Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Toto, I don't think we're in the Emerald City anymore!

What a day! We really thought we had things under control … and in a way, I guess, we really did, such that we were able to handle the unexpected curveballs with considerable aplomb.

We left Oakley around 10:00 a.m. and headed due east. No GPS was necessary for hours; we knew we just needed to head east on I-70 across the state of Kansas. The words Christy has used to describe Kansas are most of what can be said: “flat” and “hot.” We had experienced 103 degrees in Oakley, and today it was warmer – one thermometer in Salina read 109! That’s where we stopped for lunch.

And actually, to “flat” and “hot,” we must add “windy.” That made for some tricky driving—I wonder if the locals get used to their cars weaving all over the road. We sure didn’t.
The real feature of the day came later: we visited the Oz Museum in Wamego. We managed to keep this surprise from Sarah until we pulled up. Although she was excited, we were interested to see that the swimming pool and science museum had been bigger attractions for her. Still, we’re glad we stopped by.

Then came the first curveball: a stretch of I-70 eastbound was closed, and we were re-routed, along with many other unsuspecting drivers, all the way back to Wamego. Here’s the story from the local news about what happened. Bizarre!

But at this point, our little GPS (named “Via”) really proved her worth. She was able to direct us on some side streets that most of the traffic did not take. We also want to thank KPR-FM, the local NPR affiliate, for letting us know when the freeway was open again.

But one more curveball awaited us. On the way into Topeka, a man speeding along beside us urged us to roll down our window. I said, “No, Christy—ignore him—it’s too windy and dangerous to bother.” Nothing felt wrong with the car, but when we arrived at the Super 8, we had a slow-leaking flat tire. We called Better World Club to put on the spare, and in the morning, I intend to drive to the nearest tire place (only a few blocks away) and be waiting for them when they open. Then, on to St. Louis!

Buffy fans, take note: This place is the "Triple Meat Palace."
Oh, one more thing: dinner was certainly worth remembering. Within walking distance of our hotel is Pat’s Pig BBQ, a quaint little joint with an item called the Sparky Burger, which Josh dared to order. The Sparky Burger contains a beef patty, a slice of ham, and several chunks of sausage, all smothered in melted cheese. This sandwich defeated Josh completely; he was only able to eat about half of it.

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