Cross Country Trip

Road Trip Day 29: Kansas

We left Maryland four weeks ago today. What a journey it has been so far! Tomorrow we will be home in Champaign and then the new adventure begins.

Gregory Inn, DenverThis morning we were up at 8 am, and went upstairs around 9 am for the “breakfast” part of our B&B stay. It was DELICIOUS. The breakfast of the day was vanilla hazelnut pancakes (with the crunchy hazelnuts inside), apple sausage, eggs, fruit, and of course any beverage we wanted (juice, milk, tea, coffee). The space was perfect for serving a nice quiet breakfast. We were the only ones in the inside dining area, though there was a group outside on the patio, where the weather was perfectly sunny and warming up to the low 70s. What a beautiful day!

However, we could not spend the rest of our day lounging at the Gregory Inn. We left the hotel around 10:30 am, and drove around downtown Denver a bit just to get a feel for it. We took some photos of the State House and the surrounding area. As we headed out of town, I spotted another stimulus project sign. We stopped at Starbucks in Aurora off I-7, and were officially on the road around 11:15 am.

As we drove through Eastern Colorado, it was as though the mountains had never existed. The land was pure high prairie – flat grazing land, corn, etc, though still at around 5,000 feet in elevation.

Welcome to KansasWe crossed into Kansas around 1:30 pm and – as expected – the terrain didn’t change. The time did change a while later – for whatever reason, the time zone line is somewhat east of the CO-KS border, so we went from 2:20 pm (Mountain) to 3:30 pm (Central) a number of miles into the state of Kansas.

Other than a few unexpected oil rigs here and there – who knew Kansas was an oil producer? Not I – pretty much all we saw for several hours was corn fields and grazing lands. Around quarter to 6 pm, the land suddenly became rather hilly, and we passed a large windmill farm. The windmills were dotted all over the hills, and at one point the interstate was actually higher than the nearest windmill, allowing for an unusual view of the turbines rotating past our car.

At approximately Mile 342, I spotted a sign explaining that this stretch of I-70 was the first 8 miles of the Interstate Highway System to be completed. Interesting bit of trivia.

We drove through Topeka, and about ten minutes later we arrived at the toll road at 8 pm. Having managed to avoid toll roads through almost our entire trip (the Golden Gate Bridge was the exception), it took us a few minutes to figure out what the deal was. We managed to come up with exact change – $2.15 – when the toll road ended about 35 miles later.

We arrived at the Kansas City Speedway Days Inn around 8:30 pm, our destination for the evening. We got settled into our room, and found a brochure recommending local restaurants. We ended up eating dinner at a nearby townie bar called Sunset Bar & Grill, where I got a grilled chicken salad and Dave got a chicken marinara sandwich. It was the right amount of food for such a late evening. Such a shame that we missed out on one of Kansas City’s claims to fame, Kansas City BBQ – my favorite kind of barbecue.

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