Cross Country Road Trip Part Four: Kansas


Lights and Stars at the Tallgrass National Preserve in Kansas

Finally saying goodbye to Colorado after two days (our longest time spent in any single state over the course of the road trip), we began our full day trip across Kansas. Our plan was drive as far as we could, spending the night somewhere close to the border since we had a tour of a wine and bourbon barrel factory scheduled in Missouri the next day.


I’ll admit to seeing most of Kansas from the car. Everything you’ve heard about how flat it is, isn’t at all hyperbole. It’s flat. Forever. When I ask my friend who was born and raised there where we should stop in Kansas he responded, “Girl, keep driving.” This isn’t entirely fair. There is something beautiful and calm about the miles of open fields. We had our fingers crossed for a tornado and some amazing (but safe distance) photos of one, but sadly there was nothing to whisk us off to the land of Oz and our closest sign of one was a strong breeze. August is sadly not the right time of year for such things.


Alex and I made a plan to get to the Tallgrass National Preserve just before sunset to see grass as tall as our waists and bison as well. However, as you might expect, our drive and various stops took longer than we expected, and we arrived there just after nightfall. Our trend of visiting National Parks after dark continued. I wonder if there’s a market for a National Park After Dark coffee table book? Not willing to be thwarted, we trekked out into the fields, where the grass was sadly not as tall as we’d hoped, and took some photos. Luckily, we didn’t run into any rogue bison along the way, a distinct and decidedly dangerous possibility.


At this point it was close to 9pm and we were exhausted. We figured we could press on to a Knight’s Inn about an hour and a half from where we were. If you’ve never stayed in a Knight’s Inn, it’s a real experience. Most are decorated like a medieval castle, albeit with slightly more pink…


There are some beautiful towns in Kansas and this one was no exception. When we arrived in Ottawa we discovered that it was home to the oldest still running movie theatre in the world. The Palace theatre has been dedicated to showing movies since it opened in 1907, just twelve years after the Lumiere Brothers made their first films. We captured some shots of the famed Palace, of course, and you can check them out below.


The next morning we got up and hit the only coffee shop in town (which turned out to be fantastic) and then jumped on the road to Lebanon, MO where we’d get to see barrels being made. Why, you ask? Why not, I say!


Missouri in all of its glory (and it IS glorious) is next week!


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All images © Katherine Barcsay

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