Day 3 - Kansas
|Thursday, February 18, 2021: There's the sun peeking over the horizon.
|We had been enjoying this U.S. National Parks and Trails bandana that we used for a tablecloth. It was interesting to track our progress across the country, ...
|... and it was a nice coincidence that Tom was reading a book about the building of the transcontinental railroad, and we'd be following much of the same route.
|Breakfast was the leftover bierock and bolso that we had bought from CB Baked Goods the day before. A little microwaving and they were ready to eat.
|We broke camp shortly after 9:00 AM and were disappointed to learn that our "full hookups" campsite that only had electricity also featured non-working water fills and frozen-closed sewer dumps.
|On our drive to Wichita, we passed a sign for Taco Tico. So many places named "Taco _____," so little time and stomach space.
|Sigh. It's already hard enough to get people to spell our daughter Claire's last name correctly, and now there's some company in Wichita ruining it for everyone.
|We passed the Beechcraft headquarters.
|Our first stop was Krispy Kreme, because Debbie's brother had notified us that for one day only, they'd be offering ...
|... the Mars Doughnut, in honor of the Mars landing of the Perseverence rover later that day.
|Official description: Caramel Iced and Chocolate Kreme(TM) Filled. We bought a half-dozen to make sure we'd get perfect specimens instead of a couple dropped into a bag. Tom went in to pick them up and wisely bought some milk to go with them.
|We drove past Revolutsia, ... an entertainment complex made completely out of shipping containers.
|If it wasn't freezing out and a pandemic, we would have loved to visit, but we had to settle for pictures.
|Here's the view from the alley.
|We passed this amusing bakery, titled Donut Whole and decorated with a chicken on top.
|We stopped by the building where a former client of Tom's used to be located. He had been here twice on business in the past.
There's downtown Wichita in the distance, ...
|... and there's the Arkansas River, which winds through the city.
|This great "Back to the Future" mural adorns the exterior of ...
|... 19/85 Arcade Bar and Grill, which has the best sign fonts ever.
|Next, we went to visit Wichita's famous Keeper of the Plains.
|The Keeper of the Plains stands watch over the confluence of the Arkansas and Little Arkansas rivers ...
|... and this bridge spans the Little Arkansas River.
|Here's a better look at this amazing 44-foot-tall sculpture.
|Next, we went off in search of smaller Keeper of the Plains statues, all painted in different designs. We didn't find any in the downtown area where an old map told us they would be, but we did get to see the InTrust Bank Arena in full COVID-19 vaccination mode.
|Are you kidding? Another misspelling of Wiegand? It's just too awful!
|We drove around the Wichita Wind Surge baseball stadium. A fence around the facility had a design painted on it that could only be seen from a certain angle.
|We were thrilled to finally find one of the small Keeper of the Plains statues. They're not really small - they're ten foot tall fiberglass works of art.
|With an hour left to go before an afternoon tour, we grabbed lunch at NuWay Crumbly Burgers.
|We chose our meals ...
|... and Tom went in to order.
|We got root beer, curly fries, onion rings, ...
|... and NuWay burgers - one with and one without pickles and mustard. The curly fries were amazing but the burgers were surprisingly bland.
|We managed to find another Keeper of the Plains statue near a high school, ...
|... and another near a playground.
|We had a 1:00 PM tour at Frank Lloyd Wright's Henry J. Allen House, ...
|... so we did a little shopping before the tour started.
|When all five tour guests arrived, we started. Our docent, DJ, started on the exterior and pointed out that the bricks used in the exterior consisted of four slightly different colors, all shown here.
|Here's the side of the house that would have faced the garden, which is now a parking lot for guests and staff.
|Here's the exterior of the kitchen, with the servants' entrance. The bars on the windows were used to cool foods. A small door for ice delivery is on the right, ...
|... with an ice delivery sign in the window next to it.
|Frank Lloyd Wright did love his concrete planters.
|At the base of the plant is a tiny plaque noting that this is a FLW original.
|We walked along the exterior of the house. Here's the side that faces the house next door, ...
|... and here's the side along one of the streets, with a large garden hidden by a brick wall.
|This is the corner of the house, ...
|... and what could best be described as the front of the house.
|Here's a better view of the front, ...
|... where you can see that this building has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
|Here's the unassuming front door, which leads to ...
|... the entry room where visitors were received.
|There was a bathroom right off of this room.
|It had a beautiful overhead light fixture.
|This picture is here to show that the grout between the rows of bricks ...
|... was painted with a shiny gold.
|From here, there were a couple of steps to the next area, ...
|... but first, check out that recessed light in the wall.
|The dining room was to the left.
|It featured a stunning stained glass light panel above the dining room table.
|There were beautiful built-in shelves and FLW-designed furniture.
|We loved this gorgeous fire grate, not that you'd ever want to have a fire in a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed fireplace.
|DJ explained that this was FLW-designed china, with red painting on the side of the cup so that red lipstick marks would blend in.
|Many of the pieces in the home are from the original Allen family, and have been donated by their descendants over time, including this carved screen.
|We went to the pantry/kitchen area next. Here's the left side ...
|... and here's the right side, with a view into the courtyard.
|The kitchen had been recently restored and it was beautiful.
|There was an olde timey stove, ...
|... with the coolest bread toaster. The tour guide said that it was meant to be used over an open-flame burner but the Internet tells us that this is a Frary & Clark electric toaster that is missing its cord.
|Here's the cool vent over the oven.
|Here's is the servants' dinette in an alcove off the kitchen.
|This is the stunning living room.
|Here's a look closer in the back, ...
|... and a closer look, ...
|... and an even closer look. We want this lamp in our house.
|There was a large sculpture and built-in stained-glass bookshelves in one corner.
|Let's look at the other end of the room.
|The wedding dress worn by the Allens' daughter, Henrietta, was on display in the corner.
|Here's the detail of the lights overhead. Note the tiny maple leaves pressed into the paper screens.
|Here's a closer look at the ceiling paint. Each room used these three paint colors: a very faint robin's egg blue, a pale yellow, and a pale green, meant to evoke the colors of the prairie.
|Tom got a photo of Debbie photographing the cool screen on the fireplace, ...
|... and listening to DJ.
|There's a great view of the courtyard from this room.
|A bird sculpture graces the pond.
|Before leaving this room, Debbie got a picture of this excellent Art Deco barometer.
|Here's another built-in bookshelf. These shelves all seemed to feature books about Elbert Hubbard, who was an acquaintance of Wright.
|We headed upstairs next.
|This was Mr. Allen's study.
|Check out the detailed ceiling and light fixture.
|Here's the adjacent bathroom that leads to ...
|... the Allens' bedroom.
|The tiny squares on the linens echo the square-and-rectangle motif of the home.
|The windows above the closets look out over the hallway. The two side mirrors open to create a three-sided dressing mirror.
|The bedroom connects to another room ...
|... which was probably Mrs. Allen's study.
|Yep, that's probably it, but a few days have passed and we've forgotten.
|The fireplace had been redone by later owners of the house, and that work had been removed to show the original look, albeit permanently disfigured.
|This room had a fantastic light fixture too.
|The house has two very tall rooms that stick out above the home's roof. Here's the top half of one, ...
|... and the bottom half.
|In Henrietta's room, there was a display of gorgeous gowns ...
|... and shoes that used to belong to her.
|The tour had gone past the scheduled 90-minute mark when we decided to tell our guide that we needed to leave. There was just one room left to see after this one, so we took a quick peek and then bolted. The fifth guest took the same opportunity, while the chatty couple happily stayed on.
|Here's the long hallway that connects all of the various bedrooms.
|It looks out over the courtyard.
|We headed out the front door, ...
|... and returned to the gift shop which used to be the home's attached garage.
|We bought an Oak Park magnet (because we had visited the FLW Home and Studio five months earlier), an additional tea towel identical to the one we were currently using in the RV as a mat below our boot trays, and a set of silicone placemats that were perfect non-slip material for our RV dinette and countertop.
|In addition to needing to get on the road to fit in the rest of our day's activities, we wanted to follow Perseverence's landing on Mars. Tom drove while Debbie read Stephen Clark's tweets.
|Part of the coverage after the successful landing included pictures that NASA fans had sent in showing how they were celebrating this day. This picture of a box of Krispy Kreme's Countdown to Mars donuts in the middle of Times Square was the clear winner to us.
|We discovered a couple of days later that Google added some animation when looking up the term "Perseverance."
|As we drove north, we discovered that we were on the Prairie Trail Scenic Byway.
|We arrived in Lindsborg, Kansas, shortly before 4:00 PM.
|This little town dubs itself "Little Sweden USA" and features red Dala horses all over town.
|We parked on a side street and strolled down Main Street. We were here to see the town's collection of Dala horse statues and we were not disappointed. They lined the streets, decorated in lots of creative ways.
|There were lots of Swedish touches to the local stores as well.
|Here's a Dala horse, which are called the Wild Dalas, ...
|... and another, ...
|... and another.
|Here's Main Street.
|Another Dala horse ...
|... and another Swedish-themed establishment.
|This traditionally-painted Dala horse is just across the street from ...
|... Hemslojd, a large Scandinavian gift shop and Dala horse factory.
|They have a traditionally-painted Dala horse too, but it is larger than the rest scattered through town, ...
|... which includes three other Dala horses on their own property: this one, ...
|... this one, ...
|... and this Christmas-themed one.
|Having been to so many Scandinavian gift shops before, we have nearly everything we could want, but we picked up some small souvenirs.
|We spotted these on the way out and realized that no matter how much we wanted them, it made no sense to buy something both heavy and fragile at the start of a three-week road trip.
|So, back to the Wild Dalas. Here's one ...
|... and another.
|Here's a cool building with a vintage Swedish payphone booth in front.
|We saw several of these around town - flat Dala horse signs that were part of a campaign to encourage residents to come up with ideas for making Lindsborg even better.
|There's a midsommar mural on the side of a building, ...
|... and a Little Free Library on the street.
|Here's another Wild Dala.
|This building was beautifully restored.
|Lucia Park was a narrow space between two buildings with public restrooms in the back. This plaque gave an introduction to St. Lucia herself and the Swedish tradition, ...
|... while St. Lucia Day murals graced buildings on both sides ...
|... of the narrow park.
|The last Dala horse we photographed had the best title of all: ...
|... "Kronor, the Dolla Horse." Kronor (translation: crowns) are the currency of Sweden.
|If it hadn't been a pandemic, we would have stopped in for ett glas öl at Öl Stuga (translation: Beer Cottage).
|Tom noticed something dangling from under The Ocho and took this picture under the rig to see what it was. A few zip ties later, everything was tidied up again.
|Meanwhile, Debbie photographed our souvenirs from Hemslojd: a small bag of tiny paper Swedish flags, a Hemslojd dish sponge, and a Dala horse tea towel that matches one we already own.
|We were in a race to get to our campsite before sunset. We passed this spooky abandoned house and got a picture of it just seconds after a very, very large bird of prey, possibly a turkey vulture, flew into it.
|We passed Kanopolis Lake, ...
|... where a huge flock of Canadian geese was gathered on the ice.
|We arrived at Kanopolis State Park (East Shore Area) ...
|... and tried to make sense of the self-pay station and the list of campgrounds that were open.
|We passed numerous white-tailed deer on the winding drive to ...
|... the Eagle Point campground.
|We picked out the perfect campsite and quickly set up camp.
|There was still plenty of time to take a short walk to the lake's edge ...
|... and to enjoy the sunset.
|We ended up having the entire campground to ourselves.
|It was going to be another bitterly cold night, but it was cozy in our little RV.
|For dinner, Tom ate the last of the leftover pizza we brought from home, while Debbie had a sliced turkey sandwich made from one of the home-baked Italian loaves Tom made the day before we left.
|Tom used his downtime to catch up on all of the Mars Perseverance landing news and to write some software features for Debbie.
Copyright © Deborah Schilling/Thomas Bundy