Virtual Travel – Kansas

Toto we are back in Kansas!

1953 – Much like Iowa, Kansas is state that is virtually all farmland, although more grasslands than crops. The views on our opening map is of the capitol in Topeka, and a typical countryside road.

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Topeka was a city of about 80,000 in 1953. Since then it has grown to a population of about 125,000. By far the largest employer in town is the state government. (photo from Cathy Luz Real Estate website)

 

 

 

1963 – Rest area on Interstate 70.

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As the map shows, as well as the photo below, there are some rolling hills in Kansas. Kansas is a leading state for wind generated power.

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1973 – Century II Performing Arts & Convention Center in Wichita. This facility is the largest of it’s kind in the state. It has hosted, among other things, the Miss USA Pagent.

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Wichita is the largest city in Kansas, with a metro population of 645,000. It was founded as a trading post on the Chisholm Trail. (Photo from VisitWichita website)

What's special about Wichita? Read the latest accolades

 

Today it is known as the Air Capital of the World with numerous small aircraft manufacturers including Beechcraft, Cessna and Stearman. The Kansas Aviation Museum celebrates this history.

The museum is located in the former Wichita Municipal Airport terminal. (Photo from Museum website)

 

 

 

 

1973 – Kansas State Parks. Most Kansas State Parks are fairly small, the largest being Fall River State Park.

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The most unique park in the state is Mushroom Rock. These rocks are a remains of sediment from the Cretaceous Period.  (Photo from Wikipedia)

 

 

 

1989 – Rural scene. Over half the people in the state live in what is classified as ‘Rural’, one of the higher percentages in the country. Trivia moment – the highest percent rural population is Wyoming.

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1993 & 2015 – Bison. Before Europeans showed up there were an estimated 20 million American Bison roaming the Kansas territory. Their demise was swift, as example the first three months of 1872 there were more than 43,000 bison hides shipped east from Dodge City alone.

Government State Kansas 1993.jpg

Government State Kansas 2015

 

 

Today there are a few refuges for the bison to continue to live. The largest is Maxwell Wildlife Refuge near the town of Canton, Kansas. (photo from Travelks.com)

Bison Herd

 

 

 

2001 – Flint Hills. This region covers much of eastern Kansas, stretching into northern Oklahoma.

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The area is very picturesque, and a nice break from the endless prairies beyond.

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2003 – Collage including the Kansas Speedway. When the International Speedway Corporation was investigating building a speedway in the Kansas City area, they chose the Kansas side because of better funding (i.e. the State gave them more money than Missouri would).

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2005 & 2009 – More prairie scenes.

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2011 – 150 years of statehood celebrated by travel.

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The two most famous Kansans are Dwight Eisenhower and Amelia Earhart.

Eisenhower was actually born in Texas but raised in Abilene, Kansas, where his Presidential Library is located (photo from travelks.com)

 

Earhart was born and raised in Atchinson, Kansas. Her childhood home is now a museum. (photo from kansastravel.org)

Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum

 

 

 

2013 – Celebration of Kansas Byways.

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One of the more interesting byways is the Gypsum Hill Scenic Byway. It travels through rolling prairie as well as a section of red buttes. (photo kansastravel.org)

Red Cedars lining the Kansas Red Hills

 

 

 

2017 – The Sunflower State.

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We end this tour with Kansas State Symbols.

State Seal

Kansas State Seal

 

 

Flag

Kansas State Flag

 

Bird – Western Meadowlark

Western Meadowlark

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Barre, Vermont – August 2019 – Rockin’ Out in Vermont

While New Hampshire may be known as the Granite State, Vermont has their fair share. Their statehouse is a great example of Vermont granite.



Just outside the nearby town of Barre is the Rock of Ages Granite Company.



It is like many of the old company towns I grew up seeing in Pennsylvania and Ohio, only instead of coal it is granite – everywhere.



When you arrive at the top of the mountain and look down you see this massive pit. It is 600′ deep, but 300′ of it is under water.



Everything is super sized here, as they cut away giant chunks of granite for processing.



This quarry has been used for over 100 years. Their tools today are much better than the early days, which have been left behind. In the early days they climbed down these sketchy looking ladders to use drilling and dynamite to break the granite apart.



The years of removal have left interesting patterns on the quarry walls.



The tall yellow tower was used to bring the multi ton pieces up to the surface.



It was dangerous work.



As we made our way back down the mountain we passed their stockyard. Nothing was behind fences as the threat of something carrying away a rock weighing thousands of pounds without getting noticed is fairly low.



It wouldn’t even fit in their pickup truck.



We arrived while the factory was on lunch, so we spent some time bowling on the granite bowling lane, with granite pins. They claim that they used to use real bowling balls, but the pins would break the balls, so now they use foam.



The factory is quiet…. for the moment.



The crew has returned. With the weight everything is moved with cranes.



The granite business has gone down tremendously over the years. In the early years much was used in the construction industry (all those cool Art Deco buildings), but now it is relegated to mostly head stones. Even those aren’t used as much as in the past.



This day all the work we saw was on the aforementioned headstones.







Artisans still do the detail work.


And someone named David is about to get his headstone.





Washington DC – June 2018 – Views of the City

A day and a half in DC gave the opportunity to visit numerous museums (later posts) as well as check out the town. This post are randoms views of the city.

Starting with an unusual view of the Washington Monument down the tracks.

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Stores near Eastern Market

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The Eastern Market interior. I was surprised how small it was.

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A lone runner going past the capital. The reason there are no people around is the visitor center is underneath, and the police keep everyone off the steps.

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The aforementioned police.

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For those who read this blog that are not from America – nearly every 8th grader (13-14 year olds) make a field trip to Washington DC. They always have matching shirts so their chaperones can keep track of them.

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Apparently DC ducks don’t fly, so they have a ramp to get into the reflecting pool.

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The view down the Mall

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A well protected fountain

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The famed Watergate Hotel/Apartment Complex.

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And finally a ride on the Metro.

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Harrisburg, PA – May 2018 – Pennsylvania State Capital

In our travels we have seen half of the state capitals in America without really trying. Amazingly we had not seen the Pennsylvania state capital, despite having lived in that state for many years. Since we were in the area we stopped by.

We were immediately blown away by how ornate the interior is.

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The walls and ceilings have decoration throughout, with stained glass and other impressive features.

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The rotunda has medallions and lunettes.

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The chambers are equally ornate.

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The rotunda has an amazing ceiling. Who knew Pennsylvania had such an amazing capital.

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