Monday, 7 October 2013

Campfire Kansas

For once, I was up before Ben in the morning and made my way outside to have a Skype with my mum and sister. Thankfully, I was feeling relatively fresh after the 7 odd pints. This was probably mostly due to the bacon, eggs and French toast that I had at a diner in Denver at 2am in the morning with my new found hostel chums! Ben and I handed in our keys but stayed up in the hostel room for another hour or so whilst Ben wrote up the last couple of days and I used to wifi to do some research. Then it was time to hit the road, Ben was still majorly hanging so true to my word the night before I got behind the wheel and headed towards I-70, eastbound and down.

The next 200 miles or so were very uneventful  - the state of Kansas has some of the straightest roads known to man and it’s very flat. I was just enjoying bumbling along in the old bus trying to make up some MPGs by convoying with the truckers whilst Ben took time to reflect on the downsides of drinking. Thankfully the terrain levelling out had made me feel much better and I could concentrate on the road without spacing out and was actually relishing the opportunity to crunch some miles up. The weather had suddenly changed from clear skies and warm temperatures into very stormy looking clouds threatening our first proper downpour. Somehow, all this made it feel a bit more like home for once. The winds had really picked up too and had started to push the slab sided hunk of American iron around as we drove across the open plains. We stopped briefly for lunch at one point and then finally ended up in a rest area by the side of the I-70 where we’d decided to spend the night. The tables and benches provided an ideal place to cook up some grub and we headed to bed. We soon realised despite how cold we felt in the wind, it wasn't actually as cold as we thought overnight and both of us enjoyed a good night’s sleep and a cheeky lie-in.

Ben, feeling refreshed once more was keen for driving off the interstate to explore some back country Kansas, taking highway 83 south and then the 96 east we made our way through more open plains. This time however we actually got to see some of the huge farms themselves. Although much of the main harvest was complete, we passed the odd combine loading up the big American rigs along side of the gravel roads that spurted off into the distance.  The remaining baron fields added to the sheer emptiness which was a real contrast for us compared to the huge mountains of Arizona and Utah. One huge dairy unit did catch Ben’s eye but unfortunately we were stuck in a large convoy with nowhere but a huge ditch to go into so we were unable to stop and have a good look. You can take him out of the farm but not the farmer out of him.
We passed through a few small towns without too much event, looking for a general store to stock up on food for the next few days. Without much luck, we carried on through up to the amusingly named ‘Great Bend’. Haha. We nipped into another gigantic Walmart and bought ourselves some supplies as well as a pump to finally inflate the airbed we’ve been carrying around for nearly two weeks. Remember how we mentioned before that Walmart sells everything? This one had an excellent stock of guns, ammo and machetes so you can pick up everything you need along with the bread and milk. It appears America likes to watch what it eats. Right up until they pull the trigger. (One hilarious quote we’ve gained from listening to many, many country music stations on the radio).

This is how Kanas looks from above, if you don't believe me - go on Google Maps! Empty plains of circle fields for irrigation.
All stocked up, we headed over to a little place called Kannapolis lake as the map told us there would be camping there. We rocked up and cooked ourselves some burgers, complete with plastic cheese and bourbon BBQ sauce then got everything cleaned up and ready for the night. With that we headed down to the lake side for a beer whilst the sun was setting to put to bed another excellent day on the road.

Chris =)