Making our way east from New Mexico, we’ve been exploring a different route through Kansas for the past few days. Instead of going due north to I70 and across, we’re rolling over the two-lane highways across the southern part of the state. For Monday’s journey, we started off on Highway 54 for a short way, pausing in Liberal for a visit to Dorothy’s House on Yellow Brick Road. Fortunately, we didn't encounter the Wicked Witch, nor did any tornadoes force us to use the family’s storm shelter. After greeting the Tin Man we turned east onto Highway 160, making our way through the plains and gypsum hills. If you're looking for an interesting, scenic drive through this part of the country,
try Highway160 between the small towns of Meade and Medicine Lodge, Kansas. There are sweeping views of the prairie stretching as far as the eye can see, then the views change to the orange colors of the rolling gypsum hills that we didn’t realize were to be found in this area. Sprinkled in with the landscape are quarter horses grazing and galloping, lots of Kansas beef cattle, oil wells doing their jobs and, on this particular day, prairie fires added some gray haze.
Wizzing past us came every variation of fire fighting equipment and volunteers to help in stopping the inferno’s progress. The scorched land is telling the tale of their harm. Along about 3:00, we arrived in Medicine Lodge, a small community where we located the quaint Memorial Peace Park as our stop for the night. As is our habit, we nosed around the town. Small town history usually provides us with some tidbit or tale and this one is no exception. Here we are at Carry Nation’s Home, the place where she started her alcohol prohibition crusade in the late 1800s. Talk about passion for your cause, she axed her way to success in many taverns. We found the people of Medicine Lodge to be very friendly as we stopped in at the Foodliner for a little fresh produce and took a short walk down the old-fashioned, yet tidy and busy, main street. By the time we returned to our rig for the evening the park was filled with girls’ softball teams, teenagers cruising in their pickups and youngsters climbing on the playground, everyone enjoying the springtime in Middle America. But soon we were left with a peaceful and safe spot for the night. Continuing along, we are now in a Corps of Engineers Park near Burlington, KS, watching the pelicans and blue heron feeding in the swift waters near the dam. The name of the park is John Redmund Reservoir. It is just a few miles off state highway 75 in central Kansas. As usually happens with COE parks, we are pleased. Since storms are supposed to be moving through the area today, we’ll just sit tight here for another day, relaxing with the pelicans.