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- May 4, 2018: We started out on our way to the Kansas Sampler Foundation's
"Big Kansas Road Trip" (BKRT) in Barber, Comanche and Kiowa Counties. Stopping
at Bomber Burger in Wichita for an early lunch. They were sold out of meat
when I tried to visit them last year, so it had been at least 2 years since
we had been there.
had a 3/4 pound cheeseburger and I had the Roethlisberger - double 3/4
pound cheeseburger with grilled onions, jalapenos, mayo, mustard and pickle.
I actually managed to finish it, though Linda and I shared an order of
the fresh cut fries and didn't quite finish them. I like the burgers here,
but would like them even more if they were not cooked well done.
owner of Bomber Burger has cultivated a reputation of being difficult,
but he treated us both with respect.
to the southwest, as we passed through Kingman County, we started noticing
fields of beautiful yellow flowers and stopped to photograph them a couple
of times. We asked about them when we visited the Kiowa County Historical
Museum in Kiowa, and learned that they were canola fields.
museum occupies an old fire station and the building is probably the neatest
thing about the museum. Most of the displays will primarily interest people
with ties to the community. The biggest exception may be the small display
of Carry Nation materials, including one of her hatchets.
next photographed the nearby rock fountain and plaque to Carry Nation and
large piece of petrified wood on Main Street.
were extremely impressed by Bob's Printing and Old Time Clock Shop. Bob
Cox demonstrated the 1917 Linotype machine which he still uses to prepare
lead plates for printing today and presented me with one with my name on
it. The small print shop is also filled with Bob's collection of old clocks.
Bob will repair clocks for you, but these are not for sale.
leaving town, we stopped to photograph the Land Rush Statue and chat with
local volunteers who had set up an info station for the Big Kansas Road
next stop was at the Gypsum Hills Nature Museum in Hardtner, also known
as Bill & Janet's Nature Museum. Bill and Janet Smith have filled a
couple of classrooms in a former school with their private collections
of insects, taxidermy birds and a model railroad. Another classroom is
used for etymology training. Others have memorabilia from the school and
a gift shop. The gymnasium is still set up for use.
miles west of town, we toured a historic round barn. It is no longer in
use and is normally closed, but the owner, Lee Sternberger, and his dog
were welcoming people today.
on the road, we drove north to Medicine Lodge. We would have liked to photograph
the Barber County Heritage Center Gallery, but it closed for the day at
3PM. We did visit the Sagebrush Gallery of Western Art and had a nice conversation
with artist Earl Kuhn.
drove to Lumber Yard Steakhouse in Zenda, which has been on our list to
investigate for a couple of year. The server and staff were very friendly.
Linda had the steak filet and shrimp special. After confirming that the
mountain oysters on the menu were not scratch made, I settled on Doc's
Rib Eye Steak. The 16 ounce steak was well seasoned and char-broiled, a
very good steak. The French fries were so-so.
our way to the Comfort Suites in Pratt, we made a couple more stops. The
first was the Thornton Adobe Barn, an adobe barn in the Isabel Wetlands.
second stop was unplanned and one of the coolest stops of the day, Family
Food Store in Sawyer. We thought it was a market, but it turned out to
be a combination bakery, deli, specialty food store which is open just
the days a week. It is operated by the Wolf family, who are members of
the Old German Baptist Brethren, who dedicate themselves to a simple life
and God. We got some ice cream, baked goods and canned goods. I want to
return when I am not already full, to try their signature sandwich: a warm
sandwich of cream cheese, bacon, roast beef, cheddar, smoked turkey, and
Swiss cheese. We enjoyed getting to know the Wolf family and learning that
we have friends in common.
Doc's Rib Eye Steak
Family Food Store
- May 5, 2018: The first top of the morning was the Heart of America
Science Resource Center in Haviland. There are many fossils, minerals and
a lapidary lab in the creation/gospel center. The labels on the displays
tended to have just the fossil's name and location, with no background
information or dates of when the creatures lived.
back of the building houses a Haviland Heritage Museum, a small community
historical museum which did pretty good job of describing its exhibits
and putting them in context. I liked learning about Laura Haviland, who
the community was named after.
photographing some of the points of interest in Haviland, we stopped at
the Haviland City Park and shopped at the Treasures in the Park Craft Show.
arrived in Coldwater about 11:15, just in time for "The Stump" Kansas trivia
contest and the following "Bring Your Own Lawn Chair" meeting outside the
community owned grocery store, Protection Venture. We learned how the community
had come together to keep the small market, Protection Venture, which is
now owned by the community. Following the meeting, we and many others
made a point of shopping at Protection Venture. Over the course of the
weekend, 12 people doing the BKRT purchased shares in the market.
was across the street at Don's Place. Comanche County has just 6 restaurants
and this was the only one which had already been on our list to investigate.
We got the last table in the restaurant and since they are known for their
house made pies, we ordered pie first (they were already out of at least
one kind). We split the peanut butter pie, which was quite good, though
a friend later told us we should have had the cherry.
had the chicken fried steak special, which came with salad, choice of starch,
vegetable and house made spice cake for only $6.45. I sampled the steak,
which was very lightly breaded & quite good, and the spice cake, which
was just OK.
learning that they only have chili in winter, I had the Reuben burger and
fresh cut fries. The fries were the best part of the meal and cost only
leaving town, we toured the Stan Herd Gallery at the Protection Township
Library and Twisted Sisters gift shop. Stan is a local artist known across
Kansas for his large installations, such as the Amelia Earhart Earthworks
in Atchison, Kansas.
next stops were in Coldwater, Kansas, where we shopped at Venture Foods,
photographed some murals and toured the Comanche County Historical Museum.
The museum was the only place we visited during the BKRT where we didn't
feel particularly welcome. The part of the museum which I found the most
interesting was the Comanche Cattle Pool, which was a combination of many
cattle herds for 5 years in the early 1880s, creating a single ranch which
spread across several counties in Kansas and Oklahoma.
northwest from Coldwater, we were soon on dirt roads, driving to Wilmore,
Kansas, where we felt very welcome. In addition to the lovely carousel
that was already in the town, the 53 residents made a new Welcome to Wilmore
sign, had a display of quilts and other local collections, had a nice driving
tour of the community, a lemonade stand, placed barn quilt signs on every
utility pole, and the fire department got visitors into fire gear and operating
the fire hoses.
took barely maintained dirt roads north and east from Wilmore to Belvidere,
a route that had Linda kiddingly asking where I was taking her. In Belvidere
we found a community center in an old schoolhouse, Soldier's Creek Cemetery,
and Halley's Junction, an old store with tools, antiques and collectibles.
Hank Halley was present to talk to visitors as much as sell antiques and
it was a pleasant visit.
Creek Cemetery has many hand made markers including some made from petrified
on primitive roads, we headed southeast, paralleling Soldier's Creek, to
Sun City to have supper at Buster's Saloon. The doors stood open at Buster's
and it appears that there is no air conditioning. The saloon wasn't very
busy and we took seats at the bar with the bar tender told us what food
was available this day. She sounded disappointed that we weren't getting
the big fishbowl glasses of beer that Buster's is known for. The smoked
brisket was very good, though the only side was large wedges of potato.
best part of the meal was when Big Kansas Road Trip volunteers started
arriving for a private meal in the adjacent storefront. It was great seeing
Marci Penner, WenDee Rowe and Erika Nelson.
day concluded at the Fromme-Birney Round Barn south of Mullinville, where
there was a free concert by Jeff Davidson from Eureka, Kansas. Jeff sang
western songs and a bit of a western Kansas history lesson.
Marci Penner on The Stump asking questions
- May 6, 2018:
We drove to Greensburg to sign "guest book" on the cement walk to the WPA
swimming pool bath house, then drove over near the Big
Well for annual meeting of the Kansas Explorers. It was good seeing
old friends before the meeting where the people who worked so hard on this
years Big Kansas Road Trip were acknowledged and thanked.
highlight of the meeting was the announcement of next year's Big Kansas
Road Trip, which will be May 2-5, 2019 in Cheyenne, Sherman and Wallace
meeting concluded with the singing of Home On The Range.
the meeting, we visited the Big Well, where we encountered a couple who
said they had been just a little behind us all weekend. They are also from
Lenexa and kept seeing our names on the guest register at various attractions.
photographed a few other Greensburg attractions and had lunch at the Crazy
Mule Food & Brew, where they were running out of food after a record
weekend. I had the peanut butter burger, which was a little dry and could
have used more peanut butter. Linda had the friday fried chicken special,
which was a little unusual in that it it consisted of a chicken tender
and a drumstick.
east, our first stop of the afternoon was the Pratt County Historical Museum
in Pratt, Kansas. It is one of the largest county historical museums we
have visited and has well done exhibits with much better labeling and explanations
of the artifacts than we usually find. Visitors will find that an hour
isn't really long enough to few the museum and some people will want to
spend 2 or 3 hours.
back across Kansas to Lenexa, our final stops of the day were in Ottawa,
we photographed the outside of the Carnegie Cultural Center and had a good
supper at Luigi's Italian Restaurant. We enjoyed the Shrimp Champagne (shrimp
in white cream champagne sauce, with fresh herbs, spinach and garlic) and
Luigi's Special (breaded chicken and sausage sautéed with roasted
green peppers, spinach, ham and black olives in a white wine cream and
marinara sauce over spaghetti). They accommodated my request to not include
met a couple having dinner at Luigi's who like to drive around Kansas and
visit the small towns, so we told them about KansasTravel.org, the Kansas
Explorer's Club and the Kansas Guidebook 2 for Explorers. I even brought
our copy of the guide in from the car so hey could see what it was like.
Marci Penner conducting the annual Kansas Explorers' Meeting
Crazy Mule Food & Brew
Pratt County Historical Museum
- May 11, 2018:
I revisited the Fred P. Ott's Bar
and Grill in Olathe, Kansas to update its review on our Guide
to Olathe Restaurants. The chili dog was very good, particularly for
a restaurant not known for its chili dogs. It was much better than the
dogs I recently had at Chi Town Original in Overland Park.
prices have crept up a little from our last visit.
Fred P. Ott's
- May 24, 2018:
I went to Downtown Diner in Olathe,
Kansas to try the Jalapeño popper burger which was the daily special.
It was fine, but I like several of the other specialty burgers at Downtown
there, I learned that they have finally published a new menu, which we
have added to their review.
- May 28, 2018:
We had supper at Hibachi Go in Lenexa, Kansas, which bills itself as part
of a new trend in restaurants coming to the Midwest from the East coast.
We didn't see anything new about it. The small restaurant serves sushi
and entrees which have been cooked hibachi style in the kitchen, rather
than at the table.
best part of the meal was salad, which had a sweet dressing which we both
enjoyed. My "summer roll" (Deep fried shrimp, white fish, cream cheese,
jalapeno with chef's special sauce) sounded spectacular but was surprisingly
bland. The Hibachi chicken and shrimp was fine, though nothing special.
thing that seemed unusual, though fine, even though it was table service,
the servers placed a number on a stand on the table after taking the order
and used it to know where to take the food, like what you might be handed
if you ordered food at a counter.
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