Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Another Kansas Road Trip

My flight from Seattle to Denver went fine, and the training was informative as usual. It was mostly a review, but it’s definitely to review things like saving peoples’ lives before having to do it for keeps!

Driving back from Colorado, a couple of stops were made along the way. The first was a major mountaineering feat: gaining the summit of Mt. Sunflower. This fearsome peak (i.e. grassy hill) is the highest point in Kansas, and was a very pleasant break from the usual I-70 homogeny. Located in a ranch’s pasture several miles from the Kansas-Colorado border, a nice little marker and fenced-in picnic area reside at the 4,039-foot summit of the 34th state to join the Union.

Carrying on from the top of Kansas, the night was spent in Oakley. The next morning the Fick Fossil Museum was visited, which was a nice surprise. The collection of minerals, frontier relics, and marine fossils was really interesting. Some of the larger marine fossils were top-notch reminders of the old days when Kansas was drowned beneath a great inland sea. Numerous pieces of artwork that incorporates fossil vertebrae, shark teeth, etc. were exhibited that had been done by Mrs. Fick throughout her very artistically productive life.

On the edge of Oakley, there was a giant statue in honor of Buffalo Bill, who never lived there, but took part in a buffalo hunt that earned him his nickname.

The final stop was the lovely Coronado Heights outside Lindsborg, with its neat structures (including a castle) from a Works Progress Administration project in the 1930s. The viewpoint is postulated to be where Francisco Vasquez de Coronado called off his search for the Seven Cities of Gold, but even if that is totally bogus, it is still a great place to make a stop. It had been forever since I had been here, and was great to see it was still in good shape.

So, within the month I will be starting another, much longer trip, in both distance and time. It will be interesting to see how Christchurch has changed in the aftermath of their seismic calamities. I see that one of my favorite places to stay, Charlie B’s Backpackers, did not survive the quakes. In the meantime, I will be updating my USA Jobs resume in anticipation of submitting my second application for NASA astronaut, since another astronaut selection cycle will be beginning soon.
"Geologists have a saying - rocks remember."
~Neil Armstrong

1 comment:

Becky said...

Sad to see the current state of Charlie B's. Have fun in Christchurch, and say hi to the penguins for me!