Kansas Travel Blog

Chronicling changes to KansasTravel.org and Keith's exploration & photographing Kansas restaurants, attractions, museums, festivals and art. Contact him.
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Valeda: The Transparent Talking Woman
Friday - May 3, 2013: We drove to Altoona, Kansas in the early, where I photographed the waterfall going over an old mill dam over the Verdigris River. Very little of the flour mill, which was built in the early 1870s, remains. We returned to the van to discover a flat tire and found that the spare tire had problems as well. A call to a relative in Fredonia saved the day, with Linda's Uncle picking us up and loaning us a vehicle to get the tires repaired the next morning.

As we waited for our Uncle, we had supper at the Prairie Nut Hut in Altoona. Three large parties had gone into the small (40 seat) restaurant just ahead of us and supper was slow, but as good as always. I had the Rohr burger (with grilled onions, mushrooms and Swiss cheese), which was as good as always. Linda had the pork tenderloin, which looked good, but was less impressive.

We found little changed at the Prairie Nut Hut since our last visit, but did find that the photos of their customers from around the world have expanded from a couple of panels to lining the walls of the restaurant.

 

Altoona Mill Dam Altoona Mill Dam
 

Prairie Nut Hut photographs Photos on the walls of the Prairie Nut Hut

Saturday - May 04, 2013: Having the tires repaired cut into our explorations, but eventually we made our way to Longton, Kansas to photograph the Longton Dam Falls located on the south side of town on the Elk River. It was lightly raining and the two rut road leading down to the river was extremely muddy! Between the wet and the steep river bank, we couldn't get very close to the falls and I just took a few photos from above. 

We had lunch at the one year old The Elk River Drive-In on US Highway 160 in Longton. There is no indoor seating, but one of the booths is under the overhang at the front of the drive in, so we sat out in the cold to dine al fresco. The burgers were very good! The onion rings were nothing special, but the potato wedges were also good.

The chef told us how to find a waterfall that is just northwest of town. We followed his directions with just a couple of miss turns and found a lovely natural falls located on Hitchen Creek just north of Flint Road (County 366 Road).

Both of these waterfalls and the one from Altoona have now been added to the Kansas Waterfalls page, bringing the total number of falls listed to 39.

We drove on east stopping to take photos at a couple of interesting small towns. We intended to visit one more waterfall in Independence, Kansas, but as we drove near, the rain really started falling and we decided to save it for another day.

Our final stop of the day was in Pittsburg, Kansas. where we first tried to have Jim's Steak House. But we were on a bit of a tight schedule and even rarity early in the evening, there was a long wait for a table. Instead, we had supper at Yummy Chinese Buffet & Sushi. It wasn't spectacular, but I went in with low expectations and was pleased with the large selection and the quality of the food. I wouldn't go out of my way to go there, but I would be willing to eat there again.

 

Longton Dam Falls - Longton, Kansas Longton Dam Falls

Elk River Drive-In - Longton, Kansas Elk River Drive-In

Flint Road Falls - Longton, Kansas Flint Road Falls
 

Yummy Chinese Buffet - Pittsburg, Kansas Yummy Chinese Buffet & Sushi

Friday - May 10, 2013: I revisited two of my favorite Wichita restaurants. Lunch was at the 61 year old Bomber Burger, a small bar (seating for about 15) serving 2/3 pound hamburgers and hand cut French fries. I really like this little place, but it is only open for lunch and it had been a couple of years since my last meal. The food is cooked on a grill behind the bar by the owner and served with a real attitude.

Supper was at a much larger place, Stroud's Restaurant & Bar. It is in a 1930s barn that was once part of a working ranch. It has the same feel as its distant cousins with the same name in Kansas City. The menu, logo and food is quite similar to the Stroud's in Fairway, Kansas. They have a common origin, but are owned by different parties. Although I enjoy the Kansas City restaurant more, this one is also good and has what I think are much better cinnamon rolls.

 

Bomber Burger - Wichita, Kansas Bomber Burger

Stroud's Wichita Stroud's Wichita

Saturday - May 11, 2013: The first stop of the day was in Halstead, where Brenda Sooter, Executive Director of the Kansas Learning Center for Health, met me to give me to tour and allow me to photograph the Center on a day it is closed. It has been a resource for health education since 1965. In addition to presentations, there is a hands on museum which is scheduled to get much larger in the coming year.

The Center is most famous for Valeda: The Transparent Talking Woman. She was manufactured in Germany in the 1960s. Although about 20 of these transparent anatomical mannequin came to the United States, only three are still in operation.

After visiting the learning center, I photographed the historic downtown and stumbled across Riverside Park, just north of town. There are an overflow dam and a swinging bridge over the Little Arkansas River. The park and river were the primary location for the 1955 movie, Picnic.

Returning to Wichita, I had lunch at B & C Barbeque. B & C has a very good barbeque buffet in an old garage - some of the best barbeque in Kansas or Missouri. Only open for lunch Monday through Saturday. The charge is $11.50 including beverage and tax.

This evening I added a page devoted to Riverside Park.

 

Valeda: The Transparent Talking Woman Valeda

Riverside Park - Halstead, Kansas Riverside Park

B & C Barbeque - Wichita, Kansas B & C Barbeque

 
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