American Skid Marks
Setting out on a great American motorcycle roadtrip.

Out Of The West and Into the Great Plains

You know what Colorado looks like east of Denver?

Kansas.

You don’t have to get very far outside the city headed east before you’re in the great plains. Endless fields of one kind of crop or another stretch out to both sides with only the occasional gas station to break up the horizontalness of it all. Have I mentioned that I hate the interstate? Yeah, I thought so. The stretch between Denver and Colby, Kansas sucked. Frankly, I expected all of Kansas to suck; and if I had stayed on I-70 the whole way, Kansas would have lived up to my expectations. See, as I was planning the trip everyone I talked to who has been to Kansas warned me how awful it was going to be. “Just get through Kansas as fast as you can, it sucks” was the typical nugget of advice I received.

Look, if you see the country on nothing but the interstates, you’ll think the whole US sucks. Stick to the superslab if you want to feel nothing of the soul of this country; if you want to miss everything that is worth experiencing, ride the freeways. Do yourself a favor, take the extra couple days it will take, and get the fuck off the blue shields. At Colby, near the westernmost edge of Kansas, I diverted onto highway 24.

Welcome to Kansas sign.

Welcome to Kansas!


Now, I’m not going to tell you that Kansas is awesome or striking, but the rolling hills east of Colby carry their own charm and subtle beauty. The long fields of young green corn and wheat were broken up by a surprisingly large number of tall green trees. The air smelled of mowed grass and sweet young crops. Occasionally the smell of fresh manure wafted past. Strangely, I came to look forward to the manure moments, I don’t know, somehow it smells clean and slightly sweet in this setting.
Kansas Field

The Kansas I Expected


The further east I got, the more the hills rolled and the denser the stands of trees along the road became. As I rode the air got hotter and muggier, you could literaly feel the difference every few minutes. Bring it on, I am sooo ready for ‘Too Hot’ to be my problem. You know, being too damn hot is a problem I’ve been dealing with my whole life …
Kansas Road

The Kansas I Did Not Expect


The photo above does not really do this stretch of road justice. I guess I was too busy riding to really snap more photos.

Another thing that I think contributes to Kansas’ bum rap is that people follow the advice I got; they try to do Kansas in one day. From Denver I only went as far as the middle of Kansas to a small lake at Webster State Park. Again, this was no Flathead Lake, but lovely in its own way. I watched the sun set over the water and sat out in the fading light and rising wind working on this blog. The wind whipped up stronger and fiercer over the next hour, bending the outside of the walls of the tent. Before bed, I had to guyline down the tent to keep it from folding over on my while I sleep. There is a light rain falling and a fierce wind blowing now.

Kansas Sunset

Sunset at Webster State Park


Tomorrow I ride the rest of the way to Kansas City.

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