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Road Trip: Pool playing, Dalton Gang Hideout and Dorothy’s House from MN, KS, OK, TX by Ann Treacy
January 6, 2022, 1:48 am
Filed under: Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma

We checked out a little nightlife in Wichita at a karaoke bar called The Stop. It wasn’t very full but everyone was super friendly – and not in a creepy way. We shot pool with some locals and the bartender gave us a long list of things to visit. Beers were cheap. Signs around the bar with awesome and instructive. On the way out of town we did stop by the Keeper of the Plains, a 44-foot tall steel sculpture standing at the point where the Big and Little Arkansas rivers join together in downtown Wichita. It was created by Native American artist Blackbear Bosin. It is striking.

We got to recreate a few moments from the lives of the Dalton Gang, gangsters from the 1890s at the Dalton Gang Hideout in Meade, KS. They robbed banks and trains. Their sister lived in Meade. The presumption is that they hid out there, in a tunnel under the house. We didn’t hold anyone up but we did get to trek through the house, the tunnel and the outbuildings.  Also there were a lot of artifacts – mostly notably the albino raccoon, aka star of my future nightmares. (Absolutely worth the $5 cover charge.)

Our scheduled stop was in Liberal KS, home of Dorothy Gale’s house from The Wizard of Oz! There are some cut-outs of the expected characters and the house does look a lot like Dorothy’s. Apparently someone just got the idea that Liberal should become the official home to Dorothy. Someone knew of a house that looked like the one from the movie; so they moved it to town and worked to make it look even more like it. Ironically, the tornado siren started blaring just as we hit town. I thought our timing might be creepy but spot on. Turns out, they were just testing. To be fair, we now know that tornados can run forever in Kansas because there is nothing to stop them!

After driving about a billion hours through Kansas, we filly blew through Oklahoma and Texas and into New Mexico!

Road trip: Buddy Holly memorial, Sculpture Garden, Covered Bridge & Shuttlecocks from MN, IA, MO, KS by Ann Treacy
January 5, 2022, 1:43 am
Filed under: Iowa, Kansas, Missouri

Heather and I are on the road. Our mission is to deliver a car to Venice Beach, California. We have quite a few days to do it and only a loose itinerary of suggested stops. Admittedly our first goal is to get where it’s warmer as soon as possible and maybe hover once we get there.

We left early in the morning. First major stop the Buddy Holly Crash Site. Well, after being there we might call it a minor site. The glasses were much smaller than we anticipated but it was still sad and amazing at the same time. It was easy on a windy, cold day like today to think about how miserable that flight and end must have been – that day the music died. We also took a quick visit to the Surf Ballroom, where Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson played their last concert. What a strange story for the ballroom to have to hold – although it is just one chapter in a long book.

Next stop Des Moines and the Pappajohn Sculpture Garden, plunked right into town. It was a perfect recharger stop for us. We walked around and saw the sculptures – several looked very reminiscent of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden or other sculpture gardens I’ve visited. It was the perfect 30 minutes. It was super windy and chilly but brisk. A few of our favorites – the large body made of white words by Jaume Plensa, big stone faces with tons (perhaps literally) of personality by Ugo Rondinone and White Ghost by Yoshimoto Nara – like a spooked up Lucy from The Peanuts.

Mini stop was a quick drive by a bridge of Madison County, specifically the Imes Covered Bridge; it is the oldest of the remaining covered bridges, Imes was built in 1870 and is 81 feet in length. Absolutely worth the five minute detour. We thought about the birthplace of John Wayne but decided that wasn’t worth a 40 minute detour.

Props to Heather, the driver, she’s doing an amazing job. We had hoped to get more of a break in Kansas City, but a lot of things are closed. We did get to see the Shuttlecocks of Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art. (I love the inside of the museum too, but sadly closed on Tuesdays.) Folks from the Twin Cities will know Oldenburg’s Spoon and Cherry. They Shuttlecocks are as much of a splash – with several large scale shuttlecocks peppered around the yard of the museum. There are a few works. We also liked Rush Hour by George Segal (group of people) and what I assume is an iteration of Rodin’s The Thinker.

And now we’ve landed in Wichita. We may go work out. We may find a dive bar. Maybe I’ll report tomorrow!

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