Friday, December 3, 2010

The Loneliest Road in America: From Kansas to Denver

Hi Friends, 

Sorry for the lapse in posting. In case you missed Glee last week, here's what happened:

I'm spending a lot of time on highways - going seventy miles an hour (or more) past hundreds of gas stations and McDonald's, and while this may fly in the East (Beverly to Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania to Virginia, Virginia to North Carolina and then on to Tennessee and Kansas) there is certainly no excuse for it out West - the scenery is beautiful and completely different than anything I've ever seen and so I bypass the highways and get on to smaller, more scenic routes. While this adds time it also makes the drive a lot more interesting and gives a better sense of the state I'm driving through. When I left Kansas I could have taken Interstate 70 pretty much the entire way to Denver, instead I made a stop in Dodge City, KS and took Route 50 out to Denver - Route 50 is also known as The Lonliest Road in America, and I can see why. 

This is the type of road you don't want to have less than half a tank of gas on, because you never know when the next station will show up. It's a straight, two lane road that runs along miles, and miles, and miles, and miles of wheat fields (prairie). This is really want I wanted to see on this trip - the "heartbeat" of this country.  I saw where a huge amount of the nation's food is produced (including three sad, disgusting cattle ranches) and saw more oil pumps than I could count. On a positive note I also passed a number of wind farms.  The route follows the Santa Fe Trail so I had a good amount of decent historical markers to pull off to.  I even got to see and walk in original ruts from the covered wagons that followed the trail.  Isn't it crazy to think that pioneers literally carved themselves into the history of this country? These ruts are one hundred and seventy five years old and I could see them plain (HAH!) as day (you unfortunately cannot, because I didn't take a photo - bad Bea.) What's that you say? The internet shall provide? Yes, you're right

A stop in Dodge City was mandatory even though it doesn't really provide all that much to see. Now I can say that I got the hell out of Dodge and MEAN IT! If you have a moment, read about the history of Dodge City and what role it played in the formation of our country.  Unfortunately chain hotels and restaurants catering to tourists have somewhat watered down the impact of this historical town. 

This stretch of driving brought me over two important imaginary lines. First I officially crossed into the West when driving through the town of Kinsley, Kansas. I also stood on the 100th Meridian while in Dodge City, KS. Like I said very important. 

::chirp chirp::

After all of this I hopped back on the interstate and two hours later I arrived in Denver to two very lovely ladies...more on that soon.  The ride took a total of nine hours...the longest stretch of the trip - I'm glad I took the scenic route and saw a different type of American history than I am used to exploring in New England.  

Oh and hey, though I know you've been following my blog religiously, if you want an overview of where I've been click on the map in the upper right hand corner.

You're the best, the absolute best.


Orchid Grey said...

hi Bea! I hope you're using your Bobble!

Orchid Grey said...

ps- first comment!

"1776 and More" said...

What a great entry...references to American History!!! I want to go on this trip...

Michael said...

Why does that picture show only a single rut? Were they pioneering on unicycles?