Dateline: 8/2/10. Since the first time I mentioned going across the country everyone warned me about Kansas.
“It’s so flat you’ll fall asleep.”
“Nothing but feed lots and corn fields.”
That was not my experience AT ALL.
The Gallery of Presidential Also-Rans
Any motorcyclist will tell you to GET OFF the interstates to find the soul of a place and I did that whenever possible. Using my trusty guide to roadside attractions, Roadside America, I found plenty to do along Highway 36 after leaving Colorado, beginning with They Also Ran. With each presidential election, someone goes to Washington and someone else goes to Norton to be immortalized as a footnote in history —an also-ran.
Stay tuned in 2012 because the gallery has big decisions to make: it’s out of space, so where will the next also ran be installed? Here’s a guide through the gallery with Curator Lee Ann Shearer.
Lee Ann kindly told me about several other places of interest near Norton, KS then guided me through the First State Bank president’s collection of Remington bronzes. This woman’s a wonderful ambassador for the area — indeed, for the entire state!
Kansas history and rodeos
After leaving Norton, I passed through Lebanon, the geographic center of the 48 contiguous states and did a quick self portrait by the road sign. I also learned more about the Pony Express, since Route 36 was once part of its route as well as serving the Oregon Trail and California Trail.
My pink bra caught the attention of a writer I met in a diner in Phillipsburg, home of Kansas’ Biggest Rodeo. Tears welled up when she told me about two friends who’d died of breast cancer in the last year and another friend with a recent diagnosis. She vowed to get involved with The Cause as have many others who met Conga riders this summer.
As a result, I expect to see LOTS more conga lines in 2011—perhaps one with a recent cyclist from Phillipsburg!