We reluctantly exited Colorado on Day Seven late in the morning. Highway 50 led us from Lamar, CO, to the regions of Kansas that everyone always warns you about. It’s not completely deserted. The long stretches between signs of life could be discouraging, but civilization exists in pockets if you know where to look, or if you’re patient enough to wait for it to cross your path, such as this armored farming vehicle that resembles the futuristic, titanic Batmobile from Frank Miller’s Batman: the Dark Knight Returns.
In the interest of fairness, the serene scenery that would accompany us for the next few hundred miles was monotonously established long before we reached the Colorado/Kansas border. It’s not as though eastern Colorado was a festive parade of scintillating mountains and rainbows that came to a dead stop at the “Welcome to Kansas” sign. But the sign is a stark reminder that you’re not in the Rockies anymore.
Past the sign, the majority of the roadside in all directions looked like this:
We were slightly encouraged to learn that this stretch of Highway 50 was part of the historic Santa Fe Trail, a popular 19th-century thoroughfare. Because it’s historical, that means you’re not supposed to think ill of it, or wish it were littered with amusement parks.
Honestly, though, it’s hard to accentuate the positive when “historical” won’t stop looking like this.
After several hours without a viable commercial area in sight, we found ourselves beset with starvation and pulled over in a town called Cimarron, where a local establishment called Richie’s Cafe took decent care of us.
Once we were rejuvenated and motivated once again, it was back to the open road for us. It was as if we’d never left.
Occasional windmills dotted the landscape and confirmed that modernity had indeed reached these faraway regions. Just in case we hadn’t been convinced by Mega-TractorTank.
Windmills were far from ubiquitous, though, and offered only temporary visual respite from the status quo.
We also passed a few cattle companies along the way. We snapped one photo without stopping because such businesses didn’t seem like the sort of place where amiable tourists could stop for a while, tour the grounds, and not be overwhelmed by carnivores’ remorse. We also already knew from our experience at the Buckhorn Exchange on Day Four that my son doesn’t care for grim, face-to-face reminders of how many American animals pass away by means other than natural causes.
Fortunately all thoughts of those sights were quickly dispelled by an infinite paradise for the undiscerning herbivore.
Just when we thought we couldn’t stand one more square foot of drought-parched grass, the cavalry finally arrived to save the day.
Once again the day was saved, thanks to tourism!
To be continued!
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Special postscript announcement:
I’d like to direct the attention of any newer, infrequent, or overly dedicated readers to the brand new “2012 Road Trip” timeline linked above in the masthead. For anyone who missed any past photo entries in this series, or who would like to read the original journals I wrote while we traveled, I’ve gathered and organized all the relevant links for chronological reference and value-added reading fun. Thanks for stopping by!