Category Archives: Kansas

Kansas Part II: Topeka

We went to the Capital of Kansas for our second stop in the Sunflower State. The RV Park that we selected seemed to be recently constructed and was kept very clean. It was also very centrally located to downtown Topeka. However, it was located just off of Interstate 70, and the road noise was fairly obnoxious. I’ll just tell you, there is not much to do or see in Topeka, Kansas. No offense to the locals, but our stop here was a bit underwhelming.

The irony of this chapter from The Lower 48 in 48 Tour was that we ended up being parked here for three long weeks. There were several factors that contributed to this prolonged stay in such a boring spot. Since we are on a fixed income now, it was cheaper to rent our spot for a full month. As at most RV Parks, rates are available on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. The longer you stay, the cheaper the rate. When we did the calculations we determined that it would be cheaper to pay for a month and leave after 21 days, as opposed to paying a daily or weekly rate. The second reason we stayed is because I needed to schedule a dermatologist appointment. Getting in to see a dermatologist always seems to be a bit challenging, especially as a new patient without a referral. Mike called around for me on the first day we arrived, and found me an appointment 21 days later. The third and final reason we stayed longer than we wanted was because we were in the middle of finalizing our 2014 tax return. We needed to stay in one spot until the return was finalized, so our CPA would know where to send our overnight package containing the paperwork we needed to sign and mail to the IRS with the money that we owed.

The best thing about Topeka turned out to be that it was located only one hour from Kansas City, MO. We made three different visits to KC, and enjoyed every minute we were able to explore that fun city.

The courthouse in Manhattan, Kansas. The "Little Apple" is home to Kansas State University. This stone must be indigenous to the region, because several public and university buildings are built from the same materials.

The courthouse in Manhattan, Kansas. The “Little Apple” is home to Kansas State University. This stone must be indigenous to the region, because several public and university buildings are built from the same materials.

Cessna helping her human with some fishing on a sunny afternoon.

Cessna helping her human with some fishing on a sunny afternoon.

We attended Palm Sunday and Easter Services at a beautiful historic Methodist Church in downtown Topeka.

We attended Palm Sunday and Easter Services at a beautiful historic Methodist Church in downtown Topeka.

Downtown Lawrence was hoppin' on a random Saturday afternoon. I couldn't believe how many people were out strolling the sidewalks and enjoying the pretty weather in this cute little town.

Downtown Lawrence was hoppin’ on a random Saturday afternoon. I couldn’t believe how many people were out strolling the sidewalks and enjoying the pretty weather in this cute little town.

Our first outing in Kansas City, MO included a stop at the famous Arthur Bryant's Barbeque spot. We stood in line with the masses. I got brisket and burnt ends. I liked the brisket. Mike got sliced pork and ribs. He liked the ribs. In our humble Texas opinions... Cooper's Old Time BBQ in Llano is still the best BBQ on the planet.

Our first outing in Kansas City, MO included a stop at the famous Arthur Bryant’s Barbeque spot. We stood in line with the masses. I got brisket and burnt ends. I liked the brisket. Mike got sliced pork and ribs. He liked the ribs. In our humble Texas opinions… Cooper’s Old Time BBQ in Llano is still the best BBQ on the planet.

After our barbeque lunch, we visited the 18th & Vine Jazz District. It probably would have been better if we had been in the area after dark when the bars were open and the music was playing.

After our barbeque lunch, we visited the 18th & Vine Jazz District. It probably would have been better if we had been in the area after dark when the bars were open and the music was playing.

Our spot at the campground in Topeka.

Our spot at the campground in Topeka.

Not much to look at while driving down the highway in Kansas.

Not much to look at while driving down the highway in Kansas.

Mike took the dogs out for their morning walk just after sunrise and was surprised by about six hot air balloons floating directly over our campground. I was still asleep in the bed. Just goes to show you... You snooze, you lose.

Mike took the dogs out for their morning walk just after sunrise and was surprised by about six hot air balloons floating directly over our campground. I was still asleep in the bed. Just goes to show you… You snooze, you lose.

Kansas City skyline.

Kansas City skyline.

Our campground was just about 3/4 of a mile down the street from Lake Shawnee, which had an 8- mile paved walking trail circling the edge of the lake. This was a good spot for our daily dog walks.

Our campground was just about 3/4 of a mile down the street from Lake Shawnee, which had an 8- mile paved walking trail circling the edge of the lake. This was a good spot for our daily dog walks.

We spotted a bald eagle on one of our walks at Lake Shawnee. He had just caught himself a big fish, and had settled in the tree to finish his fresh lunch.

We spotted a bald eagle on one of our walks at Lake Shawnee. He had just caught himself a big fish, and had settled in the tree to finish his fresh lunch.

This was in the window of an antique store in the historic Westport neighborhood of Kansas City. Chuckle Chuckle.

This was in the window of an antique store in the historic Westport neighborhood of Kansas City. Chuckle Chuckle.

Another store in the Westport Neighborhood was Pryde's - opened in 1968. Mike and the dogs were waiting outside... or I could have spent an entire day (and lots of money) on all types of kitchen gadgets. This is the mother of all kitchen stores, I can assure you!

Another store in the Westport Neighborhood was Pryde’s – opened in 1968. Mike and the dogs were waiting outside… or I could have spent an entire day (and lots of money) on all types of kitchen gadgets. This is the mother of all kitchen stores, I can assure you!

The City Market in Kansas City is open on weekends from 6am until 3pm. Fresh produce, fresh cut flowers, spices sold in bulk, food vendors selling every sort of ethnic selection (Vietnamese, Brazilian, Indian, Italian, etc). The smells and colors had me in a huge tizzy. Mike didn't have as much fun as I did because it was packed with humans shoulder to shoulder - he hates crowds. He was nice to accompany me, but I enjoyed this outing much more than he did.

The City Market in Kansas City is open on weekends from 6am until 3pm. Fresh produce, fresh cut flowers, spices sold in bulk, food vendors selling every sort of ethnic selection (Vietnamese, Brazilian, Indian, Italian, etc). The smells and colors had me in a huge tizzy. Mike didn’t have as much fun as I did because it was packed with humans shoulder to shoulder – he hates crowds. He was nice to accompany me, but I enjoyed this outing much more than he did.

I thought this random building in downtown Kansas City was exquisite.

I thought this random building in downtown Kansas City was exquisite.

Date night at the Kansas City Intercontinental Hotel listening to live jazz music.

Date night at the Kansas City Intercontinental Hotel listening to live jazz music.

This wonderful foursome gave us a taste of the jazz music for which Kansas City is so famous.

This wonderful foursome gave us a taste of the jazz music for which Kansas City is so famous.

I didn't know that Kansas City is also known as the City of Fountains. It has more fountains than any city in the world except Rome, Italy.

I didn’t know that Kansas City is also known as the City of Fountains. It has more fountains than any city in the world except Rome, Italy.

My favorite spot in Kansas City was probably Country Club Plaza. Sevilla, Spain is KC's sister city. This upscale shopping/entertainment district was packed with architectural details resembling those from  Sevilla's Bario de Santa Cruz (where I lived during my senior year in college).

My favorite spot in Kansas City was probably Country Club Plaza. Sevilla, Spain is KC’s sister city. This upscale shopping/entertainment district was packed with architectural details resembling those from Sevilla’s Bario de Santa Cruz (where I lived during my senior year in college).

Kansas Part I: El Dorado

A typical evening at Camp Martin. Dogs casually scanning the surface for something within our boundary to which they can alert us. Soon to come: Commands of silence and then banishment to THE BOX (aka: sacred tent in which they love to nap and lounge anytime outdoor activities are possible). Sometimes we wonder if their antics are ploys for banishment into their camping caves. Either way, they stop barking when they are in the box.

A typical evening at Camp Martin. Dogs casually scanning the surface for something within our boundary to which they can alert us. Soon to come: Commands of silence and then banishment to THE BOX (aka: sacred tent in which they love to nap and lounge anytime outdoor activities are possible). Sometimes we wonder if their antics are ploys for banishment into their camping caves. Either way, they stop barking when they are in the box.

Who Knew:  If someone asked me which stop I thought we would be at when Mike would catch his limit of fish EVERY DAY he wanted... my first guess would most certainly not have been KANSAS!

Who Knew:
If someone asked me which stop I thought we would be located when Mike would catch his limit of fish EVERY DAY he wanted… my first guess would most certainly not have been KANSAS!

 

The Sound Barrier - one of our baby steps toward comprehending our Universe (not to mention... "OUR UNIVERSE" is nothing more than being a small country on a big planet, or a smaller state in a single country, or a single county in a providence, or a small town in a tiny county, or a downtown in a small community.

The Sound Barrier – one of our baby steps toward comprehending our Universe and space travel within it.

 

The SR-71. In this photo the nose looks quite tiny compared to the rest of its enormous, yet stealthy mass. Those two jet bundles on both sides in the FAR background of this picture are also part of the same machine. Giant Plane.

The SR-71. In this photo the nose looks quite tiny compared to the rest of its enormous, yet stealthy mass. Those two jet engines on both sides in the FAR background of this picture are also part of the same machine. Giant Plane.

One of the perks from Mike's Air Traffic Control Career - a FAM flight in one of these babies. Fond Memories and fun stories.

One of the perks from Mike’s Air Traffic Control Career – a FAM flight in one of these babies. Fond Memories and fun stories.

The Kansas Cosmosphere was an unexpected surprise on the Lower 48 in 48 Tour. Mike's favorite part of the museum was the Apollo Exhibit.

The Kansas Cosmosphere was an unexpected surprise on the Lower 48 in 48 Tour. Mike’s favorite part of the museum was the Apollo Exhibit.

The Kansas Aviation Museum

The Kansas Aviation Museum

The recently restored ceiling in the Kansas Aviation Museum. (I know this because they were still painting when we were there)! GREAT design.

The recently restored ceiling in the Kansas Aviation Museum. (I know this because they were still painting when we were there)! GREAT design.

Until we arrived in Wichita, I did not know that 70% of the WORLD's general aviation aircraft is built in Wichita, KS.

Until we arrived in Wichita, I did not know that 70% of the WORLD’s general aviation aircraft is built in Wichita, KS.

How did they get this plane into this space?

How did they get this plane into this space?

One of the first simulators for budding pilots.

One of the first simulators for budding pilots.

As we were walking to our car after dinner at Stearman Field Bar and Grill.

As we were walking to our car after dinner at Stearman Field Bar and Grill.

The obligatory 'selfie post' in anticipation of our pizza and sunset at Stearman Field Bar and Grill.

The obligatory ‘selfie post’ in anticipation of our pizza and sunset at Stearman Field Bar and Grill.

Watching the planes land and take-off from Lloyd Stearman Field.

Watching the planes land and take-off from Lloyd Stearman Field.

When we arrived in Wichita, I was not aware I would have the pleasure of touring one of Frank Lloyd Wright's last Prairie House Designs.

When we arrived in Wichita, I was not aware I would have the pleasure of touring one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s last Prairie House Designs.

I visited the Wichita Botanical Gardens before spring has sprung. It was a lovely facility and I could imagine the magnificence during my time there. Since the spring blooms were still shy, I found this precious wind vane.

I visited the Wichita Botanical Gardens before spring had sprung. It was a lovely facility and I could imagine the magnificence during my time there. Since the spring blooms were still shy, I found this precious wind vane.

I guess at the end of TheMartinsAmericanAdventure we might be able to concoct some sort of subsidiary 'points of interest' Adventures. One might be to find all the places we have left our 'signature' along the way. Extra credit for finding them all AND tagging them in order of the original adventure. ha!  If so, here is a clue for what you might look for somewhere in Wichita, Kansas.

I guess at the end of TheMartinsAmericanAdventure we might be able to concoct some sort of subsidiary ‘points of interest’ Adventures. One might be to find all the places we have left our ‘signature’ along the way. Extra credit for finding them all AND tagging them in order of the original adventure. ha!
If so, here is a clue for what you might look for somewhere in Wichita, Kansas.

It is amazing how much fun the two of us (after a martini) could make of getting served our bill inside a real- life book instead of inside a cheap fake leather billet .

It is amazing how much fun the two of us (after a martini) could make of getting served our bill inside a real- life book instead of inside a cheap fake leather billet .

Old Town Wichita. Loved it.

Old Town Wichita. Loved it.

At the confluence of the ArkKANsas and the Little ArKANSas Rivers.

At the confluence of the ArkKANsas and the Little ArKANSas Rivers. If you say it wrong in Wichita, they will correct you.

Looking at the northern skyline of downtown Wichita, from the banks of the ArKANSAS River.

Looking at the northern skyline of downtown Wichita, from the banks of the ArKANSAS River.

"Everything around him is holy"

“Everything around him is holy”

Seems like Fung Shui (I knew I was on to something).

Seems like the Native American version of Fung Shui.

If you asked me at the beginning "Which state do you think you will be in when you have personal fish-cleaning stations attached to each campsite"? My first thought would NOT have been Kansas.

If you asked me at the beginning “Which state do you think you will be in when you have personal fish-cleaning stations attached to each campsite”? My first thought would NOT have been Kansas.

Mike's adoration of geese has not subsided.

Mike’s adoration of geese has not subsided.

When we arrived to Eldorado State Park, the Lake and Rivers in the area were still frozen.

When we arrived to Eldorado State Park, the Lake and Rivers in the area were still frozen.

Walking on the dam above our campground at El Dorado State Park

Walking on the dam above our campground at El Dorado State Park

El Dorado Lake

El Dorado Lake

I knew when we got to our campground and saw this steep hill to the top of the dam - that Mike would declare a mission to walk from bottom to top each day we were camped there. He did. On most days we did.

I knew when we got to our campground and saw this steep hill to the top of the dam – that Mike would declare a mission to walk from bottom to top each day we were camped there. He did. On most days we did.

Our 'yard' from spot #31.

Our ‘yard’ from spot #31.

Spot 31

Spot 31

When we first arrived into Wichita this is what we saw from our lane on the interstate. Up until that moment, I did not dream this stop would be so aviation-oriented.

When we first arrived into Wichita this is what we saw from our lane on the interstate. Up until that moment, I did not dream this stop would be so aviation-oriented.

President Eisenhower was also a Native Texan... born in Denison. Been to the house where he was born. All in all - The Lone Star State claims 4 Leaders of the Free World (by birth or attitude or oil rights - all acceptable criteria). DDE, LBJ, Bush 41, Bush 43.

President Eisenhower was also a Native Texan… born in Denison. Been to the house where he was born. All in all – The Lone Star State claims 4 Presidents.