Sunday, September 11, 2011

Day One of our Great American Adventure 2011

Smoky Hills (North Central Kansas)

I am sure you have heard of the wild, Wild West.  Well, we did go west on our vacation this year to Wyoming and to several of our favorite places.  We also slipped down into Estes Park, Colorado for a couple of days.  The weather was beautiful; the scenery was breathtaking; and the company was fine.  Of course, my dear husband was my traveling companion over the course of our 11-day motorcycle trip, just as he has been my traveling companion over the last 27 years.

Officially, this was the 12th annual “Great American Adventure” – touring the wild, Wild West of Wyoming!  The trip, which began on August 27th, 2011, was the 11th adventure that my dear husband and I took with the Topeka Oz Harley Owners’ Group and sponsored by Topeka Harley Davidson.  We had 28 participants and 18 motorcycles that ventured in little groups all across the great states of Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana, and Colorado.  We lodged at the same motels, dined at many of the same eating establishments, but sought different routes and toured different parks and museums throughout the eleven day trek.

We left home and beautiful Lake Wabaunsee at 7:30 on Friday morning, stopping briefly in Alma, Kansas at the bank and at the post office.  I had a letter to mail to a friend in Missouri and banking things to do.  We then met three other couples at the McDonalds Restaurant in Wamego.  They traveled with us for the duration of the trip, with an addition of another couple later in the journey.

Most of our traveling was on State Highways or secondary county roads.  Friday was cool and there was not a cloud in the sky.  The only thing visible in the big blue dome was con-trails from jetliners winging toward Denver, Colorado.  We rode on Highway 24 through the congested city of Manhattan and eventually passed through Cawker City.  You know, Cawker City is the little town with the World’s biggest ball of Sisal Twine.  The ball of twine is located in "Downtown" Cawker City right along Wisconsin Street (Highway 24) on the south side of the highway. According to, Frank Stoeber started the ball of twine on his farm in 1953.  By 1957 it weighed 5,000 pounds, stood 8 feet high, and had 1,175,180 feet of twine on it. Stoeber gave the ball to Cawker City in 1961.  Each year a “twine-a-thon” is held in conjunction with the annual Cawker City picnic, cook-off, and parade, so the ball never stops growing.

West of Cawker City, we caught Highway 281to Highway 9 and went west.  We turned north on 183 to Phillipsburg where we stopped for lunch.  Little Chicken Inn sits among shade trees on the west side of the highway and is cool and inviting.  We joined the locals, the truckers, and some of Ft. Riley’s finest to eat hamburgers and ice cream.  At Phillipsburg, we caught Highway 36 to Oberlin, then north on Highway 83 to McCook, Nebraska where we stayed at the Chief Motel.

I know our great adventure didn’t start out very “wild”, but we did have a wild time up in the mountains.  I do apologize for the absence of this column for the last two weeks, but I was having too much fun!  Besides, I was on the road a lot – on the back seat!  Until next time, take care and God bless you and your family.  Vicky

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