Rob we are not in Kansas anymore… Good thing. We left Branson a place we loved and traveled to Kansas. One of my tour books said stop off at Nelson’s store on Route 66 in Kansas to see Mater from Cars. He was not there and although it may have been a great store in its day the current store looks abandoned. I found out Mater was at a diner down the street, so we went there. Although we did find Mater the diner was also abandoned. In fact, it looked like most of the town was a ghost town. We finally did find a small place to get some lunch at Sweet Creek diner. We felt like we literally were in the middle of nowhere Kansas. We figured we would head to the city, so we stayed in Kansas City. Kansas is of course famous for the Wizard of Oz so we headed to Wamengo, Ks where the Oz museum is. It was interesting with all kinds of random facts about the movie and collectables through out the years. There were all kinds of things people have collected from lunch boxes to Dorothy Barbie dolls. The museum tour took only about an hour or so so we decided to walk thru the town. There is a yellow brick road you can follow and Toto statues all over the town. There is also an OZ winery which of course we went to. It was a quiet day so the lady working there had plenty to tell us about her wine and the town. We ended up buying some wicked monkey wine for later that day.

    After touring the land of OZ we headed back to KC to get some good BBQ at Joe’s famous BBQ. It is in a gas station. The line winds around the whole place but the wait is worth it. The next day we went to a botanical garden called Overland Park.  It wasn’t quite in season, but it was a beautiful park with fountains and a very beautiful visitors center. If you ever get to Kansas City this would be a great place to go especially in the summer, I imagine it would be beautiful. We also went to a children’s museum called Prairie Fire. It was not really worth the admission fee as we don’t have children with us but the outside of the museum is worth a drive by as it is covered in colored glass. We also drove thru some towns that had huge mansions. Each block the houses got bigger and bigger.We ended up at Country Club Plaza to get a coffee and walk around. Shopping is not really our thing so we headed to the next area called Crown Plaza. This was also a huge shopping area that even had an ice-skating park in it. There was also a restaurant where the food is delivered by train. We were getting hungry, so we found another BBQ place called Burnt Ends which was actually better than Joe’s! Not that I would ever go back to Kansas City but they do have some great BBQ!

  It was time to leave and head south to Wichita. It was a long drive, so we stopped halfway at Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve.  There is an old cattle ranch there that you can tour. We found one lonely horse who apparently was saved from the glue factory. The best part was you can hike on the prairie where there are bison in the field! We had walked about a mile without seeing much and then just over a hill we were about 50 feet away! This was probably one of the highlights of our trip for Rob so far! The prairie is actually a cool place. There were thousands of acres of land, and it is pretty flat so you can see for miles. They burn some of the grass, so it grows new grass, so it looks like you are on the moon with the burnt ground and rocks everywhere for miles. We probably saw about 100 bison. After our hike we continued to Wichita.

  Checking in to the hotel the desk clerk asked, “what brings you to Wichita?” Good question as there is not much there. My college roommate was from Wichita, and she always talked about how Pizza Hut was founded in Wichita. We went to this place called “Old town” which was supposed to have a lot of shops and restaurants, but it was abandoned. We tried to go to two museums, but they were closed. In Wichita there is a famous statue called “The Keeper of the Plains” we went to see it. It is about a 44 ft tall sculpture atop a hill overlooking the Big and Little Arkansas rivers. It is supposed to be the pride of the city however the rivers were so dirty, there were Canadian goose everywhere so walking around was like a mine field and in the river was all kinds of trash. There used to be a commercial about a Native American who cried at all the litter, and I am sure that statue would be crying if it could. Take my advice if you don’t have to go to Wichita don’t.

  It’s a 2-and-a-half-hour ride from Wichita to Oklahoma City. Not much to see but farms and fields, lots of wind turbines and oil riggers. We checked in and then went straight to the Cowboy National Museum. It was interesting. They had artwork on cowboys and displays about the rodeo and famous cowboys, cowboys in film and artifacts from various cowboys. The next day we went to the museum of Osteology. A bones museum. This was a very small museum but very interesting. They had over 7,000 skeletons of all kinds of animals. We were at the museum about an hour or so and then decided to go to the First Americans Museum. This is all about Native Americans. It was quite interesting. It chronicled the history of Native Americans up to present time and there were lots of displays of crafts, games and clothing of the first Americans. It made me so sad to see how their lands were taken away from them and how time and time again the government lied to them. They have been moved out of their lands, people tried to assimilate them into society by stealing their children and sending them to schools to erase their culture. Yet they are still here. This place FAM(First Americans Museum) honors 39 tribes who still live in Oklahoma. Of course, BBQ was on the menu for our last night in Oklahoma, so I had a giant BBQ turkey leg.

  Now off to Texas where I imagine there will be more BBQ!