The Bill and Kit Excellent Adventure Journal-Issue #39
Tuesday, May 5, 2009:
Left Oil Patch Russell’s Oil Drilling Museum and RV Park after an uneventful night…..this is Kansas after all.
To escape I-70 we headed north on US-281 which turned out to be a much more scenic drive with gently rolling farmland interspersed with small towns.
Came upon a sign that proclaimed the area as the “Geodetic Center of the Continental United States”. A survey marker was placed near this spot in the early 1900’s by the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey. This survey marker defines the point of reference for all of North America’s property lines. Well…..you know, I got to thinking (which is a rare occurrence). Since I had to get a site setback variance for my garage back home due to its proximity to the lot line, I thought if I could find that marker, dig it up and move it about 3 feet to the east….I would then be in compliance! No luck however, the marker is on private property in the middle of Mr. Meade’s hog farm. Drat!
Disappointed, we turned east on US-24 and continued on into Cawker, Kansas, a sleepy little farm town, where wonders of wonders…..there stood the actual worlds largest ball of twine! And yet another of the historic points of interest on my Life (Bucket) List. Other travelers may not have known of this cultural artifact as we had no trouble parking right in front of this major attraction.
There wasn’t any admission to see this historic site, or guards or anything! We could walk right up and touch this shrine to thrifty saving. As Kit walked across the street to the Largest Ball of Twine Museum and Gift Shop I sat there in awe wondering about what might have been the very beginning of this awesome feat so many years ago. Remember those little voices I hear sometime? Well they were suggesting that if I tie the bitter end (that’s sailor lingo for the “end” of a line) to one of the posts that support the shrines roof, and if I could getthat ball of twine to rolling down the gentle slope of Cawker’s main street than I might be able to unravel (pun intended) the mystery of the origin of the Worlds Largest Ball of Twine. Just than Kit returned with about 8 feet of twine the gift shop lady gave her to add to the ball’s girth. I decided that Kit might not see the wisdom in my plan so it was abandoned. Some mysteries are best left mysterious, I suppose. We did stop at a nice little town park on the eastern edge of Cawker for a lunch. Walking around the grounds I discovered two RV sites provided by the town for overnight stays and both had full hook-up’s! According to the sign they were free and the only stipulation is that there is a maximum 24 hour stay. What a friendly town!
Driving through Manhattan Kansas we stopped at the True Value Hardware store to pick up a honkin big wrench in case our hitch ball had any plans to loosen again. Also “had” to pick up some other stuff. It is truly un-American to go into a hardware store and not come out with something in addition to what you went in for. On the road again we noticed those yellow diamond caution signs with the silhouette of a bounding deer on them. Well someone with a great sense of humor placed a little round red sticker on the nose of the deer silhouette on a couple of those signs along US-24. Couldn’t find a safe place to stop and take a picture so you’ll just have to take my word for it.
Heading into Independence Missouri we stopped at a very nice LDS campground next to the LDS church. It was clean, neat, well equipped and inexpensive.
The only downfall was that you had to put up with all those LDS folks riding their bikes around the park in their dark suits and coming to your trailer door to give you LDS literature. Kit did meet a very nice couple while out on a walk around the park by the name of Guy and Pamela Selbert. The woman was a writer for Trailer Life and Motorhome magazine and her husband was the photographer. When Kit returned and told me of this encounter I found our current copy of Trailer Life and sure enough there was their byline on a story. Thinking it would be neat to have them autograph the magazine I walked down to their campsite but they had already pulled out. Drat!
Wednesday, May 6, 2009:
The main reason for being in Independence Missouri was to visit with the folks of our son-in-law, Kevin. We called to see if they would be available to meet at the local Cracker Barrel for a late breakfast. To our delight they were and we had a great time visiting, catching up on what is new and hearing some interesting stories about Kevin’s childhood growing up in Missouri.
Being fellow RV’s they had an interest in our trip as well as our rig. I think we may have enticed them to come up to Maine this summer for a visit. Hope so, anyway.
If you live north of the Mason-Dixon Line or west of the Mississippi you may not have heard of the Cracker Barrel restaurant chain. It is basically a huge gift shop with a restaurant attached. The parking lot is RV friendly and the down home country style food is excellent. If you see one in your travels….stop, you will not be disappointed.
Following a very nice three and a half hour visit we headed out going north on US-24 and then on US-291 in order to avoid Kansas City. We eventually hopped on I-35 since the day was getting long and we wanted to get into Iowa before nightfall.
Stopping at the Iowa visitor’s center I asked this distinguished Amish gentleman for information on state park campgrounds.
He was pretty much clueless so we picked up some brochures and continued on. We did notice that Ahquabi State Park was a few miles to the east so we headed there. Keeping with our weather luck this past week…..this is the sight we witnessed.
However as the weather passed us by, the sun came out and this great sight appeared. You can’t tell from the photo but that rainbow was in a complete arc, from horizon to horizon. Hard to believe the overall time span between those two pictures was less than ten minutes.
Pulled into the state park and had our pick of sites.
What a nice park. There were no hook-up’s but the price was good. And there are a few bike trails indicated on the map, one of which circles the lake. Early tomorrow morning my goal is to check those trails out.
The campground was right on the lake and there were a boat launch, fishing pier, swimming beach and lots of room to roam around. This would be a perfect spot for a family reunion! Here are some random shots down by the water.
Thursday, May 7, 2009:
Up early and on the trail. What a great ride, lots of wildlife, deer, beaver, and tons of birds. The trail was in great shape even with all the rain yesterday. This is a multi use trail but I didn’t notice and foot prints or other bike tracks the whole way. The seven mile trail pretty much followed the shore line however there was a bit of elevation gain and loss as the trail veered inland a few hundred yards. The trail builders even built bog bridges to span the marshy areas.
All in all a great ride on a nice morning in a beautiful spot…..life is good!
Love, Dad/Mom, Poppy/Guma, Bill/Kit