Saturday, April 29, 2017

Wichita, Kansas

April 25 - 26, 2017:

Again I am faced with several travel route options, the fast way through Wichita, Kansas or a slower route taking back roads in Kansas.  I almost always favor the back roads.  We start on route 35 north, then exit onto route 177 which takes us across the border into Kansas.  It is a windy day, but it’s a tail wind, I like that.  In Kansas, the wheat fields start immediately, but with many islands of oil pump jacks.  We take a short break in South Haven, Kansas, then continue to Wellington where we turn onto route 160.  After about 10 miles we turn onto route 49 north to 39th street where the Lake Afton County Park is located in Goddard, Kansas.

South Haven's big water tank

Yearout Tanning where "We will tan your hide"

They call these grain elevators "Cathedrals of the Prairie "
and I I felt his one really did look the part

Lake Afton is a fairly large fishing and boating lake, but nothing very exciting or well maintained.  The park is a bit weird, at the park office they gave us a windshield sticker for the RV, no campground map and no information about the Park.  I suppose we should have asked more questions ?  The windshield sticker had # 27 on it so we figured we needed to find campsite # 27, but when we got there it was a terrible site.  We then realized the # 27 was our departure date, that we could pick any open campsite, but we didn’t see any with water hookups.  We then start riding around the lake to the several small campgrounds looking for a better area with a water hookup.  We were not impressed, we saw mostly beat up old campers parked and rough washed out roads.  We eventually find a decent campsite but no water hookup, the only ones are in a group area.  No problem, we have some water in our tank, water is available and our water pump is fine.  At $10 a night with a shower room and storm shelter nearby (that’s comforting).

A dark and dreary lake view

And a bright sunny view

There is a police training facility adjacent to the campground and we kept seeing police cars with flashing lights pulling over cars inside the park area.  I was beginning to wonder what was going on here, high crime area?, but then we realized it must be part of the Police training program. 

Goddard, Kansas is not very interesting, in fact it’s boring, although it’s tidy and clean with the usual shopping strip businesses outside of town. Goddard is almost a suburb of Wichita, Kansas as it is only about 5 miles to the city limits.  

The forecast is dismal with a rainy cold front coming in and to think I was complaining about the heat and dust a few weeks ago.  It was a windy cold night with morning temperatures in the low 40’s.  We head for downtown Wichita to the Old Town area.  This was originally a vibrant warehouse and industrial area, which gradually died out, the buildings becoming abandoned.  A city project was started to convert these into office space, apartments, restaurants, bars as an entertainment / arts district of the city.  The whole area is now reborn and appears to be very successful. Nearby is the huge impressive Santa Fe Union Station which is now undergoing a full restoration.,_Kansas

Interesting Motel sign

The Orpheum Theater 

Old Town street banners

Interesting historical panels on many of
the companies that were in the Warehouse district

Everything is brick

Union Station is very impressive

Old Steam Engine on display at Rail Museum

We stopped for lunch at the very popular River City Brewing which was excellent on all fronts, my wood fired Pizza and Twinkles Baked Macaroni were both winners.

River City Brewing entrance

We also visited the “Keeper of the Plains” Sculpture and Bridges at the confluence of the Arkansas River and the Little Arkansas River. This was a sacred place for the Indians.  It all sounded a little hokey to me, but when there it was very impressive.  At night it is illuminated at times by fire drums at the base.  

Totem Pole at the All American Indian Center adjacent
to the "Keeper of the Plains"

There are two identical bridge spans across the two
rivers here

Several informative Indian exhibits on the Bridge Plaza

Looking downstream towards center city

One Bridge from a side angle

The 44 ft tall "Keeper of the Plains" sculpture

Geese in the water under bridge

Our last stop was the Delano Historic area which originally was a rough and tough cow town at the end of the Chisholm "cattle drive" trail.  It has now become a trendy dining and entertainment area with the historic "Window in Time" Clock Tower.

Tattoo parlor mural

This was once the Chisholm "Cattle drive" Trail

Now home of the Bikeman

The place to go for Billiards

The place to go If your feet hurt

Roundabout around the Clock Tower

Historic sculptures are on all four sides
of the Tower Monument

Next stop is Manhattan (The little Apple), Kansas;
Twinkles and Slick

1 comment:

  1. A must see near Wichita is the Cosmosphere in Hutchinson. They restore and display lots of space equipment, like the Apollo 13 and Liberty Bell capsules, one of the white rooms from Pad 39, SR-71 hung from the ceiling, and several Soyuz capsules. There were just selected to restore the mission control consoles to moon landing era condition. It can take a day to see it all.