Day 6 - September 28, 1998

Kansas. And More Kansas.

Kansas - you can really feel the Wild West here:  big ranches, cows, cowboys, cows, cowboy songs, more cows, you get the picture. 

The day dawned cloudless and remained that way throughout - we've become believers in the Home On The Range lyrics.   By mid-afternoon, the temperature was way up into the 80's, and it was just plain pleasant to be cruising along.  The GTV continues to run flawlessly and is getting well over 25 MPG, despite being pushed over mountains and flung across deserts.

The western part of Kansas is totally flat, filled with factory farms (those huge green circles you see from the airplane when you fly over) and cattle yards (see below), punctuated by myriad railroad-track-side grain elevators.  Those of us that live on the coasts should all feel very fortunate that we have this tremendously vast resource - the Midwest - that supplies us with all the food and fuel that we voraciously devour.

You may notice that several of the photos in today's chronicle are long and thin, very horizontal.  That's because Kansas is long and thin, very horizontal.  We actually stitched together (kind of grossly) several shots for you in order to get the point across.

This is where we went today
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Motel 7 (plus-or-minus), Garden City, KS
Here's John doing the Alfa morning ritual - check the oil, wash the windshield, take the dashboard apart to lube the speedometer.  You may recall that Dave's GTV had the same problem in our previous trip.  Anyway, it was back together in no time and . . . off we went.

Western Kansas
Hours and hours of western Kansas look like this - flat!  It does have its own beauty, though, and is strikingly different from the northeast.

Feedyard, mid-Kansas
Click here or on the photo to check out this panoramic shot of a huge cattle feedyard.  There was even a roadside sign saying "Scenic Overlook" - and this was it.  And, you could smell it coming for miles!  This was just one of many feedyards we passed during the day.  Dave now regrets last night's steak.

Pratt, KS
Honestly!  We found Pratt on the map and it wasn't too far out of our way so, naturally, we had to go.  It was great - they made us feel like we owned the city!    They even let us buy postcards for just 25 cents apiece.

Eastern Kansas
We took this shot as a comparison with the Western Kansas shot above.  A bit different than the west, the east starts getting gentle rolling hills and a greener hue - a little bit like New England.  Speaking of which, sometime today, we figure, we passed the half-way point of our journey (unless we find a Pratt, Florida)!

Beer(s) of the Day

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Iron Horse Restaurant and Brew Pub
Joplin, MO

As luck would have it, we found a Motel X to stay at just outside Joplin, MO, and right across the street was the Iron Horse Restaurant and Brew Pub.  They had very decent food and a couple of extremely excellent beers (Yellow Dog Mild and 1873 American Wheat), a few pedestrian brews, and a couple of, well, compost.  We give them much credit for going out on a limb with such interesting and exotic creations as their Old Paisley Belgium Wheat.

Culture Feature

Today, we discovered an outdoor sculpture park to end all outdoor sculpture parks.  Smack in the middle of Kansas farm country, it was the last place we expected to find such exquisite objects of art!  An extra added bonus is the piercing political wit that the artist possesses.  First, here's a close-up view that lets you appreciate some of the finer details:

Then, click here for a panoramic picture to give you a feel for the magnitude of this extravaganza. 

Alfa Spotting!

We've been keeping track of all the Alfas that we've encountered on the trip (starting from when we left Alfa Parts Exchange back in Hayward, CA), and will be posting the current total, with model names and years, every day!  Here's the current tally:

Day 1


Day 2


Day 3


Day 4


Day 5


Day 6


(No Alfas, but did see three armadillo roadkills)










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