Upon leaving Topeka in the morning of Day Two, our first stops were an hour down the road in Abilene.
Their Visitors Center was quaint, but not open early enough for us on a Sunday morning.
We didn’t really need the additional pamphlets anyway. A few blocks south were the grounds of the Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum, and Boyhood Home.
The Boyhood Home is pictured above at left — his actual boyhood home in its original location. Tours are conducted for a price. We scrimped and opted only for portions of the grounds that we could see for free. The decision was more about saving time than money. Denver was over seven hours west of Abilene and we had other towns in mind for later stops along the way.
Using a magnifying glass, you can see the obligatory statue of President Dwight David Eisenhower at far right. Or you can look below and avoid eyestrain. Eisenhower sports the general’s uniform from the other famous phase in his life.
To one side of the statue is the Eisenhower Library. Interior viewing for a price.
In front of the statue is a rose bush, a special breed called the 9/11 Flight 93 Rose. I’m unable to posit a direct correlation between these and Eisenhower’s presidency, but they’re pretty. Pretty is good.
The main attraction from our perspective was the chapel in which rests President Eisenhower, his wife Mamie, and their son Doud, who passed away at age 3 from scarlet fever.
Beyond the obvious moment of American tourism, I appreciated the chance to spend at least a few minutes of our Sunday inside a genuine chapel for reflection and prayer. The chapel was functional and the ambience was perfectly suited. We’ve not made a practice of seeking out churches to visit when we’re far from home on a Sunday, so this was a rare opportunity for us to not miss out on vacation for a change.
Once we were done paying our respects and having a quiet moment alone with God, we moved a few miles further west on I-70 to one more Abilene landmark: their Russell Stover Factory, which has a storefront chock full of candy for sale, some of it on clearance from the past several holidays, at least as far back as the previous Halloween.
I like to call this sculpture, “It’s Yummy and It BURNS”.
Helpful tip, if a road trip of your own ever takes you in the vicinity: buy only what you can eat within the hour. We would later regret that, even with the A/C in full effect and what we had thought were careful preservation efforts, five days of travel turned my son’s souvenir Valentine’s Day leftovers from merely stale to measly sludge. Three dollars ill spent, then.
To be continued!
[Link enclosed here to handy checklist for previous and future chapters, and for our complete road trip history to date. Thanks for reading!]