Day Seven of our family’s nine-day road trip kicked off with our last remaining hours in the amazing state of Colorado. After extended visits with the Rocky Mountains, Pikes Peak, the Royal Gorge Bridge, and Smashburger, our time to depart was nigh.
In a rare move for us, we chose to exit Colorado not by interstate, but by ordinary state highway. This is a rare move for us. I’m usually a fiend for the interstates with their higher speed limits and lack of intersection interference. This time, we decided to try something different, as both Colorado and Kansas offered tourist attractions along their southern halves, through which almost no interstates traverse. On the bright side, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that their highway speed limits were generous compared to ours back in Indiana. In terms of travel time, I hardly noticed a difference. Better still, Highway 50 through Kansas was all but deserted. The open road was mine.
Before Kansas, though, we had one final haven of roadside attractions to visit in Colorado. The town of Lamar is designed more as a warm Colorado welcome wagon than as a “Good Luck surviving Kansas” outpost, but we enjoyed a few minutes of walkabout anyway.
One of their most famous spots is this building constructed from ancient petrified wood. Originally a gas station, it now serves as a small used-car lot.
Across the street from Fossil Auto or whatever its official name is now, this motel tries really hard to cash in on the roadside-attraction vibes.
Lamar’s official Colorado Welcome Center lives a secret double life as the Historic Lamar Railroad Depot. Train fans will be pleased.
Next to the Depot: artwork entitled A Short Fuse on a Slack Rope. This depiction of a violent altercation delineates why 19th-Century Man would eventually choose railroad travel over rodeo transit.
Windmill blades look daunting when viewed from afar as you travel down assorted countryside interstates. Up close, their deep dark secret is revealed: they’re still larger than I am, but not actually razor-sharp. I was disappointed by this “blade”, if that is indeed its real name.
If you need a few minutes to stretch your legs and enjoy some contained natural scenery, behind the Depot/Welcome Center is this ostensible Enchanted Forest, which didn’t contain a single magical creature or speck of fairy dust. Unless we weren’t looking in the right nooks or crannies. Or unless Mayor Evil Queen beat us to them. That would be so like her.
Longtime readers who remember the golden age of “2012 Road Trip Photos #1” will find this sight familiar: it’s another Madonna of the Trail! Thus did Lamar, CO, and Vandalia, IL, serve as perfect bookends to this year’s travels, just as my wife intended.
This was our final major stop in Colorado (stops for gas don’t count), but it was hardly the final panoply of creativity we would encounter before returning home. Believe it or not, destiny had more encounters in store for us in Kansas.
Yes, Kansas. Yes, really. Yes, that Kansas.
To be continued!
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Department of Tangential Postscripts:
1. I learned today that one of November’s many annual traditions is a month-long event called NaBloPoMo, an ideal thirty-day marathon for those of us who are terrible at scrabbling together enough elements to build an entire NaNoWriMo novel, but who aren’t half bad at cranking out blog entries. I’ve only been on WordPress six months now and had never heard of it before, but its simple goalposts align perfectly with my own daily objectives. Expect more stream-of-consciousness from me on this topic, possibly tomorrow night. In the meantime, far as I’m concerned, the game is AFOOT, folks. Join me if you dare, unless you’re 1/30th of the way into writing your new novel, in which case I wish you well on that instead.
2. For those among you who’ve missed chapters of the whole “2012 Road Trip” saga, I’m planning on posting a separate page outlining the entire epic for future visitors who want to retrace our steps from start to finish, and for MCC completists in general. If the latter actually exist, thank you times a million for existing, even if this sentence only applies to my wife. Coming soon!
[Post-Postscript added 8/4/2015: Link now enclosed here to handy checklist for previous and future chapters, and for our complete road trip history to date. Thanks for reading!]