Saturday, August 17, 2013

Visiting the Flint Hills of Kansas

Some of the original plans for our road trip fell by the wayside.  We intended to see every interesting site in the Flint Hills on Friday, spend the night at some motel on the eastern edge of Wichita, and go south Saturday morning to a tractor show in Winfield, Kansas.  After hearing about some flooding in the Winfield area, I called the man in charge of the tractor show and asked if it was still going to happen.  Indeed it was, he told me.  
"About how many tractors are usually in attendance?"  
"Usually about three hundred, but the numbers will probably be down this year.  It's wet, but we'll have it, so come on down."   
We debated whether to travel another two hours to a tractor show that might be low in attendance and where the grounds would likely be extremely muddy from tractors driving through; we decided to forget about Winfield.  Instead, we would backtrack and go north to Manhattan, Kansas, which would put us closer to home.  I told Cliff about the Flint Hills Discovery Center in Manhattan.  We'd get up next morning and go check that out, since it would shed light on things we had seen in the area already.  
It didn't hit me until later at the motel that I am always awake by five o'clock in the morning, and no respectable museum opens before ten.  Spend five hours in a motel when we could be heading home?  I don't think so.  As you can see, our usual lack of proper planning for a road trip came into play.
When we entered Manhattan Friday evening, I saw two motels ahead of us:  Hilton Garden Inn, and another that looked equally expensive.  Cliff has had a bum leg lately and he'd had about all the driving he could stand.  He was ready to stop.  
"Cliff, either of these is going to be expensive.  Let's just go a little way farther and see what we can find."  
We went a few blocks without seeing anything else.  So, taking pity on my poor husband, I said, "Never mind, we'll go back and stay in one of those we passed."  
As he was turning around, I looked behind us beyond the traffic and through some trees and happened to spot a Super 8.  
"Stop," I said.  Back there, see between those treetops?  It's a Super 8!!!!"  
Whew, that was a close call.  I'm such a cheapskate.  
Although the motel had seen better days, it was clean enough, the staff was super, and they served a decent breakfast.  All for $67.50 plus tax.  Seriously, all we needed was a bed to sleep in, a bathroom with a shower, a TV to pass time for an hour or so, and free Internet.  Why pay twice the price?  OK, the Internet was lousy, very slow.  But I have 4G on the Ipad, so that was no biggie.  

I'm telling the story of our road trip backward, just for the heck of it.  Forgive my poor quality pictures.  The camera was in the process of shooting craps and died soon after I returned home.  I have ordered another, a Canon Powershot SD like I used to use.   

Looking north from the steps of the Chase County Courthouse
 The last thing we did in Cottonwood Falls was walk north on the main street to see a bridge that was built long ago for the use of a trolley that took residents back and forth across the river between Cottonwood Falls and Strong City from 1886 to 1919.  After automobiles came into fashion, the bridge wasn't considered strong enough to handle the traffic.  Now it's only for walking or bicycle traffic.

Cliff was fascinated with the way the undertow kept throwing trees and tree limbs back against the waterfall after they washed down.  He spent at least twenty minutes watching.  

I kept wanting to ask those guys if they were catching anything.  

Next entry will be about the Chase County Courthouse.


Margaret said...

I hate slow internet and that motel sounds expensive. Is that how much it costs now? (even for a cheaper place?) Yikes.


We've spent years living out of suitcases in motels/hotels. You got a good rate inspite of the internet connection.