Ok, after today here is my short description of Kansas: hot cows, wind farms, oil, amber waves of grain and………Ike.
Until now I have always thought of Kansas as the State where you get across it as fast as possible. Yvonne told me to treat it like a Sunday drive in the country. That took some creative thought but I think I got it done. Ok, here it is.
It reached 102 degrees today on our trek across Kansas. Yvonne kept looking to take picture of the cows standing in water and managed to get a few; including the one above. We then came upon probably the largest wind farm I have seen on this trip. Washington and Oregon had quite a few and California, Nevada, and Utah had none to be found. This one in central Kansas probably stretched 20 miles or so and I would guess there were at least 600 units involved. It was surprising that we found none of them in Nevada where they would be their most efficient. Ok, now on to my list. Another suprise was the number of small oil pumping rigs there were in central Kansas. We probably drove by a couple hundred of them. I’m sure they weren’t any of the big producers like found in Texas but together they probably amounted to quite a bit of oil. Amber waves of grain is something that was totally expected of Kansas and we were fortunate enough to be here when they were harvesting that grain. It was a beautiful site to see.
The final item is Ike and that is for President Eisenhower. He grew up in Abilene Kansas and that is where his presidential museum and library. We visited there today. Living up to his generally thought of presidency, his museum was probably the most austere of any we have visited. It was nice but it didn’t have the aura of importance of most of the others. But, then again, neither did his presidency. A lot of opportunities were presented to Ike during his time in office and he didn’t seem to respond to many of them. McCarthy was running around calling everyone Communist and yet failed to prosecute anyone. In the museum it was mentioned that Ike did not like McCarthy but didn’t do anything to stop him or to voice his dislike. The beginning of the Civil Rights movement happened during Ike’s watch but then again he basically ignored it. I was a pretty young man when he was president but all I seem to remember about him was that he played golf a lot! He didn’t seem to do much but maybe that was the best thing to do at the time. I don’t know.
PS…. I know this isn’t on my list but I am going to add it anyway. It’s my blog and I can do whatever I want :) Across from the Ike buildings was a small house called The Americal Indian Art Center. We reluctantly stopped by there and were totally surprised as the what we found. Patt Murphy “Ich^e Pi” (his Indian name) has collected 3500 books about native Americans and also sells crafts made the local tribes. When I told him about my native American roots he immediately went to a book to show me where the Shawnee migrated and how they were among those who were shipped off to Oklahoma during the “final solution”. I bought the book so I can study this some more. Patt was a fascinating person to talk with. I got his email address and expect to correspond with him about my questions in the area in the future. He welcomed my future correspondance.
So, there are things happening in Kansas that are worth the stop. I might not have discovered them hadn’t we been trying to live in the slow lane. :) Tomorrow we will be heading into Topeka to visit the capital and to the Brown vs Board of Education museum there. After that who know what pleasant surprises Kansas has in store for us!