like one immense farm stretching for miles from one end of the state to the other.  The plains were mainly oatmeal coloured with a few stretches of green where new hay had been baled or cattle grazed.  Fields are equipped with the tall sprinklers mounted on towers along their ¼ mile length.  The Center Pivot Irrigation Sprinklers are crucial to farming on the plains.  As well, each town has a series of grain elevators, silos, conveyors and storage bins; some spanking new and others faded and crumbling with age.  Farm Equipment Stores flaunt their spiffy coloured tractors, shredders, harvesters, combines, sprayers and tillage in every third town along the highway.  Known as the Sunflower State, it is obvious that Kansas is all about agriculture.  As well as the Grain Production itself, Flour and Oat Milling, Manufacturing of Ethanol and Vegetable Oils are staple industries.  Each farmstead is different; most have at least one barn or cabin from the past.  Many abandoned homes, barns and windmills stand battered, bleached and full of stories from the dust-bowl days.  Most towns had some form of siren to send out the Tornado Warnings.

P1040203

P1040196

P1040210

P1040215

P1040197     P1040249

   “Largest” Easel in the World?                                              Sunflower road signs

P1040212

P1040246

P1040239

P1040218

P1040227

P1040247  P1040235

P1040261

P1040244 P1040248

P1040463

P1040262

P1040267

P1040500       P1040239

P1040263

P1040229

P1040238

P1040258

P1040269

                                                                               Dorothy’s House (he he)

We camped a week at Prairie Dog State Park, a huge area of rolling hills, manmade lake, and grassland supporting Whitetail and Mule Deer, tons of Rabbits and of course, Prairie Dogs.  The old shoreline of the lake is piled with driftwood and draped artistically with white foliage.  Flocks of Coots, Gulls, Terns, Canada Geese and White Pelicans lived on the many peninsulas jutting into the water.  While relaxing beside the motor home we watched a nesting Flicker, a pair of Cardinals, one whom loved to view her reflection in our mirrors; Meadowlarks, flocks of Cedar Wax Wings and Wild Turkeys with the males in spring-mating mode sporting full tail displays.  One evening just after sunset, we watched a Great Horned Owl on the prowl.  The Prairie Dogs had their own community of raised burrows and deep sets of tunnels in a two acre field near the park entrance.  Within the park, we explored an old Adobe Homestead, a unique windmill and some great farm equipment.   Although the home resembles many modern bungalows in its design, it was constructed in the late 1890’s.

P1040443

P1040444           P1040392

P1040273

P1040319P1040281

                                                                                                                                      Our Prairie Dog

P1040292

P1040380

                                                             Unusual to see Pelicans on fresh water.

P1040289

P1040324

P1040296

P1040294

P1040318                          P1040293

P1040310                       P1040297

P1040314                   P1040313

P1040344

 P1040369              P1040312

 P1040359      

P1040337  P1040394  P1040338                     

 P1040342P1040330

P1040331

P1040334          P1040336

P1040332   P1040396

P1040340

P1040451 The Poser family!

The town of Norton was our source for groceries and sundries (we go through a lot of them) and it had some great buildings to photograph.  Two worn grain elevators stood near the tracks.  The working movie theatre was restored to its former glory.  With the spring weather, the trees were in bloom and daffodils and tulips filled the gardens.  A gorgeous brick warehouse had been converted to a whole foods store complete with trendy outdoor seating for café guests.  Time moves on even though the bible thumpers still rule that no one can buy booze on Sunday anywhere in Kansas!  The best in town were two vintage gas stations that looked brand new.

P1040419

P1040418

P1040420

P1040422  P1040424  P1040423

P1040442

P1040432

P1040426

P1040427

P1040436P1040441

P1040429             P1040431

P1040439

We had a pleasant drive out of Kansas, sticking to the smaller highways and enjoying the old towns and rustic farm buildings along the way.  We passed a historical stop marking the Geographical Center of the USA.  I had to take a couple of photos signs in the town of Belleville Kansas as I was born in Belleville Ontario!   We had stayed in the northern most regions of the state as the current time of year is ripe for wicked weather.   A few Tornados had struck in southern Kansas while we were there.   As we safely entered Nebraska, it was a relief to say “Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore!”.

P1040485

P1040460

P1040461

                                                                            Highest hill in Kansas?

                        P1040456          P1040478

P1040467

P1040503

P1040508

P1040515

       P1040525         P1040523

P1040528

P1040530

No comments:

Post a Comment