In order to get to my next destination, northern Wisconsin, in a timely manner, I’ve decided to suspend my rule of two days in each place I’m staying. This will allow me more time with my parents, who have rented a cabin for us in Hayward WI.
So I got up, ate two complimentary yogurts and headed out for Witchita. GPS took me down Highway 54, which meant two lanes for the first part of the drive. This was stressful because I drove with the cruise control pegged at the speed limit and there was a lot of truck traffic. They had to pass me from time to time and being large semis, it wasn’t a quick process.
There were train tracks parallel to the road I was on. I noticed that about every 5 miles or so, there was a tall granary, a rail spur and a town. Like clockwork for at least 50 miles.
It was interesting and fun to drive through these small communities. Many of the towns, like Liberal, had large signs advertising their many municipal parks. Liberal had at least two skateparks and a water park. In some towns, the sheer number of parks (10? 15?) seemed quite out of proportion to the town’s size.
I saw lots of billboards advertising industrial agriculture, oil and gas and the occasional oil pump. I didn’t pass any steampunk-looking energy extraction facilities, like the ones we saw in Wyoming this spring along Interstate 80.
I pulled into a rustic rest area about noon and took a 1/2 hour nap in the AC. Eventually the road turned into a divided highway. That was a much more relaxing drive. I enjoyed watching the grasslands roll by lazily. There were a few ranching-related points of interest along the road but I didn’t stop for any of them. There was a lot of wind along the road and I saw signs warning of gusts, blowing dust and most interestingly, a sign saying to pull over on the right and wait if there was dense smoke because of controlled range burns.
I finally managed to get to Witchita. I headed downtown to my hotel. Downtown was interesting, at least the few blocks I walked around. It was 100F and super windy so I didn’t get to see much. I saw some wind-proofed street trees, which I took as an indication that downtown was often windy.
I did get some pretty good BBQ at a place down the street and around the corner. The meal came very quickly. I took my smoked turkey sandwich back to my hotel, ate it, and had a nap.
I got up and did some writing. I looked around for some easy-to-walk-to alternative for dinner. I ended up heading back to the same BBQ place. Along the way, I walked by Witchita’s Pride Festival, a pleasant surprise. I keep on going to the restaurant, this time sitting in the restaurant.
After dinner, I went back to the hotel and crashed with a belly full of brisket and green beans and peach cobbler.