Saturday, April 10, 2021
So we wake up after sleeping restlessly in steady rain all night in Kansas City, MO. We have managed to figure out the heating system so we’re not freezing and can turn on the heat! Showers and hot coffee and hot breakfast heated up on the stove ensue. The Microwave seems to be dead and off our list of usable appliances for the duration of the trip. Bummer but we will survive because we have a gas stove.
So here we are, ready to leave on our day’s journey and I get in the drivers seat and start the engine. I look around at the gauges and controls and see the 4 way flashers are on (emergency flashers). This is strange because we never turned them on intentionally. Okay, so turn them off. Wait, where is the switch? Can’t find it. Search and search to no avail, it’s not here. The back up dash cam is also on. Even driving forward. This is all strange. We search and search and can’t figure it out. So we call our contact at the dealer where we picked the RV up. He has today off but he is such a nice guy that he takes on our dilemma. He searches records and I send him photos of all parts of the dashboard and we can’t figure this out. So he promises to keep trying. We drive away with our Flashers on and find a Dealership for RV’s and they seem baffled also. Until the technician inadvertently moves a plug on the dashboard and voila! There is the switch! Problem solved! Even the back up camera is corrected!
So we drive on and I even get some photos of Water Towers which I have quite a collection of!
Now we have lost almost 3 hours that we thought we’d be driving but we try to keep to our plan. We have spotted a place called “Truckhenge” that has peaked our interest and it is just over an hour from us in Topeka. We arrive there and we have to drive by car and truck junkyards and construction sites. Wow, this is becoming comical! But we come across this derelict property but recognize this must be the place as we see trucks sticking out of the ground!
So we manage to turn the RV around at the end of a narrow dirt path and park outside of Truckhenge as the driveway appears to be too narrow to navigate our Beast into. We walk into the property and don’t see anyone. So we browse around and don’t make any effort to hide our presence. Sure enough, after 5 minutes, and older man with a full scraggly beard comes out and makes his presence known as the owner. He is pleasant and jovial and begins regaling us with stories of his past and how he came about creating his art, which includes chain saw carvings, junk turned into art, exhibits named “Boathenge, Truckhenge, Carhenge”, etc. I dub some of his displays, “Bottlehenge”, “Bicycle Tree”, among others including a “Shoe Fence”. This man talks 3-5 times faster than normal. The words fly out of his mouth! I can only understand a little of what he says but Elee understands most of it, LOL. She says it’s because she is from New York! He invites us to return with our own spray paint cans and to decorate his displays any way we like! Reminds us totally of “Cadillac Ranch” in Texas that we visited a few years back. We even spot 3 beautiful Peacocks wandering the property and one of them even preens its feathers for me!
I think the important part of his friendliness here is when I ask him his admission price and he says he only asks for a donation. I give him a $20 bill and he seems quite pleased.
Then, when we are finished visiting his outdoor displays, he invites us inside to see his “Gallery”. This consists of bedsheets painted with amazingly good portraits and other eclectic images! He even shows us his working elevator made out of a forklift rig. I look around and also see an elaborate array of wire cabling that looks like computer connections and CCV camera wiring! This guy is as eclectic as they come (some might call him “Crazy as a Loon”!), but it is clear that he has made his own way of living! A lot of the property looked like a junkyard, but there was evidence of talent everywhere!
We take a few more photos of his “Bottle Walls” and bid him adieu. He lastly shows us a beat up rail car that is literally full of bones. Bones from ancient animals and not so ancient animals. We drive away and gas up the RV to the tune of $125 for 46 gallons of gas. We were at 1/4 tank so I guess it is a 60 gallon tank (225 Liters for my friends across the pond!) Bank account appropriately drained, we drive on west through Kansas.
As we drive, we keep seeing billboards for “OZ Winery” in “Wamego”, Kansas. Since the Wizard of Oz had a basis in Kansas, we are intrigued and turn off the highway to find this magical place! It turns out to be a 20 minute drive off the highway which we almost turn back around because it seems to be taking too much time out of our abbreviated allotment for the day. But we keep on and find the little magical town of Wamego and quickly spot the Oz Winery.
We go in and the place is very charming. All of their wine labels make reference to the Wizard of Oz in some way! We order a Wine Flight of 3 whites and one red. The Red is named humorously as “O.E.O.” (Sing those letters with the movie! Oh-EE-Oh, Oh-E-Oh) It stands for “Oenological Experts of Oz (OEO). Had to laugh! Back out on the streets, we see the town has a collection of “Toto’s”, the little dog of Dorothy’s in the movie!
We then head back on the road and go west again. An hour later we come across Abilene, Kansas. Making fun of the name, we sing, “mAbilene, why can’t you be true?” But to be honest, we are intrigued at what Abilene has to offer so we pull off the highway and check it out. We discover this is the place where Dwight D Eisenhower grew up. His Presidential Library and Boyhood Home is here. Too bad it is closed today. But we drive around it and take some photos.
We drive on towards Wakeeney, Kansas, out destination for the night. We arrive at sunset and check into our spot in a KOA Campground. Then we head out to find dinner at a restaurant Elee found earlier, named, “Western Kansas Saloon & Grill”. What an appropriate name for a steak house in Western Kansas! Turns out we are waited on by the owner herself! What a sweet lady, Jacinda! (I apologize for the horrible lighting on your face Jacinda!) She is old enough to easily be our daughter! We converse and kibitz with her and she serves us a marvelous dinner of Kansas Strip Steak and Prime Rib! Life is good! They tell a story of olden days where gambling was done in the basement! There was a small hole in the floor where someone would drop a walnut into the basement whenever the Law walked in as a reminder to pack up the gambling! If you ever make it to Wakeeney, Kansas, this should be the top of your list for dinner!
We get The Beast back to our Campground and set up the RV, getting the water and electrics connected. We kick back and I have time to get my thoughts typed into this blog. So goodnight for now and we’ll see you all in the morning!